Suffering Tamils are languishing

Last night on Australian radio there was one of the first reports about life for Tamils inside the Sri Lankan concentration camps. It’s a grim reality, families held for months against their will.

It’s a point constantly hammered by the Washington Post and the clear implication is that festering problems can only lead in one direction:

Six months after Sri Lanka’s decades-old civil war ended with a final assault, about 200,000 people remain trapped in overcrowded government-run camps that were once safe havens for those fleeing the conflict.

Facing pressure from the Obama administration and the European Union, the Sri Lankan government last month launched a campaign to resettle tens of thousands of the minority Tamil detainees. But interviews in the country’s war-ravaged north reveal that many civilians have merely been shuffled from the large camps to smaller transit ones and are being held against their will. Others have been released, only to be taken from their homes days later with no indication of where they have gone.

After the army defeated the Tamil rebels in May, top government officials paraded their success on the streets of Colombo, the capital, and the country’s leaders made noble promises about ensuring national harmony. Now analysts say the real test of Sri Lanka’s success in building a stable, post-conflict society lies in the fate of these scores of thousands of detainees.