British minister in Sri Lanka to assess refugee resettlement

October 6th, 2009 - 8:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Oct 6 (DPA) A British cabinet minister began a two-day visit to Sri Lanka Tuesday to assess the government’s resettlement plans for an estimated 250,000 people displaced by the country’s civil war, officials said.
Mike Foster, British Parliamentary under secretary of state for international development, was scheduled to visit refugee camps in the north, a British-funded child soldier rehabilitation centre in Vavuniya and a demining programme also backed by Britain.

Foster also planned to meet UN agencies and non-governmental organisations involved in resettling displaced persons.

His visit comes amidst growing pressure on the Sri Lankan government to expedite the resettlement of the displaced in their former villages.

The refugees have been living in heavily guarded camps for periods varying from four months to one year. They were displaced in the final phase of fighting between government troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The war ended in May with the defeat of the Tamil rebels.

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