This petition touches on issues that fall within this Department's portfolio, such as heritage and culture, but is really a matter for local government, who are best placed to judge the needs of the people they serve. Ministers should not interfere with democratic local decisions. This responsibility rests with the local council.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges HM Government to press the Sri Lankan government for the implementation of a thorough going release of Tamil people in IDP camps and the commencement of talks to bring home rule to Tamil lands to the benefit of all Sri Lanka.
Over recent months, the Government of Sri Lanka have made much progress in returning the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the camps to their home areas. The latest United Nations figures of 6 May 2010 estimate that some 216,149 people have now returned to their districts of origin or are staying with host families.
The Government of Sri Lanka hopes to return another 20,000 people by the end of May. However, many humanitarian agencies still do not enjoy full access to help those who have recently returned. The UK Government will continue to press the Government of Sri Lanka to allow full humanitarian access for agencies, especially NGOs, to assist returning IDPs recover their lives and rebuild their communities.
In November 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka announced that as of 1 December 2009, the remaining IDP population in the camps would be granted full freedom of movement. The implementation of the day pass system in the camps means that approximately 20,000 people are off site at any one time. This is welcome progress but the situation for the remaining 73,000 IDPs in the camps is still not one of full freedom of movement. The UK Government will continue to press the Government of Sri Lanka to allow full freedom of movement to those who remain in the camps.
Since September 2008, the UK Government have contributed £13.5 million to the humanitarian response in Sri Lanka. All DFID funding is provided directly to impartial international agencies such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help those displaced by the conflict. None of the UK's assistance is provided directly to the Government of Sri Lanka.
It remains the UK Government's view that reconciliation between Sri Lanka's communities is the only way to achieve lasting peace in Sri Lanka. Following the recent Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, the UK Government continue to urge the new Government to use their mandate to take forward the need for national reconciliation through a fully inclusive political process that addresses the underlying causes of the conflict. We believe that for peace to be sustainable, this process needs to take into account the legitimate concerns of all Sri Lankan Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher communities.
Declares that the arrangements for black taxis at East Croydon station are inadequate such that at times taxis take a long time to leave the NLA junction, inconveniencing passengers and reducing black taxi trade.
Traffic problems caused by and affecting taxis at railway stations may have a range of underlying causes. It is for the relevant local authorities, working with Network Rail and others, to decide on and implement the right solutions for local people and local businesses. Central Government has no powers to intervene in those local decisions and would not seek to do so.