300,000 held in Sri Lankan “internment camps”

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Sunila Abeysekera, an award-winning Sri Lankan human rights activist, speaks about the overcrowding, the lack of adequate medical attention and the disappearances at state-run camps holding up to 300,000 displaced civilians.

The tightly guarded camps, ringed with barbed wire, have been described by Human Rights Watch as a “national disgrace“.

Sri Lanka’s outgoing Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Sarath N Silva, declared in a public address that the detentions in the internment camps were unlawful.

Over the last three years, thousands of others have been detained without trial under emergency regulations and the PTA (Sri Lanka’s version of the ISA). Many of them have been held for months or years at undisclosed locations.

One estimate places the death toll this year in the war between Sri Lankan government forces and the LTTE at 7,000. But activists and others say the real figure is around 20,000.

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