Sri Lankan government blocks international aid to detention camps
Sri Lankan government blocks international aid to detention campsBy Sarath Kumara
22 May 2009
Despite pleas from the UN and the International Red Cross, the Colombo government has refused to provide unrestricted access to its detention camps where at least 280,000 Tamil civilians are now being held in appalling conditions. According to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, about 80,000 people have arrived in the camps in the past few days.
Last weekend, President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government blocked aid trucks from the largest camp, Menik Farm, near the town of Vavuniya, which has more than 130,000 refugees, forcing the Red Cross to halt its activities. The government has also barred aid agencies and journalists from visiting the former war zone in the north-eastern Mullativu district, where about 1,000 patients had been trapped in makeshift hospitals.
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