Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has
issued a new deadline to resettle tens of thousands of
internally displaced people (IDPs) who are still living in
More than 60,000 internally displaced people (IDPs)
continue to live in three government camps, the UN Refugee
Agency (UNHCR) has said.
The new Minister of Resettlement, Milroy Fernando,
told IRIN an August deadline was "realistic" and that the
process would be expedited to ensure people could return home
as soon as possible.
"There was a previous deadline of April but that was
not feasible," Fernando said, describing the process as a "top
priority" for the nation.
"A lot of work has been concluded post-elections,
including reconstruction of homes and the introduction of
several livelihood assistance programmes. The new deadline is
therefore realistic," he said.
Among his ministry`s top priorities was to go beyond
resettlement and initiate livelihood support mechanisms for
the displaced, he said.
"To facilitate resettlement, the de-mining process too
is being expedited. People are so keen to return home. But as
a responsible government, we simply cannot allow people to
return to their original villages before the completion of the
"People are very eager to go back to their own
villages but we prevent those wanting to return to areas that
are still uncleared," he said.
"We are currently making some plans to resettle and
offer livelihood support in their original villages. To boost
their livelihoods, the ministry now offers fishing gear and
agricultural equipment for identified persons," he said.