Sri Lankan IDPs are not displaced as much as detained. They’re being held until LTTE cadres are ‘weeded out’ or screened or whatever, which has a logic, but there’s no particular legal basis for it. That’s why I’m interested in the Fundamental Rights case filed by the family of an IDP. Under the Constitution freedom of movement is a fundamental right. It can be restricted under Emergency Law (PTA) basically at Ministerial discretion, given a detention order. It can also be restricted under the 6th amendment for supporting secession from Sri Lanka. I suspect these are the reasons for the detention of basically everyone moving with the LTTE (willingly or not). The detention, however, is not really done in a legal way. The Supreme Court should actually strike it down.
Note that I’m not saying the detention doesn’t make sense. I don’t agree with it, but I don’t think it’s irrational. There are LTTE cadres and supporters in the camps. There are significant weapons and ammo dumps in the Wanni. The roads to Mullativu, Kili, etc should stay closed until the places are demined to acceptable civilian standards (note that this is different from military standards). However, it is important that the law applies to all Sri Lankans. It is possible to detain 280,000 people, but that would legally involve issuing detention orders to all of them, including five year old kids and babies.
However, this hasn’t been done. The detention is an executive/military decision without much legal backing. I think the Supreme Court should rule for the person filing the case and let that IDP family out. I think that this precedent should apply to all the IDPs and they should be given a choice to leave. I also don’t think that this is likely, and I think the executive branch still has enough war support to safely ignore any such ruling. But I still think that’s the right thing to do, under law.
Note that I’m not even saying it’s the best decision in terms of national security or integrity or anything. I don’t know. I just think it’s the legal one. The court doesn’t always give you the decision you want, I mean, I thought OJ did it. However, rule of law generally makes everyone’s lives safer and a bit less insane.