Brig. Sudantha Ranasinghe on former Tiger combatant rehabilitation

R. K. Radhakrishnan, in The Hindu, –title different. See additonal note at end

Sri Lankan Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe shares the experiences on the rehabilitation of former LTTE combatants, in Colombo, on Wednesday. More than 5000 former combatants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been re-integrated with their communities, Sri Lankan Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Sudantha Ranasinghe, said here on Wednesday.

Photo: R.K.Radhakrishnan

“No where in the world this has happened,” he said and added that this feat was achieved in just over a year and a half. The total number of ex-combatants now trying to cope with the new realities of life in a civil society is 5764. Of this 3649 are men and 2115, women.

When the Sri Lankan Army overran the North in early 2009, as many as 11,696 fighters of the LTTE were segregated from 300,000 internally displaced persons, and profiled depending on their involvement with the militant organisation. Of the combatants held, 9078 were male and 2024, female. According to Army statistics, 594 were underage (between 12 and 16). A vast majority of those detained were single (7407) while 122 were widows.

Initially, the combatants were classified into three categories, as recommended by the Sri Lankan Attorney General. The recommendation was based on national security, maintenance of law and order and public safety. The 5764 persons who are now part of the society in Jaffna and elsewhere in the north, belong to the first category: of those who were drawn into the conflict, largely without their consent. The second group of just over 4600 persons, who have been with the LTTE for “a significant period of time,” will have to wait longer before they are considered for release. The third category will have to undergo the legal process.

While 5764 have gone back to their families, more than 4600 are still in the nine facilities run by the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation and would be released sometime in the future. “I cannot give an organised programme for future releases. It would happen as and when they are ready and when they are given the security clearances,” he said.

The Bureau of Commissioner General – Rehabilitation team shared their experiences on Wednesday with donors and other stake holders here. The underage combatants were put through accelerated schooling. Eight out of 10 students who appeared for O level exams in August passed; while about 30, who have passed their A level are getting ready for entering the portals of universities. “Only 32 failed in three subjects or more,” he said.

On the youth and older persons in the facilities, he said that at least 8000 have received some kind of training. As many as 2500 who did not have birth certificates were given one. National identity cards were given to all, and marriage certificates to those who had lost or had not registered their marriage.

The International Organisation for Migration representative Clive Jackniek said that the organisation needed US $ 15 million to cater to all the former combatants. The IOM worked in close cooperation with the Commissioner General Rehabilitation but its support was only “one baby step in the right direction.”


Island 7 Feb. 11

 55 percent of Ex-LTTE cadres re-habilitated

Dinasena Rathugamage – Vavuniya

Youth Affairs Minister Dallas Aalahapperuma revealed that 55% of the LTTE cadres who surrendered have been rehabilitated and 1000 of them will be freed in April. He was the Chief Guest at the certificate awarding ceremony held in Vavuniya for those who followed a course in masonry. Another batch of 1000 surrendees will be following the same course and they will be freed at the completion of their course the minister said. Industrial Development Minister Rishard Badiudeen, Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Maj Gen Sudantha Ranasinghe and Vavuniya District Secretary P.M.S.Charles also participated.

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