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Sri Lanka: Internally Displaced Persons

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment has been made of the Sri Lankan government’s progress in resettling internally displaced persons in the north of the country; and if he will make a statement. (307997)

The United Nations reported that as of the 10 December 2009 approximately 160,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been released from the closed camps in Sri Lanka. Of this number, around 131,000 people have been returned to their districts of origin and 29,000 people are either living with host families or in institutions. This represents progress by the Government of Sri Lanka towards their own target of returning 80 per cent. of the IDP population from the camps to their areas of origin by the end of 2009.

However, we are concerned that the conditions for returning IDPs are often poor and humanitarian access for UN agencies and NGOs to assist this population remains restricted. The UK Government continue to press the Government of Sri Lanka for humanitarian access to all returning IDPs as a priority. I refer the hon. Gentleman to my written ministerial statement to the House on 24 November 2009, Official Report, columns 61-63WS.