Sri Lanka: Refugees from Jaffna resist returning north

world | Jan 19, 2011 | By Asia News

Puttalam - The Sri Lankan government appears ready to return the thousands of families displaced from Jaffna to Puttalam in 1990, following the war. But the authorities are denying the registration of new families, those formed by the children of first refugees who arrived in the district. The groundless refusal worries representatives of the Internally Displaced People (IDPs). Rk Suvarkhan, responsible for Idp Muslims in two refugee camps, told AsiaNews: "If these families are resettled in a proper and dignified manner, they will agree to return to their hometowns. Otherwise, they have no intention of moving again. "

Other Muslims Idps added: "The government should not consider us refugees from the war that ended two years ago. We have been leading a quiet life in Puttalam for 20 years, we have jobs, our children go to school, many have married and in turn are building their future here. " They conclude: "We can not fall again from the frying pan into the fire ... We too would like to restart our lives in our places of origin, but we can not go back to a life of misery."

Suvarkhan continues: "In 1990 there were 4 thousand families displaced from Jaffna, Chavakkachcheri, Wattakkachch and Killinochchi. Now, the number of families has risen to 7 thousand. "

The leader explains that there is a serious problem of numbers: in 1990 there were 1,750 houses in Jaffna for 2 thousand registered families. However, over time, about 300 families have sold their homes and their lands, now owned by Tamils. The land available would then be just enough for 1500 families.

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