Another 20 refugees to return from Tamil Nadu next week

refugees Tamil NaduAnother 20 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, India will return to Sri Lanka under the UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation programme next week.

The 20 refugees from 10 families are scheduled to arrive from Chennai on November 15, V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs said.

He said the Government has initiated action to encourage the voluntary refugee returnee programme and the current trend of increased refugee returnees is a sign Sri Lanka is moving towards permanent peace.

Sivagnanasothy said the refugee returnees will get back to Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Mannar and Trincomalee.

The UNHCR provides free air tickets, a reintegration allowance of US$ 75 per person, transport allowance US$ 19 per person and monitory non-food grant of US$ 75 per family.

Since 2011, a total of 5205 refugees (1895 Families) have returned to Sri Lanka. Over 64,000 are stationed in 109 welfare camps in India.

The Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs initiated a livelihood assistance programmeof maximum Rs. 100,000 per refugee returnee family to support the livelihood activities.

Further, the provision of dry ration has been already approved for 6 months. The refugees who lost their homes will be provided with houses under the housing programme of the Ministry. (Colombo Gazette)

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