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DateLine Sunday, 20 May 2007

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Government Gazette

No forcible resettlement of IDPs -Bathiudeen

Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Rishad Bathiudeen has reiterated that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are settled in their place of origin, voluntarily on their own accord.

The Ministry provides assistance in the resettlement programme. Following the conference at Welikanda, presided over by the Minister, it had been agreed to commence resettlement of IDPs from May 14 in the cleared areas of the Batticaloa district.

The Minister said that security clearance is obtained from the relevant authority, before the resettlement of IDPs to the effect that the area planned for resettlement is free of landmines. This resettlement programme is purely voluntary and done with the occurrence of the IDPs. At no stage had this ministry or any other agency resorted to resettle the IDPs forcibly in their birthplace, without their agreement.

After the commencement of the first phase of the resettlement programme, on May 14 the following number of families and persons have been resettled.

* May 14 - 817 families consisting of 2,503 persons were resettled in Kovil Porativu, Kovil Porathivu South and Kovil Porathivu West.

* May 15 - 625 families consisting of 1,705 persons were resettled in Munaithivu, Punnakulam and Paddapuram.

* May 16 - 868 families consisting of 2,688 persons were resettled in Periya Porathivu, Vipulanandapuram and Mavetkudah.

* May 17 - 821 families consisting of 2,487 persons were resettled in Palugamam-2, Palugamam-1 and Vanninagar.

* May 18 - 651 families consisting of 2,254 persons were resettled in Kalumunthanveli, Veeranchanai and Ghanthipuram.

According to the latest reports reaching the Ministry, the IDPs are happy to resettle in their home towns. During the initial resettlement process under the Jathika Saviya programme, a ration pack, kitchen utensils and other items are being issued to IDPs for their sustenance on arrival at their place of origin from the welfare centres.

Buses are arranged from the welfare centres to provide transport to their respective places of their origin. Wells in their villages are cleaned to provide pure drinking water.

This resettlement programme of IDPs in the Vellavely Divisional Secretariat in Batticaloa district will continue till May 24.

It is the intention of the Government and this Ministry to assist these IDPs to restart their normal livelihood.

This Ministry has made arrangements to assist the IDPs in every possible manner to start their livelihood in their place of origin. It has also been planned to provide rations to IDPs who resettle in their birthplace even after resettlement until such time these families established themselves.

Plans are under way to assist these IDPs immediately after resettlement by providing these families with basic items such as fishing gear, mammoties, agricultural implements, seed materials, fertiliser and agro-chemicals to start their day-to-day activities.

The Ministry of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services intends to improve the infrastructure facilities in the resettled villages to uplift the living conditions of the villagers.

The following Ministries have already initiated action to visit these areas and provide the services required:

Ministry of Road Development, Ministry of Public Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Irrigation, Ministry of Nation Building, Ministry of Cooperative Development and Ministry of Livestock Development.

Along with the Resettlement Ministry all relevant officials of the Presidential Secretariat, relevant ministries, GA Batticaloa, other Government officials, INGOs, NGOs, Security forces and the police are extending their cooperation to make this exercise a success.

The UNHCR country representative of Sri Lanka Ameen Awad visited Batticaloa on May 14 to monitor the resettlement arrangements of IDPs by the Government. In a statement he said, National Humanitarian Standards have been maintained in the process of Resettlement in the Batticaloa district.

Further the IDPs are happy to go back voluntarily without any condition. The UNHCR and international community are happy to see the IDPs return to their original places in peace. This resettlement process is carried out in a phased and an organised manner. This process, he said is sustainable and durable. The international community is showing its readiness to support the locals and IDPs for interaction in their normal life.

The second phase of this resettlement process will commence on June 1. A meeting was held yesterday presided over by the GA Batticaloa in the Pattipola Divisional Secretary area to make arrangements for resettlement in the next phase. On completion of the resettlement programme of IDPs, the Ministry has plans to take all possible measures to make the inhabitants of the villages happy and contended by transforming these villages into model villages.

 

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