Ban applauds easing of restrictions on Sri Lankans in camps for displaced

Thousands of Tamil civilians continue to languish in IDP camps such as this one in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka

21 November 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the Government decision to allow greater freedom of movement to Sri Lankans sheltering in makeshift camps in the north of the country.

There were more than 270,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) staying in closed camps in May after a final push by Government forces ended the decades-long civil war with separatist Tamil rebels.

In a message praising the release of over half of the IDPs from the camps since the end of military operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Mr. Ban encouraged Sri Lankan authorities to prioritize the return home of the remaining people.

He also urged the Government to continue working with the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to improve assistance programmes which support the return of IDPs and to ensure the best possible services are provided to those who go home.

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