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Sri Lanka: Information about Vavuniya refugee camp

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 October 1991
Citation / Document Symbol LKA9388
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Sri Lanka: Information about Vavuniya refugee camp, 1 October 1991, LKA9388, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aafda0.html [accessed 22 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

When the fighting resumed between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government of Sri Lanka in June 1990, UNHCR wanted to turn Mannar island into a temporary haven for refugees or displaced. However, the Tigers refused and the government already had plans to build a refugee complex surrounded by barbed wire and tight military security at Vavuniya (The Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1990, 4; Xinhua 15 Aug. 1990).

According to the June 1990 issue of The Sri Lanka Monitor, an estimated 30,000 persons had taken refuge in 18 camps around Vavuniya in June 1990. The UNHCR-controlled refugee complex, which was designed as a temporary or transit haven, hosted thousands of people in the course of the following months.

 In early August 1990, Ranjan Wijeratne, then Sri Lanka's Defence Minister, advised Jaffna civilians to leave the peninsula for Vavuniya camp to let the army launch an assault on Tiger positions (Sri Lanka Monitor Aug. 1990, 1). In October, some 15,000 people flooded into Vavuniya when the Tigers lifted a ban, for three days, on people leaving the peninsula. Many were held for more than a two-day screening before proceeding to Colombo.

By late October, Vavuniya was flooded with refugees (Ibid. Oct. 1990, 1; Reuters 1 Nov. 1990; Kyodo 28 Oct. 1990). In early March 1991, Wijeratne instructed refugees to go to army- controlled camps in Mannar and Vavuniya to clear the way for a second army assault on Tiger positions again. Non-governmental organizations protested arguing that people would not leave. Two days later, Wijeratne was assassinated (Sri Lanka Monitor Feb. 1991, 1; Reuters 28 Feb. 1991). According to the Oslo-based Sri Lanka Resource Centre, the number of refugees in Vavuniya has increased during the Spring of 1991. However, figures are not currently available (26 Sept. 1991).

 For further information on Vavuniya camp, please refer to the attached documents.

 Bibliography

Kyodo News Service. 28 October 1990. "Thousands of Muslims Flee the North."

Reuters. 28 February 1991. "Sri Lankan Military to Mount Offensive Against Tamil Rebels."

_____. 1 November 1990. Dalton De Silva. "Sri Lankan Troops Launch Fresh Offensive Against Tamil Tigers."

The Sri Lanka Monitor. February 1991. "Car Bomb Kills Defence Minister."

_____. October 1990. "New Army Offensive Jolts Jaffna."

_____. August 1990. "Battered Jaffna on the Brink of Starvation."

_____. August 1990. "100,000 Flee the North-East."

_____. June 1990. "A Fight to the Finish."

_____. June 1990. "Thousands Displaced in the North-East."

Sri Lanka Resource Centre, Oslo. 26 September 1991. Fax Communication.

The Xinhua General Overseas News Service. 15 August 1990. "Sri Lanka to Set Up Refugees Camps in North."

Attachments

Kyodo News Service. 28 October 1990. "Thousands of Muslims Flee the North."

Reuters. 28 February 1991. "Sri Lankan Military to Mount Offensive Against Tamil Rebels."

_____. 1 November 1990. Dalton De Silva. "Sri Lankan Troops Launch Fresh Offensive Against Tamil Tigers."

The Sri Lanka Monitor. February 1991. "Car Bomb Kills Defence Minister."

_____. October 1990. "New Army Offensive Jolts Jaffna."

_____. August 1990. "Battered Jaffna on the Brink of Starvation."

_____. August 1990. "100,000 Flee the North-East."

_____. June 1990. "A Fight to the Finish."

_____. June 1990. "Thousands Displaced in the North-East."

_____. July 1990. "Refugee Die of Starvation and Disease."

Sri Lanka Resource Centre, Oslo. 26 September 1991. Fax Communication.

_____. Update May 1991 - Events & Situation Report.

The Xinhua General Overseas News Service. 15 August 1990. "Sri Lanka to Set Up Refugees Camps in North."

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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