Walter Kälin reports to the UN General Assembly on the situation in Sri Lanka


Walter Kälin speaks to journalists about his latest report to the General Assembly. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz.

Walter Kälin, Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), spoke of his engagement in Sri Lanka to the UN General Assembly on the 27th of October. His full report can be found here. The section relating to Sri Lanka below,

"I was twice in Sri Lanka over the past six months; in April, shortly before the end of hostilities, and again in September at a time the security situation had vastly improved, although over 250,000 internally displaced were still held in closed camps. Restoration of their freedom of movement has become a matter of urgency, and immediate and substantial progress in this regard is an imperative for Sri Lanka to comply with its commitments under international law. I discussed a three-pronged strategy for decongesting the camps with the government, which is based on returns of IDPs to their homes, release of IDPs to host families and transfer of IDPs to small open welfare centers in the region of return as a transitional solution until return is possible. I urged the Government to pursue these options in parallel with highest priority, to speed up the screening procedures, and to immediately release those not deemed to pose a security threat. Since my visit, this process has started. I acknowledge the progress made so far in demining and reconstructing returnee areas and releasing and returning a good number of displaced people to Jaffna and Mannar, Trincomalee and Batticaloa as well as to Vavuniya and Killinochi. I underline that this return needs to happen according to international standards. At the same time, I continue to reiterate that the ultimate goal is the restoration of freedom of movement and finding durable solutions for all IDPs."

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