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NGO Questions Sirisena Government’s Resettlement Record

May 31, 2016
Colombo Gazette

One and a half years after Maithripala Sirisena became Sri Lankan President, thousands continue to live in camps of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) or with relatives, waiting to return home, says a California-based policy think tank, according to The Hindu newspaper.

In its 16-page report, the Oakland Institute has stated that as of November 2015, about 11,500 families (38,500 people) were identified as IDPs. Most of them are living with their friends and relatives. In 32 camps, there were 1,158 families (4,238 persons).

However, an official at the Resettlement Ministry says the number of families in the camps in Tellipalai of the Jaffna district and Poonthottam, Vavuniya, has come down to 1,068 with 3,700 persons.

Finding fault with the way the Sirisena government has been handling the issue of resettlement, the NGO says “it is difficult to ascertain how many of the promised lands have actually been released for full resettlement, and how many households have successfully been resettled. What is clear is that the promises made by the government to date are far below the total necessary lands required to adequately resettle all the current IDPs.”