Sri Lanka: Refugees permitted to leave camps
Posted on December 2nd, 2009

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . Canada

December 2, 2009

The Editor (Letters)
THE OTTAWA CITIZEN

Sir:

Re: Sri Lanka “”…” refugees permitted to leave camps, there were never doubts in the minds of the majority Sri Lankans that the 288,000 Tamil Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who were housed in temporary camps would be sent back to their original homes and villages as soon as possible.

Common sense dictated that the Sri Lankan Government could not be that irresponsible to let the refugees die blown up by the over a million landmines that had been planted by the retreating Tamil Tiger terrorists during the latter part of their war, after having been rescued in the first place from the clutches of these terrorists who held them as human shields for 30 months.

The foreign governments and Human Rights Organizations howls and screams to let these people go immediately had little impact on the Sri Lankan Government as they knew what had to be done first to let the people go “”…” clear the landmines, renovate their homes, rehabilitate all infrastructures like minor road and major highways, clean up the water sources, install electricity, re-establish other public services such as sanitation, health clinics, and schools, et cetera.  All that had to take the normal course although they had been accelerated.

The Sri Lankan government was smart not to succumb to outside pressures and have knee jerk reactions just because the outside world showed concern and place these refugees in more misery. To the credit of the Sri Lankan Government over half the refugees have returned to their de-mined villages and renovated homes. And that too happened in six months.

They have been provided with 5,000 rupees in cash, and 20,000 rupees in the bank, and have been promised another instalment of 25,000 rupees.  They have been provided with cooking utensils to start cooking and six months worth of rations.  They have also been provided tools for de-weeding their land since it has been overgrown with trees and undergrowth having been abandoned for over 25 years during that brutal Tamil Tiger war.

All this is a modern day miracle for a small developing island that had meagre help from western nations other than irrational criticism, and much help from the Asian and Africa’s friendly nations to get back on its feet. 

 Asoka Weerasinghe

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