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.

Trinco Sanitation workers protestMr.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.

 

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