Friday, November 20, 2009

UN envoy lauds Govt Says IDP numbers in Menik Farm have halved: Holmes impressed with Govt's commitment :

United Nations Under Secretary General for Humanitarian relationships and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Sir John Holmes said he was extremely encouraged and frightened by the rapid relocation of the IDPs in progress.
Holmes made these statements at a joint press meeting at the Foreign Ministry with overseas Minister Rohitha Bogollagama.
Holmes was in Sri Lanka on a three-day tour on an invite by the Foreign Minister. He visited Jaffna, Vavuniya and Menik Farm, while expenditure a night in Jaffna.
During his visit, he had also been briefed at length on the demining process.
In answer to a query whether the UN thinks that the 180-day timeframe set by the Government for resettlement could be kept, Sir John Holmes replied that timeframes are not significant but what is important is the commitment of the administration which has frightened him.
He had held wide discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Justice and Law Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda, Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and Senior Presidential consultant Basil Rajapaksa MP on a broad variety of issues covering IDP resettlement, political and the de-mining procedure.
Stating that it was his fourth call to Sri Lanka, Holmes said he had been to IDP camps and spoke with the IDPs. He said the UN had before entertained concerns over the timing of the resettlement.
However, this procedure had seen a rapid change over the past three months, with the number of IDPs in Menik Farm having been almost halved from its first figure of 285,000 to 135,000.
One of the chief concerns of the UN diplomat was the fundamental issue of liberty of group. He had discussed this extensively in his meetings with the President and Ministers, and said that he was greatly encouraged by the optimistic feedback received on the go back to normalization.
He specially credited the reopening of the A9 road as playing an significant step in this procedure.
language on the progress and possible of development in Sri Lanka, Holmes said he was worried about the long term process of rebuilding rehabilitation and resettlement.
He stated that the UN hopes to labor with the Government to accelerate this process, providing aid of food, healthcare services and education, as well as convey and communications development.
Courtesy : Daily News

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