UNHCR welcomes freedom of movement for IDPs in SL

Colombo: The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has said it welcomed Sri Lankan government's decision this week to allow "increased" freedom of movement for some 135,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) remaining in 20 camps in the north of the country.

They welfare villages have been now declared as open camps from December 1.

UNHCR field staff reported that more than 7,000 IDPs from Menik Farm camps in Vavuniya and another 25 people from the camp in Trincomalee left their sites on the first day the new policy came into force, the UNHCR said in a statement yesterday.

"Our teams are in the process of assessing the number of IDPs exercising their new freedom of movement over the past few days and report that people continue to leave the camps," said a UNHCR spokesperson.

The registered IDPs who wish to leave the camps are provided with a pass issued by the local authorities.

These documents include details such as the district of origin, date of departure and date of return to the camp, temporary address for those who will remain away overnight and details of family members, it said.

Bureau Report