On the anniversary of the ruling Sri Lankan government vowing to end the conflict with Tamil separatists, a fact-finding mission report issued by the UN and the international community found that a key risk to the fight against terrorism was discrimination and marginalization of the minority Tamils.
There are clear policies and measures in place that would have significantly contributed to a better resourcing of displaced people of different ethnic backgrounds, the report found. While provincial and district levels are clearly geared towards resettling people who were displaced and resuming their lives, the federal government has a lack of plan for dealing with the challenge.
It further highlights that there are no resettlement houses to fix this issue and there are no emergency shelters to protect the poorest. In addition, government homes provide far less shelter for people who have lost relatives and people who lost property or went into debt. As of today, the need for significant assistance is evident. The overall number of people living in degrading conditions of shelters is more than half a million. It is estimated that nearly one million people require free shelters; 200,000 have taken refuge in government-provided shelter units and another 400,000 are living in displacement camps.
Despite this, there is a negative policy, allocation and financial mindset that undermines efforts to return the returned people to their home district or become a part of a resettlement process.
The findings of the report highlight that there is an absence of focus on housing issues, which impacts progress on all aspects of the holistic poverty reduction agenda. In addition, the government’s attitude of effectively excluding the people of the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka that experienced conflict from the resettlement process, led to the displacement of nearly one million people from their homes.