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Tamil refugees to be settled in Brazil

The UN has given Tamil refugees, who were languishing in a United Arab Emirates port for over two years, a permanent home in Brazil, The National reported.

The 7 refugees were the remainder of a larger group of 45 Tamils who were rescued when the ship they were fleeing Sri Lanka in ran into trouble on the way to Australia.

“I feel like I am being reborn,” said Ramanan Gunaseelan, 37, who will board a flight to Brazil, accompanied by his wife Meera and their daughter Tharanika, 5.

The refugees expressed their fear of life in Sri Lanka but said they will always long to return to their homeland.

“We fled Sri Lanka because we were scared for our lives and our safety. Now we can finally hope for peace.

“My daughter was three years old when we came here. Now she can go to Brazil and start school.

“The UN has told us that the government there will help us to get a house, settle down, learn Portuguese and find jobs.”

“There will always be a regret that we can’t go back to Sri Lanka,” Mr Gunaseelan said.

Kandeepan Nadarajan, 31, said: “I don’t want to go back because I am afraid. But how can we live without seeing our mother? I hope things change in the future and we can go back.”

The UNHCR confirmed that the seven would be leaving on Monday night.

“The last seven remaining refugees of the Tamil group will be leaving the UAE to Brazil,” said Babar Baloch, a spokesman for the UNHCR in Geneva.

“With the departure of this group the situation of the asylum seekers, who were rescued at sea and were allowed into Jebel Ali by the Government of the UAE since October 2012, has been resolved.

“The UNHCR has successfully identified durable situations for all recognised refugees under its resettlement programme.”

Most of the other members of the group had already been resettled by the UN in the US, Sweden and Finland.

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