//Sri Lanka: Peace Talks Positive

Sri Lanka: Peace Talks Positive

United Nations, Feb 21 (Prensa Latina) United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (ACNUR) the Portuguese Antonio Guterres

highlighted on Tuesday the positive impact of the renewal of peace negotiations Wednesday in Geneva for the Sri Lankan refugees.

The High Commissioner noted that the arrival of Sri Lankan refugees to the South of India has decreased since it was announced this month the meeting between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The conversations that will be held in Geneva are the first since April 2003.

Guterres recalled that ACNUR has worked with the government of Colombo since 1987 to find a lasting solution for more than 800 thousands displaced in that island of the Indic Ocean during 20 years of a civil war that has cost the live of 60 thousands persons.

Since the Cease Fire agreement of 2002 more than 400 thousands of displaced people have returned home but another 325 thousands still remain in that situation.

Another issue raised Tuesday by ACNUR chief was the one of refugees in Europe and the adoption of a common policy of refuge in that continent.

While Guterres praised the European Union (EU) support to ACNUR he expressed that it could not be done at the expense of Europe’s responsibility of giving asylum to those who needed."

The Portuguese former prime minister specified that Europe is and should remain as a continent of refuge.

Guterres statements took place a few months after the adoption of a controversial guideline procedure of asylum adopted by the 25 members of EU without discussion.

The document stated that any person asking for asylum could be send back to their native country without been heard in an EU country.

In this respect the ACNUR´s chief recognized every country´s right to rule their borders and define their migration policies but it clarified that "those requiring protection should not be forced to turn to traffickers and human beings´ smugglers."