Tamil Nadu Government Forms Committee for welfare of Sri Lankan Refugees; ADRA India to be Core Member

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, November 8, 2021: In a major step forward, ADRA India was confirmed by the government of Tamil Nadu on October 25, 2021 as one of the core members of the Advisory Committee to be formed for the welfare of Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu. Honorable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Mr. M.K. Stalin on August 27th 2021 had announced a slew of schemes to ensure safe and dignified lives of Sri Lankan refugees on increasing allocation of budget for clothes and vessels, scholarship for students, revolving funds for Self Help Groups, cooking gas connections to each families, waiver of cost for subsidized rice, construction of new houses and other schemes including infrastructure of refugee camps.

In this context, the Chief Minister announced formation of a committee to identify durable solutions for the Sri Lankan Refugees living in rehabilitation camps and outside the camps in Tamil Nadu. The advisory committee will primarily explore solutions to address the challenges being encountered by the refugees both in camps and outside and to propose action plans the government. The committee will also monitor the implementation of the schemes/actions approved by the state government on the advice provided by the committee.

“We are very pleased that the government has recognized our work with the refugees in Tamil Nadu and has made us a part of the Advisory Committee. ADRA India has been striving to make the lives of the Sri Lankan refugees better for 15 years now. We will continue to do so with enhanced enthusiasm along with the government,” said Weston Davis, Country Director at ADRA India.

Through Local Economic and Social Strengthening (LESS) Project, ADRA in India and Sri Lanka work to provide education and livelihood opportunities, access to credible documentation and guidance & support on voluntary repatriation to Sri Lankan refugees (camp and non-camp) in Tamil Nadu. The LESS project is supporting 40,518 refugees in 35 camps across Tamil Nadu State. ADRA India is also supporting 4,195 refugees during this COVID-19 pandemic in Thiruvallur, Trichy and Chennai Districts of Tamil Nadu to create awareness on personal hygiene, providing dry rations to vulnerable households, providing hygiene kit support and cooked food to migrant workers.

There are 58668 refugees (18937 families) living in camps run by government and 34123 refugees (13553 families) living outside the camps. These refugees are living in India without any legal status or identification, which is seen as a barrier for realizing durable solutions for them.

The committee was formed on October 25 and consists of the Minister of Minorities Welfare and non-resident Tamils Welfare, a Member of Parliament, a Member of State Legislative Assembly, Secretary to Public Department, Director of Rehabilitation, Other Senior Officials of Government, representatives from non- government organizations.