Sri Lanka recently announced plans to close the Vavuniya displacement camp, which housed 300,000 people displaced during the conflict with the rebel Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE). In an email interview, Robert Muggah, a research fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the author of "Relocation Failures in Sri Lanka: A Short History of Internal Displacement," discussed Sri Lanka's post-conflict relocation process.
WPR: What progress has Sri Lanka made in relocating its internally displaced persons?
Robert Muggah: "Progress" depends on whom you ask. Relief agencies claim that roughly 190,000 displaced people have been voluntarily "relocated" either back to their place of origin or to a permanent settlement since the end of hostilities in 2009. According to the U.N., 325,000 Sri Lankans are still internally displaced. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan authorities, who only categorize those officially registered in a displacement camp as displaced, put the number at just more than 30,000.