Sri Lanka will welcome more Tamil refugees who fled the country to India and want to return home after nearly three decades.
"They have been returning from time to time, in small groups. My ministry along with the defence ministry would jointly welcome them if more want to return. They could be resettled in their places of origin," Minister of Resettlement Gunaratne Weerakoon told PTI.
According to statistics more than 1,00,000 Sri Lankan refugees are in Tamil Nadu, out of which some 68,000 are housed in 112 government-run camps. In total there are 146,098 Sri Lankan registered refugees in 64 countries including India, France, Canada, Germany, UK, Switzerland, Malaysia, Australia, the United States and Italy.
More than 5,000 Lankans have returned to Sri Lanka under a UNHCR-facilitated voluntary repatriation scheme.
In July 2010, the UNHCR said, given the cessation of hostilities, Sri Lankans originating from the north of the country are no longer in need of international protection under broader refugee criteria or complementary forms of protection solely on the basis of risk of indiscriminate harm.
The UN Refugee Agency releasing its report on July 5, 2010, titled 'Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Asylum-Seekers from Sri Lanka', further said that human rights and security situation in Sri Lanka has improved.
'In light of the improved human rights and security situation in Sri Lanka, there is no longer a need for group-based protection mechanisms or for a presumption of eligibility for Sri Lankans of Tamil ethnicity originating from the north of the country', UNHCR report stated.