* Sri Lanka Civil War refugees

20th Century Refugees--Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009)

Figure 1.-- Here we see Tamil refigees in London. The press caption read, "Tamils Taken to Airport: A 'refugee' Tamil with two children sits in a coach [bus] outside their hotel near Heathrow, waiting to be taken to the airport today. The 58 Tamils who arrived in Beitain claiming to be refugees from Sri Lanka were being assembled at their centre in Heathrow's Terminal Three to await a High Court ruling on their fate, which is expected this afternoon." The photo is dated February 24, 1987. This was only at the beginning of the Civil War.

The extended duration of the fighting and the brutality of the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan Army had terrible condequences for the Sril Lankan people. As a result of these attacks and reprisals, there were significant civilian casuakties. Land mines were a serious problems. As a result of attacks and threats on civilains and reprisals, people began fleeing the conflict areas (northern Sri Lanka and northeastern coastal area). Camps had to be set up to assist the refugees. This occurred both in Sri Lanka and southern India. After the Sri Lankan Army achieved the upper hand, the problem of repatriating the civilians in refugee camps arose. The United Nations High Commissionr for Refugees (UNHCR) became involved in the resettlement effort. Some 1.5 million people over the more than to decades of fighting had been uprooted. U.N. officials me with both Sri Lankan Government officials and representatives of the Tamil Tigers. There were both internally displaced civilians and civilians in southern India (Tamil Nadu). There were also hundreds of thousands who sought refugee in Europe and North America, mostly Tamils. They had become one of the western world’s largest groups of asylum seekers. The internally displaced in Sri Lanka were the easiest to resettle and many returned 'spontaneously' as security conditiins improved. Those in India and other countries were more difficult to repatriate.


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Created: 2:03 PM 11/23/2019
Last updated: 2:03 PM 11/23/2019