“It is very difficult to keep Rajapaksa out, I would think,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, who runs an election monitoring group and a policy research organization in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, he noted, every recent poll shows Mr. Rajapaksa trailing, and there is “no demonstrable evidence of any kind of swing or shift to him.”
“Anthony Quinn lost his home to the Sri Lankan army at age 17. He’s now 45. He badly limps in injury from shelling during the long war that ended with the government forces crushing the separatist Tamil Tigers. Ever since the military seized his family’s house near the airport of Jaffna, the provincial capital of the north where the fighting raged, Quinn has lived in assorted crude encampments – no privacy, no sanitation. In this one with its barking dogs and corrugated tin walls, he raised four children.”
Sri Lanka’s new government plans to return private land seized by the military in the civil war-ravaged north and release several hundred detainees, a minister said, in an apparent move toward reconciliation with ethnic minority Tamils. Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told reporters late Wednesday that the government of new President Maithripala Sirisena will ease its military presence, and that unlike the previous administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa that was defeated in the Jan. 8 election, does not believe military action alone can prevent a resurgence of the rebels. “Especially for the north, we don’t think we need all that security. Our entire concept will be different,” he said. “About the lands in the north … we have already decided whatever acquired for business purposes, other than the security purposes, to give back to the owners.” He said the administration of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the civil war, was always concerned about a resurgence of the group. “We don’t think you can stop an LTTE resurrection (just) with an army,” he said. “So spending on security will be very moderate.”
The Sri Lankan government pledged Thursday to free hundreds of minority Tamil detainees and return much of the Tamil land in the north and east that the military seized and continues to hold years after the end of the country’s bitter civil war.
Land has a central place in the post war debates involving resettlement, reconstruction, development and the search for a political solution. With the ten year anniversary of the tsunami nearing and more than five years after the end of the war, many questions regarding land issues persist including continuing challenges to individuals being able to fully enjoy, access and use their lands and reside in their homes, due to restrictions placed in the name of security and development. Furthermore, Sri Lanka has a complex framework for legal and possessory rights, covering both State and private land. This framework is meant to provide tenure security for individuals residing and using the land and safeguards to prevent arbitrary displacement and eviction. The legal and policy framework, despite its shortcomings and the need for reform in specific areas, is a basic starting point of a governance system as well as constituting recognition of the rights of those owning and in possession of land. Unfortunately, present practices and recent policy decisions undermine the framework in place and demonstrate a deliberate disregard and/or ignorance of what is in the books. These challenges are highlighted in the present brief with recommendations provided for immediate reform.
Access the policy brief here – http://www.cpalanka.org/legal-and-policy-implications-of-r…/
The Government has suspended plans by the military to acquire 25 different plots of land in the Northern Province.The Land Commissioner General’s Department has issued a directive to the Northern Provincial Land Commissioner not to go ahead with the proposed acquisition of lands in the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullativu districts.
“One of the larger areas of focus in the Report of the “Lesson’s Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” (LLRC) and the subsequent National Plan of Action of the LLRC is land. Though recommendations have been made with regard to land ownership and the “extents of private land” that is being “utilized for security purposes”, there are several civilians who are yet to have access to their land.
The former residents of the villages of Mayilitty, Kangesanthurai and Palali who have been living in temporary shelters since the year 1990 are among the many who await the day their land will be released to them. Mallakam Konappulam camp in Valikaamam North, Jaffna for the displaced is one such camp in which these former residents are residing. Facilities in this particular camp that holds approximately 424 individuals belonging to 127 families are poor, making the people’s demand to go back to their homes even greater. Watch the video for their story.”