Socialist Worker

Why has Britain funded Sri Lankan detention camps?

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2173

The British government has pledged to stop its funding of detention camps in Sri Lanka.

Ever since the Sri Lankan government militarily defeated the rebel Tamil Tigers in May, British money has been helping the regime with the “resettlement” of Tamil people.

This programme imprisons about 250,000 Tamil civilians in detention camps.

Even disputed government figures show only 30,000 prisoners have been released so far, despite promises that the camps would be rapidly closed.

Britain’s international development minister Mike Foster visited the vast Menik Farm camp last week.

He said, “Freedom of movement is critical if a humanitarian crisis is to be averted.

“We will not be prepared to fund closed camps after the monsoons.”

Britain has allocated £4.8 million to assist in “resettlement” work.

British Tamil organisations have called a demonstration against the detention camps for this Saturday 17 October, assembling at Embankment in central London at 12 noon, to march to Hyde Park.

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Tue 13 Oct 2009, 18:11 BST
Issue No. 2173
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