Sri Lanka under pressure from rights groups over war refugees

September 23, 2009 (AFP) – Human rights groups urged world leaders Wednesday to pressure Sri Lanka over the immediate resettlement of quarter of a million war-displaced civilians held in state-run camps. New York-based Human Rights Watch said the upcoming UN general assembly as well as the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh should address the plight of an estimated 260,000 people confined to camps in the island’s north after the decades-long conflict against Tamil Tiger rebels ended in May.

“World leaders should support calls from the UN to restore full freedom of movement to these people, who already have suffered mightily from war and displacement,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“The civilians locked up in these detention camps have a right to liberty now, not when the government gets around to it.”

He said in a statement that Sri Lankan authorities were not being open and honest with camp residents about when they may go home and were keeping them in a state of uncertainty and anxiety.

The Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission said the UN Human Rights Council had failed to effectively address human rights crises in Sri Lanka.

“This is no