Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

The Ongoing Humanitarian Crisis in Sri Lanka

Internally displaced people (IDP)

 

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Hearing

The Ongoing Humanitarian Crisis in Sri Lanka:

Internally Displaced People (IDP)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

10 – 11:30 a . m .

2200 Rayburn HOB

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the humanitarian crisis affecting the nearly 280,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) who were ousted as a result of the armed conflict in the north of Sri Lanka earlier this year.  The hearing is open to the interested public and the media.

The military conflict between the Sri Lankan government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) , which ended in May 2009, has triggered the displacement of an additional 280,000 civilians. In the aftermath of the active fighting, the Sri Lankan authorities channeled the flow of internally displaced people into a government-run camp system which includes the screening for Tamil Tiger fighters and sympathizers.

In order to deal with the IDP flows, camps were opened in the Vavuniya, Mannar, Jaffna and Trincomalee regions. International actors, such as UNHRC, WFP and the ICRC, have provided vital assistance. However, despite these efforts, credible reports indicate that the living conditions in the camps are extremely precarious and medical services remain poor.

On November 21, the Sri Lankan government announced that IDP populations could finally return to their places of origin on December 1, after most refugees had already spent six months in the camps. The return of IDPs remains slow as it depends on the efforts to clear mines and unexploded ordnance in the IDPs’ areas of origin. According to some human rights groups, not all IDP populations will benefit from the announced return policy, but would be sent to “rehabilitation camps.”

To discuss these important issues, we will welcome as witnesses:***

I. Panel:

Eric Schwartz, assistant secretary for Population, Migration and Refugees,

U.S. Department of State

II. Panel:

Michel Gabaudan, regional representative for the United States of America and the Caribbean, UNHCR

III. Panel:

Miriam Young, US Counsel on Sri Lanka.
Christoph Koettl, Amnesty International (Testimony here)

Robert Oberst, Nebraska Wesleyan University
Jennifer Leonard, International Crisis Group

*** Witness list subject to change.

We look forward to seeing you at this important hear ing. If you have any questions, please call  Hans Hogrefe (Rep. McGovern)  or Elizabeth Hoffman (Rep. Wolf) at 202-225-3599.

Sincerely,

James P. McGover, M.C.                                  Frank R. Wolf, M.C.

Co-Chair, TLHRC                                         Co-Chair, TLHRC