TAMIL NADU

Offering special consular services, Sri Lanka reaches out to refugees

towards re-integration:Sri Lankan Deputy High CommissionerR.K.M.A. Rajakaruna interacting with the refugees after distributing birth and citizenship certificates in Chennai on Saturday.— Photo: S.S. Kumar

towards re-integration:Sri Lankan Deputy High CommissionerR.K.M.A. Rajakaruna interacting with the refugees after distributing birth and citizenship certificates in Chennai on Saturday.— Photo: S.S. Kumar  

The Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai on Saturday launched special consular services for Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu, distributing citizenship certificates and birth certificates to them with a view to encouraging them to return home.

Deputy High Commissioner R.K.M.A. Rajakaruna issued the citizenship certificates to 58 refugees from the Gummidipoondi camp and birth certificates to 59 children of 34 families in Keezhputhupattu camp in Villupuram district. These certificates will be sent to Sri Lanka for obtaining citizenship certificates.

According to the Deputy High Commission statistics, as many as 4,033 birth and citizenship certificates have been issued since 2009.

“We consider your re-integration into the Sri Lankan society as a dividend of peace,” said Mr. Rajakaruna after distributing the certificates. “The time has come when our people are now wishing to return to Sri Lanka with the dawn of peace. As envisaged in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana,’ the vision of the Sri Lankan government, we now welcome all our citizens back to our motherland.”

Mr. Rajakaruna said thousands had returned to Sri Lanka.

“We are holding this special consular service to facilitate the impending return of those who are present here as well as other Sri Lankan national living in 110 camps in Tamil Nadu.”

He sought the cooperation and assistance of Union and State governments to ensure the successful completion of this process.

“We are endeavouring to make the return more meaningful to you,” he said.

His optimism was not shared by the refugees present. S. Santham Pillai, a resident of the Keezhputhupattu camp, said returning to the island nation would be meaningless unless the Sri Lankan government implemented the promises it made to people after the war.

Deputy director of Rehabilitation V. Jayakumar, OfERR founder S.C. Chandrahasan and Associate Repatriation Officer of the UNHCR R. Vidjea Bharathi were among those who participated in the event.

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