BUREAU OF THE COMMISSIONER GENERAL OF REHABILITATION
"MINISTRY OF PRISON REFORMS,REHABILITATION, RESETTLEMENT AND HINDU RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS"

Thaipongal freedom for LTTE cadres

article_image

Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe says more than half of combatants and support personnel of the LTTE detained at the conclusion of the war in May 2009 have been reunited with their families.

Brig. Ranasinghe says following rehabilitation 5,586 LTTE cadres have left rehabilitation centres since the end of the war. At the beginning rehabilitation centres held 11,696 LTTE personnel.

The brigadier emphasised that the army and the police hadn’t imposed restrictions on the LTTE cadres. Responding to a query by The Island, he said that about 100 more ex-Tigers would be released at a public gathering in Jaffna on Jan. 15 to coincide with Thaipongal.

Alan Keenan, Senior Analyst and Sri Lanka Project Director, International Crisis Group (ICG) recently criticised the rehabilitation process at the Sub Committee on Human Rights of the European Parliament. Interestingly, the Sub Committee conveniently had not invited Sri Lanka for the confab.

Keenan said: "The latest numbers we have been able to obtain – despite the lack of public registers – suggest that some 5,400 remain in detention, with 600-700 of these identified for legal prosecution. While it is positive that most seem now to have been released from arbitrary and unmonitored detention by the military, we have been receiving worrying reports that some of those who have been released to their home areas are subject to frequent and arbitrary questioning by the police and military.

e, the absence of independent monitoring of either the detention or "reintegration" of suspected LTTE cadres remains very worrying. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was ordered last month to close its remaining offices in the Northern Province, after previously being blocked from working in government detention camps for LTTE suspects. The ICRC’s expertise in tracing the thousands of missing people in the north and east is and will be sorely missed."

Brigadier Ranasinghe said that unlike thousands of Sinhala youth detained for five years by the then government for their involvement in the second JVP insurrection in the 80s, more than half of the LTTE fighting cadre had been already released. He said that only 4,761 remained in his care in centres in the Northern Province. The majority of them could be freed this year, he said, adding that those scheduled to be handed over to their families on Jan. 15 would be the first batch to be freed in 2011.

Ranasinghe said that Sri Lanka had received the support of the international community and business leaders to accelerate the rehabilitation process.

In spite of concerns expressed by a section of the officialdom, former Justice Minister Milinda Moragoda secured the assistance from the international community, business leaders and civil society organisations, including the Hindu Congress for the rehabilitation of LTTE cadres.

Brigadier Ranasinghe said that there were only nine rehabilitation centres for ex-LTTE combatants at present, though there had been 24 at the inception. The Rehabilitation Chief said that of some 361 child soldiers, who had sat the GCE (O/L) examination last year, 211 qualified to do GCE (A/L).

(Courtesy – The Island )