Phone lines, Schools and Banks in camps for the displaced in Sri Lanka

Barbed wire fencing is the cheapest and most commonly used fencing in Sri Lanka. (Photo:AFP)

People displaced by conflict is not something that only exists in Sri Lanka. In Pakistan over 2 million innocent civilians have been displaced due to fighting in the Swat valley between the Pakistani government forces and the Taliban.

2.5 Million in fact are now displaced in Pakistan, which is close to ten times the number of displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka.


As ACT members deliver assistance and continue to assess the needs of the 2.5 million displaced persons, staff are observing a significant lack of access to cooked food, hygiene facilities and health services for displaced women.
Many of these displaced are now homeless sleeping on the streets of Pakistan without food or shelter.

Due to the lack of proper screening of the displaced many of the senior Taliban leaders have managed to flee. Rendering this entire offensive against the Taliban, including the displacement of millions, useless.

Washington Times

Despite claims by the military it had secured 90 percent of the territory in Swat that was previously under Taliban control, officials were forced to concede that every senior Taliban commander had escaped
The lack of screening for combatants fleeing amongst civilians has meant Taliban leaders have fled, re-grouped and are now carrying out attacks in other parts of Pakistan.

In recent days several suicide bomb attacks on hotels have left countless dead.

The situation in Sri Lanka is vastly different compared to Pakistan. Much has been said about the camps for the displaced. Some even go into great lengths to belittle the Jews who suffered at the hands of Nazis, by calling Sri Lanka's camps for the displaced 'Concentration Camps'.

The BBC in an article titled 'UN concern over Sri Lanka camps' published the views of UN official Mark Cutts who has expressed his dismay at phone lines and banks being constructed in the camps in Sri Lanka.

Cutts, acknowledged that the efforts were 'phenomenal' but the BBC chose to highlight his apprehensions.

Mark Cutts fears that these structures are permanent and it would mean that people would be held in camps much longer.

The Sri Lankan government has always insisted that until the former conflict zone is cleared of mines and improvised explosive devices, it is not safe for the displaced to return.


"Senior military officials have also told us that they don't expect to see any significant returns in the next six months, On the contrary, some senior officials told us just yesterday that they expect probably not more than 20% of these people will have returned in the next year," Mr Cutts said.

But Sri Lanka's human rights minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said it was "absolutely false" to suggest that it would take so long. He said it was not the military but the government who took such decisions and that it aimed to resettle most people by the end of this year.
As we speak demining operations are underway thanks to Japanese aid.

Japan's special envoy to Sri Lanka, Yasushi Akashi, also said there had been "tangible progress" in the care given to nearly 280,000 refugees displaced by the war, but said demining the former Tiger areas is the biggest challenge remaining.

Only international assistance, support and cooperation with the Sri Lankan government can speed up the resettlement of the displaced. Not apprehension, accusations or allegations.

All actions by the Sri Lankans of late, including denying entry to Canadian MP Bob Rae, is a sign that the administration in Sri Lanka is sick and tired of critics. The time now is not for criticism but assistance in aiding those who need help the most.

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