With the end of the government’s military campaign, Crisis Group urges that:
The Sri Lankan government should make public a list all those being held in camps for the displaced and in places of detentions, to reassure worried families about the fate of their loved ones, to facilitate the reunification of divided families, and to protect against the threat of abduction and forced disappearance.
The ICRC and UNHCR must be given full and immediate access to every stage of the government’s “screening” for those suspected of involvement with the LTTE. The ICRC should be granted full access to all places of detention to ensure that surrendered and captured combatants and other terrorist suspects are treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and Sri Lankan law. The Sri Lankan government should make public its plans for the demobilisation and rehabilitation of former LTTE fighters.
The Sri Lankan government should remove all restrictions on the access and effective work of the ICRC, UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs in government camps for the displaced in Vavuniya, Mannar and Jaffna and in government hospitals and medical centres. Punitive restrictions on visas and on travel within Sri Lanka for international staff of humanitarian agencies must also be removed. Lack of access and the consequent reduction in services only compounds the already severe physical suffering and psychological hardships the displaced are enduring.
The Sri Lankan government should announce a clear and prompt timetable for the resettlement of all those recently displaced from the Vanni. The government should also establish an open and inclusive process of consultation with independent Tamil and Muslim leaders to devise a fair and sustainable plan for the resettlement of all those displaced from the Northern Province, including the nearly 100,000 Muslims forcibly evicted from Jaffna and Mannar in 1990.
The Sri Lankan government should make tangible and meaningful steps to assure Tamils, Muslims and other minorities that their rights will be respected and their equal citizenship and physical safety will be assured. The government should initiate a new and inclusive process of dialogue between legitimate and independent representatives of all ethnic communities in pursuit of a lasting political settlement that addresses the grievances and insecurities of all communities through constitutional guarantees of power-sharing and individual rights.