By Colombo Telegraph –
“Blake recalled that, as Ambassador, he told GSL officials that the U.S. would have difficulty funding the long-term presence of IDPs in camps; it would be perceived as supporting incarceration. Rajapaksa stressed that it had been only three months; in the East, the first batch of IDP returns did not take place for nine months. Blake pointed to the barbed wire around the camp as evidence that camp residents could not leave. Rajapaksa disputed that assessment. The barbed wire, he said, could be removed. The camps are not closed. Eight thousand camp residents have disappeared and people are free to leave, for example, to go to the hospital or shopping in Vavuniya city (Department would appreciate Embassy Colombo’s assessment of whether this is true).” US State Department wrote to US Embassy Colombo.
The US State Department wrote “the reality, he argued, is that these people have no place to go. The government offered the elderly the opportunity to leave, but they chose to remain. Likewise, 45,000 IDPs from Jaffna Peninsula have chosen to remain in the camps because there is no housing on Jaffna. Basic infrastructure and housing in conflict-affected areas in the North have been completely destroyed, Rajapaksa maintained, though electricity provision is underway and irrigation reconstruction is commencing. Family and friends are not, in most cases, a viable option; it is a significant financial burden for a poor family to take on even one person.”
A classified diplomatic cable which details a meeting the US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake has had with Secretary to the Ministry of Difence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on September 24, 2009. The Colombo Telegraph found the related US diplomatic cable from the Secretary of State section of the WikiLeaks database. The cable was classified as “Confidential” signed by Hillary Clinton on September 25 2009.
Under the subheading “IDP RETURNS” the US State Department wrote “Blake underscored the importance of resettling as many IDPs as quickly as possible, noting that a number of GSL-announced deadlines had lapsed. Rajapaksa said that he and the President believe that the sooner IDPs are resettled, the better. That’s why the government’s plans have been so ambitious. The camps are difficult to control security-wise — LTTE combatants easily hide in them — and breed political resentment, he contended. The President wants these people’s political support. Screening for former LTTE could more easily take place in villages. The GSL knows who most of the hard-core LTTE are and could easily monitor them. The biggest problem, according to Rajapaksa, is financial. For example, Justice Minister Moragoda, who is incharge of rehabilitation of former LTTE combatants, is keen to press ahead on this effort. The GSL has provided staff and developed with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) a strategy for rehabilitation that emphasizes livelihood training, but still lacks the resources to build the centers and the housing required. (NOTE: State/USAID has proposed to DOD using a significant portion of the approximately $10 million in DOD-provided 1207 funding for post-conflict stabilization in northern Sri Lanka (about $10 million) on IOM-implemented projects that support the rehabilitation of former LTTE and pro-government paramilitary combatants and former child soldiers, building on similar work in the East. END NOTE.)”
“Rajapaksa surmised that if the GSL was to allow IDPs to go wherever they wanted, there would be significant casualties from landmines. Blake said the U.S. could consider doing more to assist in the demining area, if freedom of movement is assured. Rajapaksa said that many promises from the international community of demining assistance have not been fulfilled. The military alone successfully de-mined seventy percent of the East. He asked that the U.S. provide demining equipment to the government directly and demand accountability. He suggested the Embassy could create a mechanism to ensure such accountability. He questioned the utility of the demining assistance the U.S. has provided to NGOs that were not, he said, working productively. A/S Blake reiterated that assurances on freedom of movement would help us make the case for additional assistance, and suggested removing the barbed wire and allowing the press to witness it and free movement of camp residents.” they further wrote.
Related stories to this cable;
Liyange C / October 28, 2012
He must have killed that 8,000 and lying to US for defence. That is what I feel. Any other option ???
Gaban / October 29, 2012
Atleast few hundreds have fled the country. I personally met few in Europe that have arrived in Europe, after the war is over. Many of them did not want to detail about them – knowing that their asylum application would surely be thrown away by those EU authorities.However, the percentage of the mentioned category should be less out of those 8k that have been reported to be missing.
Raja / October 29, 2012
Thay must have escaped to Australia, Norway, Canada etc and must be living under new names, enjoying benefits not even available to Citizens of these countries. This would be similar to the recent incident when Guneratnam returned to Srilanka under a new name Mudalige and trying to join the ranks of “disappeared” SriLankans.
JimSofty / October 29, 2012
Robert Blake never worried about Afghan refugees or bombing wedding parties.
Blake never talked about 500,000 thousand Iraqui refugees or children and most of those women becoming prostitiutes because they could not support their children without the dead husbands.
Panda / October 29, 2012
Once again someone points a finger on the person or body that brings a crime into focus, and accuses them of some other crime or the other. We have to stop doing that, let them handle their own affairs, and seriously look at what WE are doing. There are serious accusations of crimes against Sri Lankan citizens, from all parts of the world, and we have to address that, not try to deliberate deflect the accusations by pointing fingers at what other nations do. Until the Rajapaksa’s honestly address this discrepancy, Sri Lanka is going to be hounded by these investigations and accusations. We look guilty just by being evasive and stalling any credible inquiry. The Rajapaksa’s have failed to satisfy world scrutiny, and if we do not care what the world says, then we have to stop sending the begging bowl for aid from these very same countries.
kumudini / October 29, 2012
The question shuold be why they are efocussing on SL so much ? Have they forgotten thier own atrocities ? What right have they to talk about SL when they are the worst culprits ? Do they think that they can pull the wool over peoples eyes . No one can know for sure what has happened to the so called disappered people So called disappered person turned up in SL with another name and an Australian Passport. Lukily he was found out and deported to Australia. There would be milliions like him who are all over the world with different names avoidng detection . They are too smart at this game and they will never be found out.Some tamils have even taken Sinhala names .
Native Vedda / October 31, 2012
“Do they think that they can pull the wool over peoples eyes”
They don’t, however they can catch Gota by his balls and his hearts and mind will follow.
“What right have they to talk about SL when they are the worst culprits”
They don’t however they have the biggest stick with which they can mug you.
” No one can know for sure what has happened to the so called disappered people”
Precisely for this reason we need an independent inquiry/investigation into war crime.
“There would be milliions like him who are all over the world with different names avoidng detection”
Have you met them and counted all of them? Where are they now?
“Some tamils have even taken Sinhala names .”
How would a Sinhala name help them with their asylum application?
kane / October 29, 2012
Hey move on man !!!. think beyond 2009. now we are not afraid of LTTE terrorists
Native Vedda / October 31, 2012
“Hey move on man !!!. think beyond 2009. now we are not afraid of LTTE terrorists”
Whilst people have moved on, Sri Lankan state and its rulers are stuck in the medieval times, meting out summary justice to those who oppose the clan.
The state did not fear LTTE but it was scared of the people. Please do ask the clan to move on from medieval time to 21st century democracy.
Native Vedda / October 31, 2012
“Robert Blake never worried about Afghan refugees or bombing wedding parties.”
How do you know the Blake “never worried about Afghan refugees”? Have you checked all diplomatic cables on Afghanistan?
“women becoming prostitiutes because they could not support their children without the dead husbands.”
Tamil women could not support their children without the dead husbands. What are you doing about it?
“Blake never talked about 500,000 thousand Iraqui refugees or children”
How would you force Blake to talk about 500,000 thousand Iraqui refugees or children?
Optimist / October 29, 2012
Why do you think that Gota killed 8000 civilians? Most of the civilians who had relatives in Colombo and other parts of the island moved in with them! It is not surprising that this has happened for I am sure if you were one of the IDPs who had a close relative in the south you would have bolted from the camp! Why do Sri Lankans think negatively? or are you hiding in sheep’s clothing trying to discredit our country? Remember Sri lanka rehabilitated 11,600 LTTE terrorist! Gota could have killed them all!
gamini / October 30, 2012
Out of the 8000 missing two have surfaced as Kumudini and Optimist. Now we have to look for the balance 7998.
h.m.bandara / October 29, 2012
Just a word to Panda. You say “not try to……….by pointing fingers at what other nations do”You are right. Get USA ,Blake, Norway etc to stop “pointing fingers at what other nations(including Sri Lanka)do.If your advise is followed by them more than half the problens in todays world would be over
Donald / October 29, 2012
If I am allowed to suggest a correction to the last sentence,
“If your advise is followed by them there will be No Problem in the world”
genga / October 30, 2012
do not try to cover up the killings that went on during 2009. Punish who evr that may be LTTE or even GOVT of SL let them face justice. Behave like humans do not go back to babarians time account for your action that will bring unity among people you must understand that there were mast killing and people have witnessed, suffered and living with those wounds try to heal the wound do not worsen the situation
shankar / November 4, 2012
How could 8000 disappear with such strict security.So the stories coming out that inmates were taken out,tortured,raped and then killed is all true because Gota himself has admitted to blake that 8000 has disappeared.This is a man who is so meticulous and thorough that he won’t let even a pin disappear without his approval and now he want’s the world to believe 8000 just disappeared.Well one day he will have to answer to the world community for that too in addition to the 40000 allegedly killed before they were incarcerated in barbed wire camps.Since he put them behind barbed wire he is responsible for the missing too and will have to produce them or show where they are now.The onus of proof is now on him,not on the tamils to prove where they are,because he took complete responsibility for them when he denied them them to go back to their homes and rebuild their lives after the war and kept them behind barbed wire for three years.