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2013 Dec 04

The visiting UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Dr Chaloka Beyani, has been impressed with Sri Lanka's overall progress made in the resettlement of IDPs in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Resettlement Ministry Secretary Janaka Sugathadasa yesterday said the UN Special Rapporteur was also positive and glad about the government's post-war reconstruction and development process.

Dr Beyani is currently in Jaffna to examine the situation of the resettlement of IDPs in the North and he will be visiting the Mullativu district today(4).

Dr Beyani arrived in Sri Lanka on Tuesday the the invitation of the government. He was briefed by us on the work we have done on the resettlement of IDPs, and their livelihood restoration. Besides, he was positive about the country's significant achievements made in the restoration of participatory democracy by holding elections. Consequent to a comprehensive briefing on the subject, Dr Beyani was impressed with the work we have done to resettle the IDPs and look after their welfare.

"Dr Beyani urged us to have time frames to resettle the remaining Tamil IDPs in some districts.

"We apprised him of the situation and how resettlement become difficult in some districts because some IDPs will not accept the resettlement option of relocation and the problem of having to find alternative lands for work relating to resettlement" Sugathadasa said. Asked if the Resettlement ministry was under pressure to expedite the process of resettlement, Secretary Sugathadasa said, " The problem associated with the process of resettlement is , even if we had done 97 percent of the work , the interested parties and the international agencies and INGOs seemed to get more curious about the 3 percent work that is remaining."

"They seem to overlook the 97 per cent of the work that has been completed. We cannot resettle Internally Displaced Persons by force anywhere," he said.

"We are working towards completion of the resettlement of IDPs amidst many problems, and having to clear land mines to ensure their safety is one thing. Having to claim lands from different owners is another."

"There are some lands owned by the Board of Investment for some development activities, There are other lands which are necessary for security zones . We have even acquired lands from security forces for our resettlement activities," he said.

"We have even started resettling second generation of IDPs in conformity with the recommendations in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Report(LLRC," he added.

"Every IDP in Sri Lanka is protected and assisted by the government," he said.

After the end of his mission in Sri Lanka, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of the IDPs, Dr Beyani is to present a report on his observations about the country's situation on the human rights of the IDPs to the UN Human Right Council in June 2014.
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