Help displaced obtain documents, government told

[TamilNet, Sunday, 08 September 2002, 20:20 GMT]
The government should take immediate steps to address the needs of the displaced people of the northeast, a conference was told Saturday. Displaced people in the Northeast face several problems in obtaining government assistance as they do not possess vital documents, said Mr. Mr. C.V.Vigneswaran, Supreme Court Judge, speaking at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Legal Aid Foundation. The authorities should take immediate steps to attend these shortcomings and make life of the displaced similar to that of others who enjoy the benefits provided by the State, he added.

Due to mass displacement in the northeast, caused by military operations launched by the Sri Lankan military, several thousand people had fled from their villages leaving behind all their documents, including birth certificates and national identity cards, sources said.

People living in the LTTE held areas in northeast find it very difficult to obtain birth certificates for the newly born children, obtain marriage certificates and death certificates for those killed in the conflict, they added. These documents are needed for them to obtain State assistance for their losses of lives and properties.

Justice Mr.Vigneswaran further said that steps should be taken to provide necessary legal aid to the displaced to obtain their birth certificates, national identity cards and other documents vital to obtaining their benefits from the State.

The Chairman of the Legal Aid Commission. Mr. S.S.Wijeratne said, "compared to other countries such as Philippines, the level of aid given to people in Sri Lanka is very low. Action should be immediately taken to rectify this shortcoming."

Several other legal luminaries also spoke. The chief guest was Chief Justice Mr.Sarath N.Silva.

The objective of the Legal Aid Commission is to provide free legal aid to destitute women and children, internally displaced and returnees for resettlement, for victims of crimes, elders and for migrant women workers.

 

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