BY Pranavesh Sivakumar
Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs, John Amaratunga said the issuing of dual citizenships which was suspended by the previous regime from 26 January 2011 is now made public that anyone can now…apply from yesterday (23) onwards. The new procedures have been laid down and the said amount to be paid has also has been laid down. The condition from which the citizenship retention and dual citizenship would be granted.
“The conditions are now available to all who were deprived of obtaining their dual citizenships for the last so many years. We regret about what had taken place in the past, however, this was a promise given by the President and the Prime Minister in the 100 day programme where they have specifically stated that dual citizenships would be revived no sooner the new government is formed.”
Minister Amaratunga, addressing the journalists at a press conference held at the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) premises also said that according to the said promise from today onwards there will be a possibility for anyone who wants to be a holder of dual citizenship both on the retention and obtaining dual citizenship can do so by applying for dual citizenship.
Minister however, noted that due to the suspension of issuing dual citizenship many people have been deprived of obtaining the dual citizenship. We realized from the records that, from the back door that dual citizenship certificates have been issued and dual citizenship has been granted. It appears that there had been some back door operations without the knowledge of rest of the people.
Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs responding to a question on whether action had been taken against those who issued dual citizenship after the suspension being issued said that, he realized that subsequently he had received a file with around 2,000 people who had received this dual citizenship after the suspension by the previous government.
So, I do not know whether those certificates have been issued under new consideration subject to conditions laid down or they have been issued purely on political grounds. This is yet to be investigated. Perhaps we will launch an investigation to this, but as our first priority is to commence issuing of citizenships. Thus, from yesterday (23) onwards the applications could be downloaded via www.immigration.gov.lk.
He stressed that the important thing was to revive this and there is no end to this investigation. There are a number of investigations on the previous government, we do not know where to start and where to finish. However, most importantly we wanted to restart this. This will be a serious investigation. This implementation was made after having discussions with the President and his Secretary. Subsequently, a Cabinet paper was prepared by us, signed by me and submitted to the Cabinet.