Sri Lanka's displaced held hostage

The Sunday Leader publication in Sri Lanka is not state run. It's editor the late Lasantha Wickrematunge was gunned downed ruthlessly on his way to work. Those who knew him accused the government of his death.

Lasantha and the Sunday Leader has been highly critical of the government's military campaign against the Tamil Tigers.

I would usually turn a blind eye to a story such as this. Why would anyone let alone an international aid group intentionally make the lives of the displaced refugees miserable?

I chose to highlight it because the Sunday Leader is known not to favour the government, or write in favour of them. Which gives this report some credibility.

Sunday Leader
Senior members of major local NGOs have accused major INGOs operating in the north of the country, of deliberately denying facilities to IDPs in the Wanni refugee camps, in order to humiliate and discredit the government.

By limiting their cooperation with the government it is alleged that prominent INGOs are working to ensure that conditions in the camps remain as unsanitary as possible – allowing the international community to heap condemnation on the government for its failure to care for IDPs.

A range of INGOs and even the UNHCR stands accused of effectively holding IDPs hostage in order to carry out a political agenda dictated by major Western powers. It is claimed that major INGOs are refusing to work in, and provide aid to, government run camps in Zones 0 and 1 of the Wanni resettlement site.

Aid groups which are funded by donations from people like you and me, should not be making political statements or teaching people lessons. Their sole purpose in Sri Lanka is to look after the immediate daily necessities of over 250,000 displaced Tamils.

The UN and other aid groups have refused to serve some 60,000 IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) because they do not see eye to eye with the extended detention of residents from Zone 0 and Zone 1.

Regardless of whether the extended detention of these people is right or wrong, the NGO's unwillingness to provide for and feed 60,000 people puts them completely in the wrong.

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