CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.Res. 711 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Tuesday, November 3, 2009, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) on July 17, 2009, and referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which took no official action.
H.Res. 711 would express the sense that the House of Representatives:
• "Urges the Sri Lankan Government to guarantee the safety and speedy release of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in camps and to ensure the rights and privileges of these refugees in the reestablishment of their homes and properties;
• "Calls on the Sri Lankan Government to turn the operation of the camps over to civilian authorities and allow the day to day presence of international government agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and independent nongovernmental organizations to assist in the care of the IDPs;
• "Calls on the Sri Lankan Government to allow an independent group to assess the accuracy of the allegations of large numbers of deaths, diseases, and sicknesses due to poor sanitation and inappropriate healthcare in the camps containing the IDPs and to prepare a plan of action to resolve the problems;
• "Request the Sri Lankan Government to establish reasonable conditions to allow foreign agencies access to the IDPs and to ensure the rebuilding process of war torn areas in Sri Lanka; and
• "Urges the Tamil people to continue to be patient while the government reestablishes normalcy and urges the Sri Lankan Government to move forward in creating political reforms that will resolve the political concerns of the Tamil people."
According to the resolution's findings, in May, 2009, a 26 year war in Sri Lanka between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan Government came to an end. At the conclusion of the strife, the government of Sri Lanka agreed to care for civilians displaced during the conflict and to ensure their speedy return. Meanwhile, the government of Sri Lanka is attempting to identify former members of the LTTE that fought against the government during the war. To facilitate this goal, the government has established temporary housing for roughly 280,000 people who fled their homes as the war ended. Allegations have been made that the conditions within the 30 military camps for these internally displaced persons are "grossly wanting when compared to the principles set as standards by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for guiding states and organizations dealing with internally displaced populations."