While the guns may be silent in Sri Lanka for the first time in 26 years, the price of peace could not be higher, a Labour MP said yesterday.
Introducing a Westminster Hall debate about the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Sri Lanka, Joan Ryan (Lab, Enfield North) accused the country's government of having no regard for the welfare of the 300,000 civilians being detained.
Water and food are scarce for the hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians living in the camps, Ryan told MPs.
Poor sanitation facilities mean that people are dying of treatable diseases.
The UK government must raise its voice on behalf of those whose human rights are "being ridden over roughshod".
Ryan highlighted the existence of around 10 secret camps that the Sri Lankan government refuses to acknowledge.
The conditions in these camps are impossible to monitor, she said.
"The camps are illegal and a crime against humanity."
Ryan called for Sri Lanka to be suspended from the Commonwealth and removed from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.
The Sri Lankan government does not give "a damn" about the international community, Lee Scott (Con, Ilford, North) said.
Scott argued that the IDP camps simply should not exist in the present day. If the Sri Lankan government will not stop its behaviour, the only solution is to suspend it from the Commonwealth, he said.
Unless the Sri Lankan government understands the Tamils’ aspiration for self-determination, there is no hope for progress, Barry Gardiner (Lab, Brent, North) told MPs.
Tom Brake (Lib Dem, Carshalton and Wallington) urged the Sri Lankan government to allow free media access to the IDPs.
The IDPs are not in refugee camps, they are in prison camps, Jeremy Corbyn (Lab, Islington, North) argued.
It is unacceptable that so many are "essentially prisoners of war" when the war is supposed to be over, John Barrett (Lib Dem, Edinburgh, West) insisted.
He urged the international community to use its economic leverage.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Con, Cotswold) called on the British government to assist Sri Lanka in rebuilding the country's infrastructure.
He said that any future elections must be free, fair and involve all sectors of society equally.
The British government has recently provided £500,000 to a de-mining organisation, the HALO Trust, to speed up the process of land clearing, Michael Foster responded.
The parliamentary under-secretary of state for international development said he hoped this will enable a faster return for people from the camps.
Foster acknowledged that the monsoon season could potentially "wreak huge damage to the sanitation systems" in the IDP camps.