Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in India: Conceptual Framework of Repatriation Success


  • Miriam George Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Anita Vaillancourt Assistant Professor, Algoma University
  • S. Irudaya Rajan Center for Development Studies



India, Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, repatriation, framework


Repatriation to Sri Lanka has become a primary challenge to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Indian refugee camps, and a matter of significant public discussion in India and Sri Lanka. Anxiety about repatriation among Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and lack of initiation from the Sri Lankan government threatens the development of a coherent repatriation strategy. This article proposes a conceptual framework of repatriation success for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, which the Sri Lankan government, non-governmental agencies, and Sri Lankan Tamil refugees may use to develop a concrete strategy for repatriation. Based upon the study results of two of the authors’ repatriation studies, this article identifies and describes the four key concepts of the repatriation framework: livelihood development, language and culture awareness, social relationships, and equal citizenship within a nation.


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Author Biographies

Miriam George, Virginia Commonwealth University

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Virginia Commonweath University, Richmond, VA

Anita Vaillancourt, Assistant Professor, Algoma University

Anita Vaillancourt is an assistant professor at the University of Fraser Valley School of Social Work and Human Services. The author may be contacted at

S. Irudaya Rajan, Center for Development Studies

S. Irudaya Rajan is a professor and chair of the Union Minis-try of Overseas Indian Affairs Research Unit on International Migration at the Center for Development Studies in India. The author may be contacted at



How to Cite

George, M., Vaillancourt, A., & Rajan, S. I. (2016). Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in India: Conceptual Framework of Repatriation Success. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 32(3), 73–82.

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