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Photo Report: Eager to Return Home in `liberated´ East

by Carla Lee, Sri Lanka, 8 April 2009

While the decades-long ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has been heading to, what many call, the final stage, the humanitarian situation in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in North have been matter of concern. However, the Sri Lanka government has refused the presence of international humanitarian NGOs inside razor-wired the camp, where Sri Lankan Security forces, policemen and reportedly Tamil Paramilitary groups are present.

In the meantime, people in IDPs camp in Eastern Province of Sri Lanka has been eagerly to return home. They had fled their home town Mutur, Sampur and elsewhere in Trincomalee (upper east) to Batticaloa in 2006 as the fighting between government forces and the rebel forces, the LTTE had taken place in their home town. Even if full scale of fighting in eastern province was over, the IDPs still have no clue when they could return home. Sri Lankan government has declared Eastern Province ‘liberated from the LTTE’ in the mid of 2007, there has been ‘unreported’ guerrilla warfare waged by the LTTE’s cadres in low intensity. 

The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has claimed at least 70,000 since 1983, which doesn’t include the death tolls from a current war. According to the unofficial UN figure, there are more than 60 deaths due to army bombardment every day and more than 3,000 lives have been lost since the end of January.    

Sri Lankan Navy is on patrol around seashore of Colombo.
photo: Carla Lee

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