Andrew Love (Edmonton, Labour)
In relation to the Muslim community, a great deal of the discrimination described to us was partly based on religious differences. I have heard reports of other minority religions being discriminated against. It is of concern, but it was not our primary focus on visiting the island.
We spoke to a number of the people in the camps and were surprised to discover that they did not want to return to their original homes in the north and east. They felt safe where they were and had been living there for a considerable time. It was very much the strong feeling of both members of the delegation that they had been forgotten by everyone—by their Government and the international community. It was part of our wish on returning to raise their profile and see whether something could be done. I note that the Department for International Development has been involved in innovative programmes on internally displaced persons. In former programmes, it has tried to assist people to return to their original homes. It could construct a similar programme so that people can rehabilitate themselves within the district of Puttalam and establish employment opportunities. Perhaps the Minister can pass that request on to his colleagues.