‘welfare village’

(AFP) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Saturday came face-to-face with the despair of Sri Lanka’s war-hit civilians as he toured the main refugee camp and flew over the devastated war zone.

Just days after Colombo declared victory over Tamil Tiger rebels, he toured the sprawling Menik Farm camp, 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of the capital, which was jammed with 200,000 civilians displaced by the fighting.

“I’m very moved after what I have seen. I’ve seen so many wounded,” the secretary general said after spending 20 minutes walking through the camp, a sea of makeshift corrugated iron shacks and tents.

“There are huge challenges that can only be overcome by strong support from the international community,” said Ban, on a 24-hour visit to Sri Lanka.

He stopped at a government-run clinic where he saw around 100 elderly patients, some with gaping wounds, who had been caught up in the conflict.

The camp, referred to by Sri Lankan authorities as a “welfare village,” was surrounded by barbed wire and under heavy guard.

Tamil activists have likened “welfare villages” to concentration camps, while UN and aid agencies have complained about restrictions on vehicle access to the shelters.

Also this interview with an aid worker @ Indymedia is worth a look. The bottom line is the Sri Lankan government cannot be trusted with the Tamil refugees welfare. A beady eye must be kept on them.

Posted in Human Rights, Media. Tags: , , . Comments Off on ‘welfare village’
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