Tamils in Sri Lanka

Mike Gapes used his last question to Ministers in this Parliament on Tuesday to highlight the plight of the Tamils of Sri Lanka.   Mr Gapes had been successful in the ballot for "topical questions" to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Here is what he said  and the response from FCO Minister Ivan Lewis

Mike Gapes (Ilford, South) (Lab/Co-op): Almost one year ago the Sri Lankan civil war came to an end. Some 280,000 Tamils were then put in detention, and 70,000 people in Sri Lanka are still in detention camps. What are our Government doing to press on the Sri Lankan Government the need to ensure that the Tamil population are completely released and reintegrated into society, so that they feel that they have a stake in a future Sri Lanka?

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Ivan Lewis): My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise that issue. We have provided £13.5 million of assistance in the post-conflict period to help almost 300,000 people who have been displaced by fighting. Of course, there has been some progress in terms of the number of people in camps falling to about 80,000, but that is not good enough. The Government will continue to apply pressure to the Sri Lankan Government until all those people are allowed to return home safely and freely.

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