Lankan citizenship to IDP children born in India during war

Colombo: The Sri Lankan Government has decided to issue citizenship certificates to over 400 children of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) born during their displacement in India at the time of the country's civil war which ended four months ago.

Two programmes will be held in Vavuniya and Mannar next week to provide citizenship to over 400 IDP children who were born in India and do not possess Sri Lankan citizenship, the state-owned Daily News reported.

The citizenship certificate is a prerequisite for obtaining a National Identity Card (NIC), which plays a pivotal role in exercising person's rights, including the freedom of movement.

Without this, most IDP children who have returned from India face difficulties in sitting for examinations like the GCE -- Ordinary Level and Advanced Level -- for which the NIC is considered the exclusive proof of identity.

The mobile documentation programme is being organised by the UN Development Programme's Equal Access to Justice Project (EA2J) coordinated by the Sri Lankan Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Ministry.

It will be conducted with an assistance of the Citizenship branch of the Immigration and Emigration Department, Daily News reported.

The authorities, during the programme, will accept applications for citizenship from Indian-returnee children, on the production of documents including their Indian and Sri Lankan birth certificates.

The refugee card provided by the Indian government, travel documents, and the birth and marriage certificates of parents will also be accepted for the purpose.

Upon the applications being processed, citizenship certificates will be issued to eligible applicants within two months, the newspaper said.

Bureau Report