The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has facilitated the return of 152 Sri Lankans who were among the 302 individuals rescued on seas near Vietnam recently, when a boat capsized off the coast of Vietnam on November 08, 2022.
Accordingly, they have been brought back to Sri Lanka through a chartered flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam yesterday (Dec.27).
It is reported that their statements are to be recorded by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and they will be sent to their homes.
Chief of Mission to IOM Sri Lanka and Maldives, Sarat Dash stated that addressing the issue of irregular migration requires a multi-agency effort and IOM records its appreciation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for facilitating the return process and considers this to be a good example of teamwork involving the Governments of Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Missions in the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, together with the regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCC) based in Singapore, has coordinated rescue efforts for the migrants.
For over a month, IOM in coordination with the Government of Vietnam and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Vietnam has ensured the provision of basic necessities, including food, medical aid, hygiene kits and counselling support for all the migrants, the IOM said.
A team of officials attached to the Protection Unit of IOM Sri Lanka had travelled to Vietnam to undertake the protection of all rescued migrants in collaboration with IOM Vietnam.
IOM’s assistance in addressing the immediate needs of the stranded migrants, repatriation through a special charter flight, onward transportation to their homes and comprehensive reintegration assistance in Sri Lanka totals over USD 600,000, the IOM pointed out.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry has thanked IOM for its generous support in the process of repatriation and reintegration of Sri Lankan migrants who are attempting to cross borders in irregular ways.