Sri Lanka to resettle displaced people by 2014

Colombo, Dec 18: Sri Lanka Tuesday announced that it hopes to complete the resettlement of its internally displaced people (IDP) by next year.

Minor issues still remain to be addressed on the resettlement of war displaced people, Xinhua quoted Sri Lanka’s Deputy Resettlement Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, a former senior rebel member, as saying.

The deputy minister said the government needs time to complete the resettlement process and it hopes to do that by the end of next year.

Muralitharan added that after 30 years of war it is impossible for one to expect the entire resettlement process to be completed in four years.

However, overall he said the government has achieved a considerable task and this had been recognised by a UN envoy who visited Sri Lanka recently.

According to Chaloka Beyani, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, a significant number of IDPs in Sri Lanka still live in protracted displacement.

He said that tens of thousands others who have returned or have been settled elsewhere in the north live in very precarious conditions and need more durable housing, access to social services, and the creation of livelihood opportunities.

The UN envoy said that key issues to address include protection of the autonomy of women and girls and their reproductive rights, of children, feasible access to land, and a proportionate balance between national security and freedom of movement and choice of place for IDPs seeking to return to their original places of residence.

IANS