Consular Birth certificates for Lankan refugee children born in Tamil Nadu are being issued this month, the Hindu reported.
The consular birth certificates which are issued by the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission were issued to 158 children on Tuesday. A day earlier, 184 children, from two camps in Madurai and one in Tirunelveli, were provided with birth certificates — a mandatory document for anyone who is born outside his or her country of origin.
Refugees receiving consular birth certificates at the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission on Tuesday. PIc courtesy the Hindu/R.Ragu
“We are planning to issue the certificates to 1,500 children this week, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of our country [falling on February 4],” V. Krishnamoorthy, Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka told the Hindu.
In the next three days, refugees from various districts including Vellore, Karur, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Cuddalore, Erode and Tirupur will come to Chennai to get the certificates for their children for free. Mr. Krishnamoorthy says applications for citizenship would also be processed.
When asked about the number of children living in the camps without consular birth certificates, Mr. Krishnamoorthy says it could be around 10,000 to 11,000. In the last two years, nearly 5,000 children (3,520 children in 2017 and 1,469 in 2016) were covered. “Our plan is to bring it down to zero,” he says.
In addition, he told the publication “Let me make it clear that if anyone wants to go back to Sri Lanka on his or her own volition, he or she is free to do so. We are not promoting forced repatriation.¨