SC Chandrahasan, the chief functionary of the Organisation for Eelam Tamil Refugees’ Rehabilitation (OFERR), has welcomed Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s appeal to Lankan refugees to return. He said:
“This is absolutely wonderful news for all Sri Lankan Tamils who have been forced to flee their motherland since the early 1980s. We are grateful to Minister Samaraweera. Nobody wants to live away from his country of birth!
He was speaking to the Lankan media, He added:
“ 24,000 children were born to Sri Lankan Tamils living in refugee camps across Tamil Nadu. About 8,000 of them have been registered as Sri Lankan citizens by the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai. The registration process has been slow. The deputy high commission in Chennai deals with just five applications a day—-that too not on a regular basis. Some of the applicants are turned away for not being able to show proper documentation. This upsets the refugees, and women turned away are often in tears.
The Sri Lankan Government should adopt an inclusive approach to register these children soon. Otherwise, they may end up as stateless people. They live in the refugee camps with their parents. Why should Sri Lankan authorities doubt their claims? Will any Indians live as refugees in refugee camps specially set up for Sri Lankan Tamils? These unfortunate people deserve humane treatment.”