Promised land and homes, Sri Lankan refugees to return from India | Land Portal | Securing Land Rights Through Open Data
Author(s): 
Rina Chandran
Language of the news reported: 
English

Nearly 4,000 of more than 62,000 refugees living in camps in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu have registered to return

BANGKOK, Oct 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Thousands of Sri Lankan refugees living in India are ready to return to their homeland decades after fleeing civil war, according to a rights group that said returnees will receive a plot of land and other assistance.

Nearly 4,000 of more than 62,000 refugees living in camps in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu have registered to return in the coming months, said Ashok Xavier at the non-profit Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation.

Each family will receive a cash grant, livelihood assistance, a small plot of land, and a home, he said.

They will also get help acquiring documentation needed to claim these benefits and establish citizenship, he added

"For those who want to go back, it will be a safe, sustainable and voluntary return," said Xavier.

"And it won't be to another camp, but to their own home," he said in Bangkok, on the sidelines of a refugee conference.

Thousands of people were killed and tens of thousands uprooted from their homes in a war that lasted nearly three decades. Most were Tamils, an ethnic and religious Hindu minority.

Many sought refuge in neighbouring India, particularly in Tamil Nadu. The conflict ended in 2009.

Many of those who fled or were forced from their homes had their properties seized, according to rights groups.

Thousands of acres of land taken over during the war are still held by government forces, according to a report by Human Rights Watch released earlier this month.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has said that all civilian lands held by the state in the northern and eastern provinces would be released by Dec. 31.

This will encourage more refugees to return, Xavier said.

Refugees who have fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution accounted for more than 25 million of the 68.5 million people who were displaced as of the end of 2017, according to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR).

The UNHCR helped repatriate the first set of Sri Lankan refugees from India in 2011 by ferry, so they could carry more of their possessions with them.

About 12,000 refugees have since returned. Those who return in the coming months - also by ferry - will be helped by others who have already made the journey, said Xavier.

"Resettlement is a difficult and emotional process. But we hope to give other refugees the confidence to return," he said.

 

Photo credit: REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Share this page

Copyright © Source (mentioned above). All rights reserved. The Land Portal distributes materials without the copyright owner’s permission based on the “fair use” doctrine of copyright, meaning that we post news articles for non-commercial, informative purposes. If you are the owner of the article or report and would like it to be removed, please contact us at hello@landportal.info and we will remove the posting immediately.

Various news items related to land governance are posted on the Land Portal every day by the Land Portal users, from various sources, such as news organizations and other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. The copyright lies with the source of the article; the Land Portal Foundation does not have the legal right to edit or correct the article, nor does the Foundation endorse its content. To make corrections or ask for permission to republish or other authorized use of this material, please contact the copyright holder.