Former LTTE cadres well looked after – IOM Chief

International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Chief of Mission in Sri Lanka, Richard Danziger, on Thursday (16-12-2010) said that former LTTE combatants held at rehabilitation centres were looked after well and there had been no complaints.

Addressing the media at the IOM Colombo office, on the eve of the International Migrants Day, on Saturday, Danziger said that the IOM had provided ex-combatants job opportunities and training in different vocations to integrate with society.

When queried whether he could say how many people were being rehabilitated, he said, "We are not here to monitor human rights and are purely helping ex-combatants to return to society and re-integrate with their families as some of them are breadwinners."

Responding to another query, the IOM head said there seemed to be no cases of ill-treatment and the programme was being conducted at a satisfactory level.

The IOM had commenced the programme to help those rehabilitated even before the war came to an end in the North, he said.

Asked about the funding, Danziger said that the USA and Netherlands had been helping the IOM but it needed more funding.

He said that it as important to ensure that the migrants enjoyed their rights. "The Sri Lankan migrants overseas have contributed a lot to the countrys economy," he pointed out.

When questioned about the Sri Lankans who had tried to enter other countries illegally and been deported, he said, "You cannot stop migration but Sri Lanka has upgraded border management and we are working closely with the government."

The IOM World Migration Report says that international migrants could top 405 million by 2050 if migration continues to grow at the same pace as during the last 20 years.

It attributed the steep rise to the population decline in the worlds industrialised countries, which is expected to drop by 25 per cent by 2050. This will significantly increase the demand for migrant workers at a time when the labour force in developing countries will increase from 2.4 billion to 3.6 billion in 2040.

Migration is here to stay and governments have to choose between adopting a "high road" or a "low road" scenario to manage migration, it said.

(Courtesy – The Island)