Seventy-six Sri Lankan Tamil refugees from Tamil Nadu, India will return next week under the UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation program.
They are two voluntary repatriation movements on Thursday, 29 September consisting 41 people scheduled to arrive through SriLankan Airlines from Trichy and 35 others scheduled to arrive later the same day.
Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister had a discussion with the UNHCR and facilitated the process and increased the baggage allowance per person with assistance of the Public Enterprise Development Ministry and SriLankan Airlines.
These refugee returnees will get back to Vavuniya, Mannar, Matale, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee and Jaffna.
Further, the UNHCR provides free air tickets, reintegration allowance of $75 per person, transport allowance $19 per person and monitory non-food grant of $75 per family. Since 2011, already 5,035 refugees or 1,833 families have returned to Sri Lanka, said Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy.
Over 64,000 are stationed in 109 welfare camps in India. Totally, over 100,000 refugees are currently in India. Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M. Swaminathan, initiated a Cabinet paper on which livelihood assistance of maximum Rs. 100,000 to refugee returnees is provided to support the livelihood activities.
Further, the provision of dry ration has been already approved for six months. The REPPIA has been instructed by the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs to provide compensation for those who have lost their houses and suffered loss of lives of kith and kin and for injuries.
Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnansothy informed that the refugees who have lost their houses will be provided with houses under the housing program of the Ministry. The Government of Sri Lanka has initiated action to encourage the voluntary refugee returnee program on a phased-out basis and the current trend of increased refugee returnees is a sign of reconciliation and moving towards permanent peace, the Ministry Secretary said.