Refugee Status

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

The United Nations refugees agency said Thursday Sri Lanka risked losing international financial support if it did not pay more attention to resettling nearly 400,000 internally displaced people.
A top official of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Dennis McNamara, said the agency expected the new government to pay “renewed attention” to resolve the problem of the displaced.rn

rn McNamara, the UNHCRs Inspector General, warned that donors could not be expected indefinitely to fund the displaced in Sri Lanka where the refugee problem is one of the worlds largest and most protracted.rn

rn “International support is still there, but competition is getting greater and there is a demand for shifting resources and personnel to countries like Sudan, Afghanistan, Burundi and Sierra Leone,” he told reporters after a two-week assessment on the island.rn

rn UNHCR figures show that 360,000 people have returned to Sri Lanka since February 2002 when security forces and Tamil rebels