Land Grabs In North And East Contradict LLRC Recommendations

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,MORE OPINION,Opinion |
 

By Peoples Alliance for Right to Land -

The Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) observed in its final report that the “displacement of persons as well as loss of land and homes were major conflict related outcomes, and affected all communities throughout the period.”

land occupy_army board_CI
The LLRC concluded that “measures and policies ensuring legitimate land rights, especially among the returning IDPs, would contribute significantly to restoring normalcy and promoting reconciliation”.

However, first-hand information gathered through site-visits and interviews with affected communities by the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) indicates that the Government of Sri Lanka is not honouring even its own National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommendations of the LLRC (July 2012).

Valikamam North (Jaffna)

Owing to the High Security Zone established by the military in Valikamam North division (especially around Tellippalai) of the Jaffna peninsula in 1990, some 9,905 Tamil families consisting of 33,353 individuals continue to be displaced according to the government’s own statistics. The HSZ encompasses 24 grama niladhari divisions, out of which 16 are completely out-of-bounds to their former residents. The HSZ also includes 18 kilometres of coastline between Naguleswaram and Myliddy. These Tamil families, who were traditionally dependent on farming and fishing for their livelihood, face severe hardship. The Myliddy fisheries harbour is occupied by the navy and not accessible to civilians. The Catholic churches in Kankesanthurai, Myliddy and Urani are inaccessible for worship and pastoral care.

Sampur (Trincomalee)

Sampur was initially declared as a High Security Zone, and later re-gazetted as a Special Economic Zone for the construction of a coal-power plant and industries owned by Indians. More than 500 houses were destroyed and their Muslim and Tamil owners are prevented from access to their former agricultural lands and fishing areas. The areas proposed for their resettlement are of poor quality for farming and other livelihood activities. Iralkulam is marshy land, which floods and remains inundated for prolonged periods during the rainy season. There is not even 100 acres that is suitable for paddy cultivation. Access to water remains a significant issue in Iththikulam. There are 1262 families (or 4036 individuals) still in four IDP camps: namely Kilivetti, Pattiththidal, Manatchenai and Kattaiparichchan. More than 2,500 acres of productive paddy land are lost to cultivation and more than 2,000 families have lost their livelihoods.

Thiru Murugandi (Killinochchi)

Three hundred and eighty-two of the original 463 Tamil families in Thiru Murugandi grama niladhari division have still not been resettled, since their most recent displacement in 2008. Five hundred acres of land is occupied by an army camp. These lands belong to 120 households among the displaced.

Mullikulam (Mannar)

Three hundred and seven Tamil families from the Mullikulam grama niladhari division within Musali Divisional Secretariat have been displaced due to the establishment of a naval base in that area. Owing to this informal High Security Zone, nearly 1000 acres of land and 5 irrigation tanks are now inaccessible to farmers. Families of Sinhala naval personnel have been settled in that land. Two hundred and six households have temporarily settled in the forested area of Marichchikattu; while 54 families are living in Kayakuli village. These households lack decent shelter, sanitation, potable water and livelihoods in both areas. The people of Mullikulam have been displaced at least four times since 1990.

In view of the above, the Peoples’ Alliance for Right to Land (PARL) Sri Lanka recommends:

  • Immediate shelter, livelihood and infrastructure assistance to ‘old’ and ‘new’ IDPs in the Northern and Eastern provinces, especially women-headed households;
  • The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and international standards on long-term housing and property restitution be adhered to by local, provincial and central government authorities;
  • All the final recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission should be implemented, including on demilitarisation, impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, and the devolution of power to the provinces.

*This article appeared on  Law & Society Trust – ESCR Newsletter Issue 5

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23 Responses to Land Grabs In North And East Contradict LLRC Recommendations

  1. 0
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    What we see here is a well-planned sinhala chauvinistic occupation politics to change the percentage of population in north and east, which is the traditional homeland of Tamils, comparable with Israel and all other similar corrupted states in this world. This kind of occupation politics is against ethnical harmony It is not comparable with Tamils who lives in Colombo. Tamils in Colombo do not live in a occupied territory and not escorted and supported by armed forces The seeds were sawn under D.S. Senanayake and continued by all other PMs in SL. I know all these explanations do not help these people, we need actions to stop it and get their land back

    Vasu
    May 1, 2013 at 2:29 am
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      The Rajapassa regime is into colonization and MILITARY BUSINESS. All the valuable coast lands in the east have already been taken over for military built hotels, golf club built at Trinco also on land of the Sea Anglers Club. Basil Rajapassa MR 10 percent has built a massive hotel on the best land in Passikudha after displacing the traditional inhabitants – the Tamil speaking Veddas or Adivasi communities documented by anthropologists like Seligman and Nur Yalman. In the east the colonization and military business model did not have much resistance from Pillayan and Karuna stooges. But in Jaffna the resistance is building and this is why Rajapassa does not want to have PC elections there.

      Kapila
      May 1, 2013 at 9:19 am
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      Vasu LLRC is not the law. Besides 100s of thousands of acres of land are regularly acquired by the government, all around the country with adequate compensation maid to the owners, for the necessary development work from which benefits are flown to all. Army is an essential part of a democratic government and the development work of the government as the national security and internal stability is the key for every mien. The country is opened for anybody to live anywhere since the concept of Traditional Tamil Homeland that existed anywhere in the country was sunken in the Nandikadal lagoon on 19 May, 2009. The unitary Sri Lanka is everybody’s homeland now, again. Over 50% of the Tamils happily live outside the N&E since they are not treated as occupied groups by the rest of people live there. Occupation and conversion of the native land and native respectively was started not by DSS but Portuguese, Dutch and English invaders who brought poor Tamils from TN for slavery in their plantations and later used them to take away the historical rights of the Sinhala Buddhists who lived for over 3000 long years in this country. The truth is that the DSS took corrective measures with development work settling all the ethnicities in equal proportions in his Galoya like project areas without being biased towards any ethnic group, against what the western invaders, who made false history did. Your new agenda of Elam without VP would also bring nothing but an another disaster in this country which now belongs to all.

      WK Costa
      May 1, 2013 at 9:27 am
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    We need response from Dr Dayan Jeyatilake and those groups organised Unity Rallies. You need to visit North and speak to those people who were denied Resettlement in their own lands and tell the truth openly to Sinhala masses. Can they do it? Having a rally in publicity will never have in impact on unity. You must have the gut to tell the truth!

    Ajith
    May 1, 2013 at 2:49 am
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      Come on Ajith you must be mad, this dayan paid by rajapakse thugs. He just acting like peace lover. Do you really believe dayan war monger gonig to say anything against rajapakse thugs. noooooooooooo white van will take shit out of him he knows that. HE just waiting another chance to jump…he should be in rio olymbics.

      J.Muthu
      May 1, 2013 at 3:35 am
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  3. 0
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    Were the LLRC recommendations meant to be taken seriously? Bensen

    Bensen Burner
    May 1, 2013 at 2:57 am
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    we should understand that it should be for future high security.government should provides lands from other area for these people.so this is the solution.take it easy

    Darshana
    May 1, 2013 at 6:08 am
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    When there is so much state land available, what is the reason for appropriating private lands? Are such vast acerages required for the military? If the military is primarily required for security then why engage in commercial and agricultural activities on privately owned lands? These policies being followed by the govt are creating suffering and mistrust amongst the local population. This is what is known as ‘Winning the war and losing the Peace’. The new war must be to win the hearts and minds of the Tamil people not to grab their lands and properties.

    Safa
    May 1, 2013 at 6:23 am
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    GOSL have the absolute right to reserve land anywhere in the country for their purpose. Damn the LLRC recomendations, are we going to molly cuddle 5% of popul;ation who are tamils of which 60% live outside the North?? If people are displaced, provide them with suitable allocations elsewhere. Thats it. GOSL need to first protect the unitary state. If the Tamils make meaningful advances to alleviate suspicion & untill diaspora ends their rhetorics, GOSL will act in a manner to safe guard the country.

    J muththa
    May 1, 2013 at 11:00 am
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      Then by the same taken UN has absolute right to posses the entire srilanka and do what it wants? Any argument?

      manisekaran
      May 2, 2013 at 6:30 pm
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    for the reader’s information .not only these lands but numerous other areas in several 100 or 1000 acres of forcible land encroachments are going on north and east. here are some of the examples -kepapulavu mullaitheevu -400 acres of fertile land taken by army. the owners are living in refugee camp. -several places in batticaloa – 115 acres to be taken by army and navy (most are private lands owned by Tamil citizens) -veerapuram vauniya – 400 acres of displaced Tamil people’s land going to be given to Sinhalese settlers even after showing legal land documents. -culaavadi ,aanaikoddai – 1.25 acre of private land acquisition by army -manal aaru (weli oya)-3000 acres of fertile land with legal document have been issued to newly settled Sinhalese families by the president of srilanka within two week time.those Tamil families are banded from entering that area by srilankan army (?? whether they are only security forces for sinhalese people only) -Thondamanaru jaffna -several acres of lands and houses taken by sl army -vaharai batticaloa – several acres of land owned by state kadju co operation (>1500 acres) occupied by security forces -the actual area in valikamam is 6340 acres(more than 25 sq kilometers) these are the most fertile red soil areas in jaffna.at present army cultivate that area . so the question is whether these areas are simply taken away from tamil people in the name of security, for settling sinhalese people and change the demography of north.(that is what people like in JHU, is propagating since 2009. in addition to GOSL, minister Rishd badureen, taking Tamil people’s helpless state in advantage try try to settle Muslims of other district in vanni and mannar by grabbing vast areas of state lands(mulliavalai,sannar,) whether the GOSL in thinking that by doing this they can win the Tamil people’s mind.? nowadays lot of Tamils have started to think that this kind of atrocities were not happened when there was an armed Tamil activities. Dear fellow Srilankans , please,please vocalize against this injustice.I am very depressed to say that most of the sinhala and english medium news medias are not mentioning atleast a single word of the tamil people’s troubles.most of the medias act in a manner to separate rather than unite people’s minds -YOUR BROTHER IN NEED-

    sagar
    May 1, 2013 at 12:11 pm
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    dear wk costa,here are some facts what i want to reiterate. -LLRC may not be a law,but it is one near truth document.dictators can make laws to comfort their wrong activities ,but that dosen’t mean it is justice. -regarding compensation .HA HA.can you point out any compensation at a single instance to any of the tamil civilian at any time.NEVER.not for their grabbed land,or at least for the lives lost.for example the Sampur displaced were threatened by military to go to a low land in mutur where always flooding used to occur (even that also 10 perches of land instead of acres of paddy land and housing areas taken over from them.to induce them to settle there GOSL have stopped the dry ration also.now, these poor voiceless creatures are living without jobs, and houses in a dire pathetic condition in kankuvely refugee camp.During election time they will be forced to vote to government side if they wish to go to their home.(I am sorry i have forgotten a tamil who have been compensated -minister luxman kadirkamar) -ok I accept that this country is opened to all.and tamils are living in other part of SRILANKA .BUT who settled them in colombo and anywhere.and provided then vast lands,housing assistance, job initiatives and protection. is it by the state as in the case of sinhalese settlers d the in north and east.NEVER.they spend their hard earned money to buy lands and settle .BUT most of them are living in rented houses only. ANOTHER question is when thousands of regeional families are living landless homeless ,why the State is settling sinhalese families from south in these part of the country.Why there are no state land available in south.Not only that after forcibly evacuating the tamils who even have the legal documents giving those lands to sinhalese settlers.(that what happened 2 weeks back in manal aru(weli oya) -DEAR SIR, don’t try to hide aFULL GROWN pumkin in a plate of rice. Srilankan tamils have a history which is simultaneous of that of sinhalese.for evidence their are so many stone inscriptions.even most of the buddhist temple in east are of that of tamil buddhist(ex vilham vihara trinco,thiriyai kalkandu vihara trinco. ) when portugeese came to this land it was ruled by 3 monarchies.one of that was by arya chakrawarthi of nallur.he lost his kingdom somewhere in 1521.the portugees have documented these all .please go and refer -Can you please indicate a single instance where tamils or even muslims were provided atleast minimum perches of land in south or in hill country.THOSE lands are only to majority community.poor hill country tamils eventhough they have citizenship now , still living in 10×10 ft spaces (even that is not owned by them) liked that for past centuries.are you consider them as humans atleast. finally one thing I want to tell you. LIES WILL NOT LAST . CANNOT ACHIEVE PEACE BY LIES AND INFERIOR ACTS LIKE THESE.

    sagar
    May 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm
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      Sagar Sorry if I hurt you in reminding the history. Though there is no point in talking about the history over and over again I had to confront the false concept of Tamil homeland in N&E because it costed many lives and damaged the ethnic reconciliation in near history. I regret to say that all your post is still based on the same concept which is the most hated by the high majority while only a perticular group of Tamils keep maintaining it with the hepl of the west as it is a critical requirement of their agenda of separating from the majority someday. I’m sorry to say that no Sinhalese or Muslim accept the history written by you and do fully prepared to confront it at any cost. If the country is for all what is the problem of settling landless non tamils in the North and East where the population dencity is very low while a vast area of abondened land is available for cultivation. You can not justify your complain of discrimination in land distribution in N&E where high majority of the CG and LG administaration is under Tamil officers and Tamil politicians. Now there is no problem for the hill country Tamils either and you can not say that the Tamils get nothing from the country in which Health, Education and many other utilities are provided either fully free or at highly concessed price. The GOSL has invested the majority of its reserves in North only in the last 3 years and you can see the progress if you visit there.

      WK Costa
      May 2, 2013 at 11:43 am
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    Tigers taking temporarory residence on Crown land does not mean that these belong to them. Diasporians come down in dozens to sell their prime properties in Jaffna which they haven’t seen for three decades. They are reinvesting the gains in expensive Colombo Post Codes. And Sambandan supporters are crying foul alleging that the Govt is taking their Land.

    K.A Sumanasekera
    May 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm
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      K.A Sumanasekera “Tigers taking temporarory residence on Crown land does not mean that these belong to them.” You mean the land belongs to Queen of Great Britain. Man you are out of your mind. Don’t you ever forget that it belongs to my people. It was out of goodness of their heart my ancestors allowed your asylum seeking benefit scroungers to live here and provided land to keep your ancestor’s dignity intact. Now you seem ready to gift the land to a Suddha Queen whilst the ladn is not even yours. “And Sambandan supporters are crying foul alleging that the Govt is taking their Land.” Have you heard him right? Didn’t they say Government was taking Veddah’s Land?

      Native Vedda
      May 1, 2013 at 6:50 pm
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        Dear Native, Sorry, I meant “Kuveni Land”.

        K.A Sumanasekera
        May 2, 2013 at 2:04 am
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          K.A Sumanasekera “Sorry, I meant “Kuveni Land”.” Its bit better.

          Native Vedda
          May 2, 2013 at 4:37 am
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    To place the land issue within the Jaffna peninsula within context, I provide the following statistics: Cultivated areas at present: 20,609 acres, which includes some of the rich ( red soil) agricultural lands in the Valikamam sector of the HSZ. The soil in the agricultural land in the the Tellipalai – Vasavilan sector is the best in the island and have been painstakingly cultivated and intelligently improved through the centuries. It is a crime for these lands to remain a part of the HSZ, in the context of their productive value. Human dwellings can be relocated if need be, but sacrificing top class agricultural land for army camps is stupid and a crime against all the people in this country. The armed forces cannot be the long term custodians of a national treasure, these lands are. The army cannot be the substitute for the people who have toiled and tilled these lands for centuries. Paranoid security considerations have to give way to rational thinking at this point in time. There are no long range artillery available with anyone, to be fired into the Palaly military complex now! Non-arable land : 19,300 acres. If the ‘ River for Jaffna’ project is completed quickly, an addition 11,000 acres can be cultivated and productivity in the presently cultivated 20,600 acres can be increased by 50 %. Most of the non-arable land will thus also become productive. The HSZ around Palaly has to be contracted and partly relocated to the balance 8300 acres non- arable land that will be available after giving allowance for the additional arable land that will become available after the Jaffna River project is completed. Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
    May 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm
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      Good logical reasoning. But are they practical and possible in the current environment, when the supposed to be legit Elected Politicians who draw their salaries from the Tax Payers openly declare that they are going to declare SGA in the North?. Their International elected Parliament hold annual Conferences in Western Capitals with the Western Political heavie standing in front of the Eellam, boldly highlighted in the Srilankan map as the background to their declarations. TNA the local appendage of the TGTE is openly defying Govt attempts of peaceful existance of communities in the North, as most of the inhabitants do in the rest of the land including the city where majority are the Tamil and Muslim communities. Isn’t it in the hands of the TNA and its handlers to be calm and collected until they win the North, which the Colombo Bookies reckon is a forgone conclusion?. And rule their subjects in a similarly calm and collective manner and prove to the ordinary punters that there is no need for any HSZs for that matter?. If the Govt does things to please the TNA and its handlers, isnt there strong a possibility that the great majority would want the Military to look after whole Treasury not just the National Treasures?,

      K.A Sumanasekera
      May 2, 2013 at 2:35 am
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        Sumanasekera, How long are we going to blame each other to stay where we are? I think it is time to do what is right. What the Tamil politicians and sections of the Diaspora say, should not prevent the government from doing what is right, because it has the power to do what it has to do. They can talk the talk, but the government has to walk the walk. Please do not engage in a tit for tat war of words. Please help move the emerging dialogue in a positive direction. Dr.RN

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
        May 3, 2013 at 7:30 am
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    Dear Mr.K.A Gunasekara, I don’t think that TNA have any link with TGTE.They are not asking any seperate country,but they simply ask only to allow the tamil people to live their lives peacefully,with equal rights with other citizens.When there is this vast extent of land grabbing and make nearly 25,000 people landless will you expect the political party who represent that people to keep numb as mr.Douglus Devananda. WHY THEY GOING TO ASK FOR any SGA if you practically give minimum reasonable powers to administer themselves without disturbing the country’s unity.Do you know there is no power to the elected provincial ministers in the east to appoint even a minor employee.All powers are controlled by the Governor of east.But it is not in the case of other southern provinces.So that shows that no meaningful powers going to be given by the GOSL to minorities.so,who is wrong?

    sagar
    May 2, 2013 at 7:10 am
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    Though the government needs to acquire land for development purposes these are normally few and far between. Except in major projects eg. Southern Highway, the extents normally acquired are small. In any event the land acquisition procedure is followed as per the Land Law. The objections made by the residents/owners of land in the North and East are due a) the large extents earmarked, b)lack of transparency, c) failure to follow the steps of acquisition as per the law, and d) the reasons adduced for acquisition, such as expansion of existing as well as establishment of new military facilities. At the end of a long conflict there is justification for a military presence but the question posed is are the extents acquired excessive and discriminatory? Aren’t there large tracts of state land that could have been utilized without disturbing good agricultural land which is the bread and butter of the northern farmer, and also the valued inheritance of future generations? Are we being revengeful and uncaring. Haven’t the people of the North and East suffered enough? Can Mahinda Rajapaksa be an Emperor Asoka? Not likely. PARL is therefore right in taking issue on this subject which is dear to our citizens. It would also be useful when dealing with the government if they research and list 1)the availability of alternative state land that could be used in lieu of acquisitions, 2) the unfairness of the acquisitions,implications/consequences to the individual loser, and 3) the level of compensation proposed by the government, their basis of computation, valuation etc. Seeking better housing alone is not enough. PARL needs to work on the whole act of acquisition now being implemented.

    Wickramasiri
    May 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm
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    dear friends,regarding the land acquisition i want to point out the reasons for anxiety among tamil citizens,here are some -those 6340 acres of valigamam area - -very fertile red soil cultivated area where good amount of underground water is available.(nowadays most part of jaffna’s underground water resource change into with more salinity) -numerous places of hindu and christian worships situated there -neary 16 km of sea shore including myliddy, kankesanthurai harbours.by taking all this these fiherfolks looses their nativel places of work- -if they only want to develop the palaly airport why they asking for the 25 sq km area. -not only that the militarty is asking all DS offices throughout jaffna(not only jaffna but throughout north especialy vanni) to state about any state lands or that owned to that Pradeshiya saba and if so available demanding those lands to be handed over to them What does it mean?why that much of street to street security is needed? -There is an example of sample sinhalese community colonization at Navatkuli with the help of GOSL. whether all the land grabbing are for the same purposes? Most people believe so. -For most of that area people the only asset they have over the >20 yr displacement is the plot of land they had.By engulfing that are whether the Mahinda government asking them to beg in the streets? there is a saying in Tamil when the rights are going even a coward will become a rebel.that is where they are pushing us.

    sagar
    May 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm
    Reply

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