Successful Third Awareness Raising program for Religious and Community Leaders held in Batticaloa

Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (BCGR) conducted an awareness raising programe concerning rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants into the community in Batticaloa on last Monday (13-12-2010).

Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (BCGR) has been conducting series of Rehabilitation, Reinsertion, Reintegration and Reconciliation programs for the former LTTE combatants at the rehabilitation centers in northern Sri Lanka. As part of Community Based Reintegration (CBR) program the BCGR have planned to conduct a series of high-level advocacy awareness program for the religious leaders, community leaders, United Nations organizations (UN) and community based organizations (CBO) for the acceptance of rehabilitees in to the community.

As an initiative the premier program was held in Vavuniya cultural hall on 21st October 2010 and the second programme was held at Jaffna District secretariat auditorium on 10th November 2010 with the participation of religious dignitaries of Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Catholic and Islamic faiths, Respective Government Agents, senior government officials , civil affairs officers from security forces in the Area , senior police officials and the representatives from UN and international organizations (IO) and CBOs.

The Third programme was held at Batticaloa District secretariat auditorium on 13th December 2010.Colonel MB De S Jayathilaka warmly welcome the entire participant on behalf of Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (CGR). Following S. Arumainayagam, Government Agent, Batticaloa showed his concern on community acceptance of rehabilitees and the importance of maintaining better relationship between the rehabilitees and their family members. After that Brig. Sudantha Ranasinghe, CGR enlighten the gathering on "Rehabilitation Process so Far".

Dr.T. Gadambanadan,Consultant psychiatrist, Teaching Hospital Batticaloa, expressed his views on "Mental Health Perspectives in Resettlement and Reintegration".

Dr. A.S.A. Safras addressed the gathering infirming all the health and psychosocial activities conducted for the rehabilitees so far including rehabilitation assistance on deradicalization.

Dr.Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi, senior lecturer in conflict, religion and cohesion delivered a lecture highlighting the importance of religious leaders in the process of reintegration.

Mr. Clive Jachnik the DDR program manager from IOM discussed the importance of ICRS (Information, Counseling and Referral Services) which will assist and facilitate the livelihood development of the beneficiaries.