New Eastern Provincial Office of the Department of Registration of Persons opens

12 Sep 2013

image Ceremonial opening of the Eastern Provincial Office of the Department for Registration of Persons by Mrs. Malkanthi Wickramasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration and Mr. J. A. Ranjith, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence.

Marking a key milestone, the Eastern Provincial Office of the Department of Registration of Persons was ceremoniously opened on September 10, 2013 by Mrs. Malkanthi Wickramasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration and Mr. J. A. Ranjith, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence, in the presence of Mr. R. M. S. Sarath Kumara, Commissioner General of the Department for Registration of Persons.

The new office has been established with financial support from the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (HSTF) through UNDP’s Equal Access to Justice Project. This is the second regional office of the Department of Registration of Persons, with the Northern office having been established in Vavuniya in April 2013, also with the support of UNDP.

Located at the Manmunai North Divisional Secretariat, the new office aims to expedite the issuing of Identity Cards (IDs) to people in the Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara Districts, thereby providing greater convenience and access to justice. With many in the Eastern Province facing difficulties due to the lack of key documentation, especially Identity Cards, the newly established office will be immensely beneficial to the people in the province, explained, Mrs. P. S. M. Charles, District Secretary of Batticaloa.

Speaking on the occasion, Mrs. Wickramasinghe stated that the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration has worked closely with the Department of Registration of Persons and UNDP since 2005 to provide critical legal documentation support firstly to the people affected by the Tsunami and then by the conflict. She added, “This new office will be convenient, people will no longer have to bear extra costs having to travel to Colombo and will be able to obtain their ID cards without having to spend too much time.” The Identity Card is a vital document, especially as it ensures inclusivity of all people into society and enables them to access any type of social or economic service.  

Expressing his thoughts, Mr. Ranjith noted that further measures will continue to be introduced to enhance the efficiency of the service offered by the Regional Office. “What is important is to ensure that more people benefit from these services and the establishment of a Provincial Office will certainly help in achieving this objective.”

In her statement, Ms. Razina Bilgrami, Country Director, UNDP highlighted that “UNDP stands ready to support the Department to promote its services in the surrounding areas and provide any technical support for the training of new officers.” She further added that, “UNDP is proud to be associated with the establishment of this Regional Office, the support for which was made possible thanks to a financial contribution by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security.”

Mr. Sarath Kumara elaborated the aims and functions of the newly established Eastern Provincial Office, highlighting that the new office aims to take the services closer to the people. He also called upon its Officers to provide the ID service in a more efficient and effective manner for the benefit of the citizens of the country.