United Nations Chief Ban Ki-moon has welcomed Colombo’s decision to grant freedom of movement to the displaced Tamils living in the military guarded camps at the Northern Vayuniya district in Sri Lanka.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the decision by the Government of Sri Lanka to grant increased freedom of movement to internally displaced persons (IDPs) still residing in camps in northern Sri Lanka,” said a statement issued here by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

“These are steps which the UN has long been pressing for in its intensive engagement with the authorities in Sri Lanka,” it added.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother and Chairman of the Task Force for Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Basil Rajapaksa, told reporters in Vavuniya that the government had taken this decision to respect the human rights of the displaced persons.

Mr. Rajapaksa also noted that the present decision to ease restrictions would be in place till the end of January when all those displaced from the fighting are expected to be returned home. “We have decided to allow freedom of movement to these people from December 1,” Mr. Rajapaksa declared.

“They are free to move in and out of the camps and could even go home if they wished.”

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