UN chief, minister discuss plight of displaced Sri Lankans

UNITED NATIONS, September 3, 2009 (AFP) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon met with a Sri Lankan minister in Geneva Thursday to discuss the plight of civilians displaced by the government defeat of the Tamil separatist insurgency earlier this year, his press office said.

But she added that UN officials could not confirm its authenticity.

The video footage was allegedly shot during the final stages of Colombo’s defeat of LTTE fighters. UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said Ban and Mahinda Samarasinghe, Sri Lanka’s minister for disaster management and human rights, exchanged views on conditions in the camps for displaced minority Tamils and the importance of reconciliation and accountability in the south Asian island nation.

Last May, the UN secretary general toured Sri Lanka’s biggest camp for displaced civilians after government troops finally crushed the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The decisive battle ended the LTTE’s four-decade struggle for an independent Tamil homeland, one of Asia’s longest-running ethnic conflicts, which left between 80,000 and 100,000 people dead.

The large number of civilians killed during the last stage of the fighting sparked an international outcry and aid groups now fear for the welfare of 300,000 T