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Sunday, 29 July 2012

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Talks to repatriate Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu

The government will initiate bi-lateral consultations with India shortly with regard to the issue of repatriating Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu.

The National Action Plan to implement the LLRC recommendations, has backed formulating a policy and initiated a bilateral discussion in support of the LLRC recommendation 9.108 which said, ‘Initiate a formal bi-lateral consultation process to enable displaced persons to take considered decisions with regard to their return to Sri Lanka’.

The report which was released last week having received Cabinet approval was issued to the media on Thursday.

India still holds a significant number of Sri Lankans in camps in Tamil Nadu. The UNHCR last year estimated that 70,000 people were living in camps in India.

The External Affairs, Defence, Resettlement and Lands Ministries have been entrusted with formulating a policy with regard to refugees while Defence and External Affairs Ministries will hold bi-lateral discussions.

The UN refugee agency facilitated the first batch of refugees, 37 members of 15 families, who arrived here in a commercial ferry from South India in October last year. They arrived in Colombo after an overnight voyage from the Tuticorin port.

Earlier, the UNHCR brought down nearly 1,500 displaced persons by air. Those who returned have been settled in the North and the East as well as Colombo, Kandy and Matale.

MF

 

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