Allow humanitarian access to IDP camps in Lanka: US lawmakers

US lawmakers have urged the Rajapaksa government to allow robust humanitarian access to the displaced persons camp in Sri Lanka.

Updated: Nov 04, 2009, 23:19 PM IST

Washington: US lawmakers have urged the
Rajapaksa government to allow robust humanitarian access to
the displaced persons camp in Sri Lanka.

Introducing a resolution to this effect in the House of
Representative, Congressman Howard Berman, said in a speech on
the floor of the House yesterday that the Sri Lankan
Government must provide the international community with a
transparent and implementable road map for the release of the
remaining IDPs.
This resolution calls upon the Sri Lanka to expeditiously
release its internally displaced Tamil population from
military-guarded camps and begin the process of political

"While the US and the international community welcome the
end to this bloody war and congratulate the Government of Sri
Lanka on its military victory, it is now time for the
government to accelerate the process of releasing the hundreds
of thousands of ethnic Tamils from the squalor camps where
they have been confined," Berman said.

For the safety of its own citizens who seek a return to
normalcy, Sri Lanka should turn the camps over to proper
civilian authorities and allow frequent, unconditional, and
uninhibited access to the United Nations, the International
Committee on the Red Cross, and other aid groups.

Berman is Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign
Congressman Ed Royce, said the Sri Lankan government
should be working to release internally displaced persons in
an expeditious manner and dismantle LTTE infrastructure.

"The Tamil Tiger infrastructure must be rooted out even
as we support the effort to release the civilian displaced
persons in this expeditious manner," Royce said.

Congressman Ted Peo said the US is ready to help the
government in its efforts.

"We urge the government to allow robust humanitarian
access to the displaced person camps and to work hand-in-hand
with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the
International Committee of the Red Cross, and the
nongovernment organisations to ensure that civilian IDPs are
accorded the rights and care meeting the highest international
standards," Poe said.

The Congressman noted that during the civil war, the US
was a steadfast supporter of Sri Lanka`s efforts to stop the
flow of arms and financing to the LTTE by providing law
enforcement assistance and providing training and equipment to
help the Sri Lankan military defend itself against the
terrorist actions of the LTTE.

The US remains deeply concerned for the welfare of the
hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons uprooted
by the current fighting, the Congressman said.

Noting that LTTE`s defeat offers a chance for Sri Lanka
to forge a new beginning and to ensure a lasting end of
terrorism, Poe said to seize this opportunity, bold actions
are needed to share power and assure all of Sri Lanka`s
communities a future of hope, respect, and dignity.

Bureau Report