Eight Sri Lankan refugee families, presently living in various camps across the State in Tamil Nadu are set to return to their homeland this week, in the voluntary repatriation programme assisted by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the German Consulate in Chennai, The Hindu newspaper reported.
The families from different camps would gather at Madurai and then leave for Colombo by air on March 15, sources said. Since January this year, over 100 Lankan refugees have returned home under the UNHCR voluntary repatriation programme.
According to the Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chennai, the Consulate would be assisting about 420 Lankan refugees living in India with a budget of over Indian Rs. 37 lakh (50,000 euros).
It may be recalled that it was only recently the Sri Lankan government increased the baggage allowance for the return of these refugees from 40 kg to 60 kg per person.
Between 2002 and 2014, the UNHCR had assisted the repatriation of over 12,300 refugees. About 450 refugees returned home during 2015 alone. There are over a lakh Sri Lankan refugees living in camps across the State. (Colombo Gazette)