Sri Lanka Tamil refugees should move freely: US

WASHINGTON, October 9, 2009 (AFP) – The United States on Friday called on the Sri Lankan government to allow Tamil refugees displaced by recent fighting to move freely around the country. Assistant US Secretary of State Robert Blake, who is focussed on US relations with central and southern Asia, “emphasized the importance of the government allowing freedom of movement for IDPs,” or internally displaced people, read a State Department statement.

While the Sri Lankan government “has made some progress easing camp congestion, registering IDPs, and expanding access by humanitarian organizations, much remains to be done,” Blake said.

Blake also “underscored the importance of political reconciliation” in Sri Lanka, where some 250,000 people who were displaced by fighting between troops and Tamil Tiger separatists have remained in the state-run camps since the rebels were defeated in May.

In order to reach a lasting peace, the Sri Lankan government must “promote justice and political reconciliation for all parties and dialogue with all parties, including Tamils inside and outside Sri Lanka, on new mechanisms for devolving power.”

Sri Lanka “must also seek to improve hum