RAMESWARAM: At least two officials of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) visited the Mandapam camp near here, which houses the largest number Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, on Monday as part of an on-going process to help them return to northern Sri Lanka.
The Mandapam camp as on date houses nearly 1,600 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees belonging to 493 families, many of whom were uprooted and terrified by the violence fled to Tamil Nadu for safety and protection at the height of the ethnic riots in Sri Lanka in the early 1980s' and in the following years.
However, in recent months with increasing perception among the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees that normalcy was being restored in the Tamil-speaking regions in Sri Lanka and normal life conditions slowly returning there, more and more refugees have been expressing a desire to go back to their native places there.
The UNHCR has been volunteering free service to such refugees volunteering to return home and as part of that process two officials from UNHRC visited the Mandapam camp today and met the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who have applied for going back home.
The UNHCR officials personally interviewed those refugees willing to return at the deputy thasildar's office just outside the camp, verifying their passports and other travel papers to facilitate their return travel and also enquired about the assistance they would need to resume their normal lives back in northern Sri Lanka. “The UNHCR officials are helping us to return home and are expediting all the paper work for us at no cost,” said Saran, one of the Lankan Tamil refugees....