A section of the officials of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), working with the Sri Lankan State, have been harassing former LTTE members to return the identity cards the organisation had earlier provided to them certifying their release. The IOM, which undertook ‘pre-release profiling’ of more than 10,000 ex-Tiger members, had received foreign aid from Japan, Norway, USA, The Netherlands and the UK for the programme named ‘Information, Counselling, and Referral Services’ (ICRS). After completing the project, the inter-governmental organisation, with its global agenda of restricting ‘illegal immigration’, has now sought to prevent the possibility of ex-Tiger members using the identity card to document their background when they seek political asylum outside the island, informed sources told TamilNet.
The ‘identity card’ by the IOM has become the most important document to prove their status as released ex-LTTE members.
Parents and family members of the released ex-LTTE cadres say they have also been struggling to get the IOM to assist them to locate their kith and kin when their released family members are arbitrarily detained or abducted by the SL military.
A former member of the LTTE, who has survived the brutal detention and psychological torture in the SL military run ‘rehabilitation’ programme, described the IOM using the Tamil proverb: ‘vealiyea payirai meaynthathu’ (the fence that ate the crop).
In the meantime, recent reports have brought out that rape and sexual abuse of Tamil women by the occupying Sinhala soldiers have become routines in Vanni.
In August, Japan’s former peace envoy Yashushi Akashi made a visit to Ki’linochchi to inspect the ICRS programme.
But, on his way back to Japan, he reportedly offered a bail out option to Rajapaksa if the latter was prepared to take the side of the ‘Co-chairs’.
In 2011, Japan had given USD 1.5 million to IOM for the project which aimed reintegrating former LTTE members with their families.
Norway funded the programme with NOK 3 million for the same project later in 2011.
The UK had given £650,000.
“IOM’s overall programme for the reintegration of former LTTE cadres has been active since early 2009 in the East and 2010 in the North,” according to IOM.
With 146 member states and offices in over 100 countries, the IOM says it is ‘promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all.’