Born in Erukkulampiddy, Mannar, Prof. Shahul H. Hasbullah has been tireless in documenting the sufferings and the loss of the evicted of October 1990 from the Northern Province and has repeatedly called for reconciliation between all three communities. A geographer, his work on land, and the north and the east is path breaking, and thrown fresh light on old issues.
He was Professor of Geography at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He graduated from the same university and obtained his M.A and Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He was actively engaged in teaching, research and writing in the areas of demography, employment, and migration. His research specialized in human and population geography and migration; refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as land disputed and resolution mechanisms. He has authored/edited several research works, including ‘Checkpoint, Temple, Church and Mosque’ (2015) written together with four other academics, ‘Denying the Right to Return: Resettlement in Musali South and the Wilpattu Controversy’ (2015), and ‘Social Mobilisation of Livelihood Concerns and Everyday Encounters with an Ambiguous State’ (co-authored with Urs Geiser and to be published by ICES, Colombo).
He has served as a visiting scholar at a number of international universities including University of Zurich (Switzerland), University of Edinburgh (UK) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway). In 2004 he was invited as a visiting Professor by his alma mater University of British Columbia, Canada. He was a Fulbright Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
He participated as a resource person in the Sri Lanka Peace Talks of 2003 during the civil war and served as a member of the Sub-committee on Immediate and Humanitarian Needs of the War-torn Areas of Sri Lanka. Recently, he was appointed as a Council Member of the University of Jaffna by the University Grants Commission. He was also an active member of the Delimitation Commission at the time of his demise.