My Cousin from Kili is in a Camp. How Do I Get Him Out?
I have a cousin who lived in Kilinochchi. He was an 8th Grade school teacher. As far as I know, he bore no allegiance to the LTTE. He may have cooperated with them for the purpose of survival. However, he had no criminal record and certainly had no links to terrorist activities.
He now resides in Zone 3 of the Menik Farm IDP Camp. He is one of 40,648 IDPs interned there. There are 6 medical officers for the entire Zone, which amounts to one medical officer for every 6,775 civilians.
He is neither an “elder” nor “a person with learning disabilities”, nor does he fall within the category of some “other vulnerable group”. Thus he is not one of the fortunate 2,234 individuals released into the care of elders’ homes or host families. That is a mere 0.8% of the 260,295 civilians housed in Vavuniya.
I have some relatives in Puttlam that are willing to accept my cousin into their home. They are willing to house him, feed him and assist him in finding new employment.
I heard the other day that my cousin’s wife was killed in a shelling raid and his two daughters have left the camp to be with their relatives. Yet he is not permitted to leave the camp and join his daughters.
Screening. Ok, screen him. What are they looking for? Are they all terrorist suspects?
All 260,295 of them?
I hear that the law requires you to be reasonably suspected of having committed an offence for the State to hold you in custody for more than 24 hours. I hear that murderers, rapists and thieves are granted bail under our law.
So why indefinitely incarcerate my cousin?
He is fortunate enough to have relatives willing to host him, yet unfortunate not to be a person with a learning disability. He also doesn’t have the Rs. 400,000 needed to get “unofficial bail”.
Why can’t they run a simple background check and release him?
How many IDPs want to leave these camps anyway? There are 18,200 IDPs in Jaffna, Mannar and Trincomalee. They may leave if they wish to, but no one does, since they have no where to go. So how many of the 260,295 IDPs in Vavuniya do you think would actually want to leave? Just a few, perhaps. Not many.
The few that do wish to leave may be screened. I doubt that it would be administratively impossible to reserve the screening process just for those who wish to leave the camps. The others could remain until they are resettled. Those who fail the test may be rehabilitated in the “Rehab Camps” located in Kalimoddai and Sirukandal in Mannar. Those who pass the test may be released to their families. Is it not that simple?
I’m sure my cousin will pass the screening. But in an ironic twist of fate, he was not born in 1940 or as a retard, so he doesn’t qualify for consideration.
What can I do to get him out?
Thank you for reading.