UNHCR urged to organize boat service to refugees in India
[TamilNet, Monday, 02 August 2004, 16:54 GMT]
Mr.Selvam Adaikalanathan, Vanni district Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
parliamentarian has appealed to the UNHCR Sri Lanka's Representative to
take steps to organize boat service between India and Talaimannar to
transport Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who are willing to return to their
villages. Currently thousands of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees are in refugee
camps in Tamilnadu in South India.
Mr.Adaikalanathan made this appeal in a letter sent to the UNHCR following
complaints that Tamil refugees from Tamilnadu frequently return to Mannar
by sea illegally, risking their lives. Indian boatmen charge 1000 to 7500
Indian rupees from a refugee to cross the 18 k.m. stretch of sea
between Thanuskody and Tamalaimannar.
Mr.Adaikalanathan has reminded the UNHCR authorities that there were
occasions in the past that the UNHCR had arranged ships to transport Sri
Lankan refugees back to Sri Lanka and the last ship was in 1995.
It is high time for the UNHCR to come to the rescue of Sri Lankan Tamil
refugees who frequently fall prey to private boatmen who thrive on
providing transport to them, Mr.Adaikalanathan said in his letter.