UN expert urges Govt. to do more for IDPs

New York - An independent United Nations human rights expert has called on Sri Lanka to significantly improve access for more humanitarian relief and personnel to reach hundreds of thousands of people displaced in the Wanni region by the ongoing conflict between the Government and the LTTE.

In a letter to the Government, Walter Kälin, the Secretary-General’s Representative for the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), said “current supplies of food, medicine, emergency shelter and sanitation materials are inadequate to meet the severe and increasing needs of the displaced,” according to a news release issued today in Geneva.

Therefore, he called on the Government to “significantly” improve access for more humanitarian relief and humanitarian personnel to reach all civilians in need.

Mr. Kälin also highlighted the need for screening of armed elements from the civilian population among those who have crossed from the Wanni into cleared areas and are now being held in camps at Kalimoddai and Sirukandal, noting that “IDPs, who are civilians and who retain their right to freedom of movement, must not be detained in camps.”

In addition, he voiced concern by reports that the LTTE is restricting IDPs’ freedom of movement and ability to seek safety in another part of the country.

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