Thursday, September 24, 2009

"30 to 40 persons are abducted on a daily basis from IDP camps" : Ex - Foreign Minister

By Gihan de Chickera and Kelum Bandara - About 30 to 40 persons are abducted on a daily basis from IDP camps in the North, SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera charged in Parliament yesterday.

“Certain reports indicate that 30 to 40 persons are abducted or disappear on a daily basis from IDP camps,” Mr. Samaraweera charged.

However, Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardane denied this allegation and asked where such statistics of abducted persons were found.

In response Mr. Samaraweera said that if such reports are to be denied the government must be transparent to the manner it deals with the IDP issue.

“If the government allows Opposition MPs to form a committee and visit the camps then such claims can be verified. The government should act in a transparent manner,” Mr. Samaraweera said.

Mr. Samaraweera said that in Orwellian terms the so called ‘welfare’ camps were virtual prisons for the IDPs.

“In George Orwells 1984, the Ministry of Peace dealt with war, and the Ministry of Love with torture. Likewise we witnessed in Sri Lanka how the Peace Secretariat justified excesses carried out in the name of war against terrorism. And the so-called welfare camps are virtual prisons,” Mr. Samaraweera said.

He added that most of the 280,000 IDPs had kith and kin around the country who are willing to have them until the de-mining process to the Vanni was complete.

“They are not economic refugees. They have opened 21,000 bank accounts and deposited Rs. 500 million in banks after coming out of LTTE areas. They are government servants, teachers and farmers. All they want is to go home,” Mr. Samaraweera said.

The MP also charged that the IDPs were being resettled from one camp into another. “The government is denying these people the right to speech, choice, movement and livelihood,” Mr. Samaraweera said.

© Daily Mirror

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