UN refugee agency discriminates against stateless Eezham Tamil refugees

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 October 2016, 22:43 GMT]
Around 100,000 uprooted and poverty-stricken refugees from the country of Eezham Tamils are staying in the camps in Tamil Nadu State in India. Apart from them, more than 200,000 Eezham Tamils, who are also uprooted due to the conflict in the island, are also living outside the camps in Tamil Nadu. Only 4,564 people, belonging to 1,854 families have returned back to Northern Province. Most of the people returned to the island within the last five years the UN refugee agency UNHCR complain that they have been abandoned by the agency and the authorities. People who have returned to Vavuniyaa complain that Sinhala colonisers had seized their lands and that they are now let to look after themselves without any programmes of resettlement. The UN agency was only interested in paying the travel expenses. The returnees complain that they have not heard anything from the UNCHR after that.

“What UNHCR has done is not resettlement, it is brokering of enslavement,” commented a Tamil returnee who is fighting to get his occupied lands released from Sinhala settlers in Vavuniyaa. The returnee said the UNHRC gave only 68 USD per person to cover their initial food expenses after landing in the island.

Recently, a former freedom fighter of EPRLF who had settled in Tamil Nadu for several years with his family and later opted to return to his native place of Kaarai-nakar, an islet situated off Jaffna, committed suicide to escape poverty.

The UNHCR had brought 3,494 people belonging to 1,295 families to five districts in North within the five years. The remaining 559 families of 1,070 persons had come on their own.

The uprooted Eezham Tamils who are languishing in the camps in Tamil Nadu under trying conditions have however accustomed to the way of life in Tamil Nadu and the families find it difficult to make a choice between the known risk and the unknown hardships they have to endure in their occupied homeland. That is why a large number of them are hesitant to return, civil sources in Vanni said adding that proper resettlement could only start after ensuring a political settlement to the unresolved national question in the island.

The returned families in Vavuniyaa say they are still uprooted from their homes and they are particularly worried that they have not been able to provide for the education of their children, whose schooling was completely different in Tamil Nadu.

In the meantime, the Consulate General of India, pre-occupied with staging cultural events, shows and laying wreath at IPKF memorial statue with the occupying SL military, has done nothing to ensure the rights of the people who have returned to their occupied homeland after living in Tamil Nadu for decades, the ‘resettled’ refugees said.


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