The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Sri Lanka has commended the government on its efforts made in reintegrating returning internally displaced persons since the end of civil conflict in 2009.
In a statement to mark the World Refugee Day the UNHCR has commended Sri Lankan government on the ‘great strides taken to reintegrate some 573,651 returning internally displaced persons since the end of civil conflict in 2009’.
It had also noted the role played by Sri Lanka on being a host country to populations that flee violence in the South Asian region.
“Since the end of the conflict in 2009 UNHCR has helped over 11,400 Sri Lankan refugees who have returned voluntarily to restart their lives,” the statement read.
However, although figures in Sri Lanka remain low in comparison to other host countries in the region, Sri Lanka currently hosts 291 refugees and 1547 asylum seekers, whom are all registered with UNHCR.
The UNHCR has appreciated the generosity of the government in accommodating asylum seekers and refugees until durable solutions are found for them.
The statement also highlighted the manner in which Sri Lanka has dealt with the issue of statelessness by passing legislations that have enabled individuals of Indian Tamil origin who were previously disenfranchised to access citizenship.
“Similar measures have been made accessible to a population of ethnic Chinese and Sri Lanka is often cited as the best practice in the region in resolving issues of statelessness.”
This year to commemorate World Refugee Day, the UNHCR’s global focus is on the devastative impacts of war on families.
“World Refugee Day is a time for us to reflect on the lives of the refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people worldwide who go through immense suffering due to violence and persecution,” says UNHCR’s Representative in Sri Lanka M. Golam Abbas has stated.
Thus the World Refugee Day, 2014 also presents an opportunity for the government to reiterate its greater effort to protect refugees and asylum seekers.(Lakna Paranamanna)