U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is sending his aide to Sri Lanka to
press the government to release more than 280,000 displaced Tamil
civilians held in camps since the Tamil Tiger rebels were defeated in
U.N. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe says he
will leave for Sri Lanka Tuesday to discuss the detainees' fate.
He said he will also ask Sri Lanka to tackle human rights issues,
including setting up a body to determine accountability for abuses
committed by both sides in the 25-year civil war.
Pascoe said Mr. Ban had discussed the issues with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a telephone conversation Monday.
On Friday, the Colombo government said it had sent nearly 10,000 war
refugees back to their villages in the north and the east of the
Sri Lanka has come under international scrutiny for its confinement of Tamil civilians in military-run camps.
Aid workers say the camps are dangerously overcrowded and lack proper
sanitation, and have urged authorities to speed up the resettlement
But Sri Lankan officials say they must first screen the detainees to
determine if rebel fighters are among the civilians and also clear
landmines from villages before the civilians can be resettled.
Sri Lanka has pledged to resettle 80 percent of displaced people by the end of the year.