Large number cannot prove identity

By Pabodha Hettige

A survey carried out in 2011, by the Ministry of National Languages and Social integration has revealed that a large number of people residing in the Nuwara Eliya, Moneragala, Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura and Matara districts lack legal documents such as NICs, birth and marriage certificates to prove their identity.

Ministry sources said that plans were afoot to issue the relevant documents to the public in the identified districts under the countrywide programme initiated by the ministry, to issue legal documents.

Last year the ministry carried out the survey in 12 districts. The remaining districts would be covered this year.

The Senior Assistant Secretary to the ministry’s social integration division, S. L. M. Hazeem said that at the recently concluded Deyata Kirula exhibition, they had issued 4,266 NICs and 902 birth certificates along with marriage and death certificates covering 14 Grama Sewa divisions in the Anuradhapura District.

Last year, under the Equal Access to Justice Project, funded by the UNDP, documents had been issued to the residents of the war affected Northern and Eastern provinces covering a number of GS divisions. The highest number of documents have been issued in the Trincomalee District ––1,291 NICs and 1,151 birth certificates.

"The ministry would issue these documents in Kilinochchi and Vavuniya district with UNDPassistance in late March," Hazeem said.

He said that the ministry was planning to initiate a programme to integrate ex-combatants into society, which was currently at the discussion level with relevant authorities. The ministry had received positive responses from the government agents in the areas concerned in this regard, he said.

"Plans are also afoot to initiate a project to empower war widows in the Northern Province and it will be finalised shortly," Hazeem said.

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