A Mobile Clinic was jointly organized by the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Department for Registration of Persons and the Centre for Human Rights and Research (CHR) at the Varani Maha Vidyalayam, the Ganapathypillay Vidyalayam and at the Jaffna District Secretariat office last week to assist those without ID’s and other certified documents in the Jaffna district to obtain them.

According to CaFFE, there were large crowds of people who had called at the mobile centres in order to obtain their identity cards and other documentation.

The Executive Director of CaFFE Keerthi Tennakoon said that this Mobile Clinic was initiated to assist the people to obtain their national identity cards prior to the Northern Provincial Council Elections enabling them to cast their votes. These people who are eligible to vote were concerned that they would not be able to cast their vote due to the non-availability of certified documents.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Tennakoon said that according to the 2012 Voter Register there are more than 85,000 people in the Northern Province without National Identity Cards (NICs) and of this, 45,000 are residing in the Jaffna District alone.

He added that the objective of this programme is to facilitate these people to obtain this service. According to CaFFE the main obstacle that had prevented these people from obtaining their ID’s was the non-availability of Birth Certificates. Therefore he said, as a result of this programme both Birth Certificates and National Identity Cards were issued.

He said that CaFFE had commenced the program to enable these people who were so far unable to obtain their ID’s with the assistance of the Registrars of the relevant districts.

“We held the pilot project in Kilinochchi where the biggest issue was that these people had no way of obtaining their NICs as they did not have their birth certificates. Therefore we had to first take measures to assist them obtain their birth certificates and in parallel obtain their NIC’s as well.

The first round of this project was highly successful where over 1600 persons were issued birth certificates and NIC’s within three days. We will be next moving to the area between Kilinochchi and Jaffna.

We began the clinic last Tuesday and by the fourth day over 4500 applications had been received and some had obtained their documentation. Over 2500 NIC applications have been accepted and processed already and we will also be commencing these clinics in Mullaitivu, Mannar and Vavuniya by next week,” he added. Since September 2012 more than 10,500 people were able to get their Identification Documents through this Mobile Clinic jointly organized by CaFFE and the Centre for Human Rights and Research, Tennakoon said.