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Sri Lanka: North East Joint Humanitarian Update - Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya, and Trincomalee Districts Report No. 10, 26 Sep 2009 - 09 Oct 2009

UN RC/HC Sri Lanka
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I. Situation Overview & highlights

- Sri Lanka called upon the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to retract her remarks that rape was used as a weapon of war during the 26-year armed conflict. The Minister for Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama conveyed the Sri Lankan Government's displeasure over the remarks to the new US Ambassador Patricia Butenis, who was summoned for a meeting on 3 October.

- On 4 October, the Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Rishad Bathiudeen stated that approximately 10,000 IDPs currently living in Zones 2 and 4 of Menik Farm would be relocated to Zone 6, which is less vulnerable to floods during the upcoming monsoons because of its comparatively higher elevation.

- On 4 October, media reports stated that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is considering a proposal by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi to grant citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees on Indian soil. Indian political parties have mostly opposed the proposal, insisting that the refugees should be returned to their own country. In Sri Lanka, on 6 October the Minister of National Integration Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, alias Karuna Amman stated that there was no reason for the Sri Lankan refugees to seek Indian citizenship, as the situation in the country is very good.

- On 5 October, the Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights (MDMHR) Prof. Rajiva Wijesingha said that two soldiers involved in the 26 September shooting incident in Menik Farm will be produced for investigation before the military police.

- During his 6-7 October visit to Sri Lanka, the UK Minister for International Development Mike Foster remarked that IDP freedom of movement is critical to averting a humanitarian crisis. After visiting Menik Farm, he voiced concern about the impact that heavy rains would have on camp conditions. Mr. Foster added that the UK is supporting demining and transportation of civilians back to their home areas; however, progress on returning IDPs up to date has been 'disappointing.' He further said that 70% of the people in Menik Farm should be able to immediately leave the camp to stay with their relatives. Following Mr. Foster's visit, the UK Government announced that, once the imminent monsoon is over, it would withdraw all funding except those for life-saving emergency interventions in the camps.

- On 7 October, UNICEF Representative to Sri Lanka, Philippe Duamelle reported a significant improvement in the nutrition condition of IDP children, with a 50% decrease of severe acute malnutrition.

- On 8 October, the Supreme Court ordered the release of an IDP family currently in a Vauvniya camp on the basis of a Fundamental Rights application filed on their behalf. The Supreme Court stated that if the family's next of kin is prepared to take them, there was no reason to continue holding them in the camp.

- On 8 October, the Government of the Russian Federation donated a consignment of humanitarian aid for IDPs. The Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe said that Russia's decision to provide IDP assistance through the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) is significant as other donor nations always operated through the UN and INGOs. Furthermore, two Russian demining specialists arrived in the country to help the demining process in the Northern Province.


- Between 26 September and 8 October, 4,499 IDPs were transported from Vavuniya camps to Jaffna District. Of this number, 4,408 IDPs went to their own or relatives' homes in the Kayts, Karainagar, Velanai and Delft District Secretariat Divisions. The remaining 91 were transferred to the transit site at Kaithady. On 5 October, 108 pregnant women and their families were brought to Jaffna District and released.

- As of 9 October, 1,643 IDPs from Vavuniya District are being accommodated at the Kaithady and Mirusuvil transit sites in Jaffna District.


- On 9 October, 448 IDPs from Vavuniya District were transferred to transit sites in Trincomalee District. As of 8 October, 816 individuals have been released from these sites.