The speed with which evictions are underway in a post war setting with scant regard for rights and obligations should come as no surprise. Nor should we be surprised by the lack of regard shown towards affected communities, by the State, its agents, developers and the larger public. National security and development continue to be good reasons that justify the grabbing of lands in the North and East. Now with Colombo under siege, why would it change?
As many as 135,000 Colombo families, or 500,000 persons, could be forcibly evicted by Sri Lankan authorities, prompted by the country’s Urban Development Authority (UDA), according to a recent report by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), which cited official estimates as its source for these numbers.
Further, a media statement released by the CPA in tandem with the report, titled “Forced Evictions in Colombo – The Ugly Price of Beautification”, also signalled; “Of particular concern are the involvement of the military controlled UDA in forced evictions, the modalities of which are similar to those employed in the North and East of Sri Lanka, and the scale which, according to some estimates, could even dwarf displacement in Northern Sri Lanka during the final two years of the war. The report also argues that viewing the forced evictions in Colombo as part of a development project only serves to hide the enormous social, public and human costs”.
Hard questions for the World Bank in Sri Lanka from Harsha de Silva MP. We have been told the World Bank wasn’t aware of key concerns enumerated in a report by Centre for Policy Alternatives around the social impact of the “beautification” of Colombo. This in turn begs the question as to why an institution that promotes good governance, in this instance unhesitatingly and directly supports practices and policies inimical to it.
CPA’s report can be read here – http://www.cpalanka.org/forced-evictions-in-colombo-the-ugly-price-of-beautification/