Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the $ 2.6 billion loan to Sri Lanka amid opposition from several countries including the US and Britain voicing concerns over human rights abuses. Britain abstained from voting on the loan.
British financial secretary to the treasury Stephen Timms said it was “not the right time for the program.” A day before the loan was approved the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticised the IMF for readying to hand it out.
“To approve a loan, especially $600 million more than the government even asked for, while they have hundreds of thousands of people penned up in these camps is a reward for bad behaviour,’’ HRW said. The Tamil diaspora too carried out an online campaign to stop the loan.
The loan, however, was approved with the government in Sri Lanka saying that no outsider should dictate terms about human rights abuses.
“We always from our ministry kept on saying we need to address those human rights issues. What we object to is, it is not people who should tell us to meet those issues,” Rajiva Wijesinghe of the ministry of human rights and disaster management was quoted as having said.
About 2.83 displaced Tamil refugees are holed up in camps. Sporadic reports of rights abuses have filtered out from the camps. The government has steadfastly dismissed them as propaganda. At least 52 aid agencies and international NGOs are working in the camps.