Norwegian Foreign Minister: Sri Lanka needs to win the peace
The Norwegian government says that now that the Sri Lankan government forces have declared victory over the Tamil Tigers, Sri Lanka must win the peace and provide help to the civilian victims.
“Our thoughts are with all those who have lost their relatives and loved ones in the war. We must now join forces to help the victims. People in refugee camps must be allowed to return to their homes as soon as possible,” says Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The situation in Sri Lanka is still unclear. Thousands of civilians have been killed and wounded. About 250 000 people have fled their homes and are entirely dependent on emergency aid and medical treatment.
“In order to secure the peace, it is essential to find political solutions. The Sri Lankan Government must show magnanimity towards the Tamil population, give it self-governance and build an inclusive state. All Sri Lankans – Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims – must feel assured that they have the same rights,” says Norwegian Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.
“I expect the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure that conditions in the refugee camps are improved rapidly to comply with international standards. This is also in line with what the UN has called for,” said Mr Støre.
“The registration of refugees, missing persons and prisoners of war must follow international standards. Next of kin must be given information, and families must be reunited. The authorities must grant international organisations access to the camps, to prisoners of war and to all parts of northern Sri Lanka. The International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN must monitor the situation. I expect the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure the safety of all victims and prisoners of war. The media must also be granted access,” Mr Solheim concluded.