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UNHRC commissioner expected to see Sri Lanka's reconciliation process

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 | 2:58 AM

Sun, Jul 28, 2013, 11:10 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
July 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka expects the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham Pillay to obtain a proper understanding of Sri Lanka's reconciliation process after her scheduled visit to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha has said that Sri Lanka has directed proper development moves without any discrimination to any ethnic or religious groups and the High Commissioner will see firsthand the post-war progress in the country.
Ms. Pillay, who is strongly critical of Sri Lankan government's human rights record and constantly calls for an international investigation into alleged war crimes, is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka from August 25 - 31to observe the progress in implementation of Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations.

Following her scheduled visit to Sri Lanka, Ms. Pillay will submit her report on Sri Lanka to the 24th Session of the UNHRC to be held from September 9-27 in Geneva.

Protests against India as Sri Lanka completes 26 years after 13th Amendment

Mon, Jul 29, 2013, 07:46 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
July 29, Colombo: As Sri Lanka completed 26 years after the 13th Amendment was introduced to the country's Constitution under the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord paving the way for power devolution, the nationalist organizations held protests against India today in Colombo and Kandy.
A protest demonstration was held in front of the Indian High Commission of Colombo today in protest of India's role in introducing and promoting power devolution as a solution for the ethnic problem of the island.
The Collective of National Organizations has organized the protest.
Heavy traffic congestion was reported in Galle Road today as the protesters blocked the road in front of the Indian High Commission.
Meanwhile, another religious observation is now being held at the Temple of Tooth in Kandy invoking blessings for the abolition of the 13th Amendment.
All Lanka Buddhist Federation and Kandy Buddhist Organizations Collective have organized the event.
India meanwhile reiterated that it firmly supports the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution and there should be no dilution or abolition.


Government has deliberately failed to implement the LLRC recommendations

Major Tamil party of Sri Lanka rejects Presidential Commission to probe war disappearances 
Mon, Jul 29, 2013, 09:06 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
July 29, Colombo: Sri Lanka's major Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says it will not accept the proposed Presidential Commission to probe the disappeared during the period of the war.
TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran said that neither the TNA nor the Tamils would accept any commission or any reports on disappearances unless an impartial group of members are appointed to the commission.
He explained that the Tamil people needed to know the members of the commission since the likelihood was that the government would appoint either military officers or political henchmen who can be controlled by the President.
He also queried as to why the urgency to appoint such a commission since the government had not shown any interest in implementing the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations for the past two years.
According to Premachandran, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham Pillay is to visit Sri Lanka shortly and the Commonwealth Head of States are due to come to Sri Lanka in November.
"Since the government has deliberately failed to implement the LLRC recommendations over the past three years, they are now appointing commissions after commissions to show the world that they are implementing LLRC recommendations. Although the government can fool some, they cannot fool the Tamils or the International community," Premachandran said.


Major Tamil party of Sri Lanka rejects Presidential Commission to probe war disappearances 
Mon, Jul 29, 2013, 09:06 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
July 29, Colombo: Sri Lanka's major Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says it will not accept the proposed Presidential Commission to probe the disappeared during the period of the war.
TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran said that neither the TNA nor the Tamils would accept any commission or any reports on disappearances unless an impartial group of members are appointed to the commission.
He explained that the Tamil people needed to know the members of the commission since the likelihood was that the government would appoint either military officers or political henchmen who can be controlled by the President.
He also queried as to why the urgency to appoint such a commission since the government had not shown any interest in implementing the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations for the past two years.
According to Premachandran, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham Pillay is to visit Sri Lanka shortly and the Commonwealth Head of States are due to come to Sri Lanka in November.
"Since the government has deliberately failed to implement the LLRC recommendations over the past three years, they are now appointing commissions after commissions to show the world that they are implementing LLRC recommendations. Although the government can fool some, they cannot fool the Tamils or the International community," Premachandran said.


Why resettlement policy if there is no any IDPs ?

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 | 10:38 PM

Government of Srilanka said in last April ,' No IDP in Srilanka,They have already finished the resettlement' ,but  civil organizations said their were thousands of people still in the camps.So Government draft a frame work for resettlement policy.   .We can send the  comments to  the resettlement department.So please send the your suggestions and comments  to the department.[ info@resettlementmin.gov.lk ]
Framework for Resettlement Policy Sri Lanka Updated on 15-07-2013

Post-war land grabs in Sri Lanka

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Monday, July 15, 2013 | 11:22 PM

COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS (CFR) - FEATURE
Post-war land grabs in Sri Lanka
By Devex Editor on 10 July 2013
 inShare2

A woman tends to her carrot farm in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, where many local women subsidize their husband's income by renting small plots of land to grow vegetables. Ensuring land rights is a necessary step in the restoration and reconciliation process in post-war Sri Lanka.Photo by: Johanan Ottensooser /CC BY-NC-SA
EDITOR’S NOTE: Securing property rights is crucial to prevent abuse on land ownership in post-conflict situations. Fulbright fellow Ruth Canagarajah from Sri Lanka analyzes the impact of military land grabs on her country’s post-war recovery process for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Weak and ineffective property rights pose many problems in post-conflict situations. Secure property rights are needed to revitalize an economy after a volatile period. For many workers, especially farmers and fishermen, their very livelihoods are dependent on secure rights and access to land. In addition, reliable property rights encourage investors to take more financial risks and invest in a post-conflict country. Unfortunately, the impacts of a conflict  including displacement and resettlement of people; secondary occupation of land by state and non-state actors; and loss or invalidation of property and other legal documents, such as death certificates, which affect succession  make land issues difficult to resolve.

In the Sri Lankan civil war, which lasted almost 26 years and was only recently resolved in 2009, land was a central issue. Over the past three decades, the country — in particular the northern and eastern provinces — has been wrecked by man-made and natural disasters, leading to innumerable deaths and displaced people. The Sri Lankan government’s Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation declared in 2011 that ensuring land rights is a necessary step in the restoration and reconciliation process. However this finding has not been acted on.

Although the government claims that managing the resettlement process has been one of their strengths in the post-war period, there are currently more than one thousand court cases filed by landowners who lost their land due to formalized land-grabbing policies. These government practices could result in a renewal of grievances and reemergence of civil unrest if the needs of original landholders are not met soon.

Since the civil war, the Sri Lankan military has seized land under the pretenses of security and development. Acircular released in January 2013 declares that land lost during conflict will be used for security purposes and vaguely-defined “development activities.” The act claims that the original land claimants are not traceable.Inhabitants of the Valikamam North region of the Jaffna Peninsula, a hotbed of conflict during the civil war, have been greatly affected by these policies. The region’s Myliddy Harbor, said to be one of the highest yielding and most important fish harbors in the country, is now under military control as part of the ad-hoc High Security Zone: A swath of land that takes up 15 percent of the peninsula and was established 24 years ago to secure restricted, strategic military bases and industries. Meanwhile, the harbor’s original fishermen have struggled to resettle in areas such as Point Pedro and Valikamam East.

Farmers in the Valikamam North province, who once grew cash crops such as red onions, chilies, and tobacco, in addition to bananas and tomatoes, were forced to abandon their fields and cultivable land when the HSZ was established. They once hoped to return after the war, but this seems increasingly unlikely as the military, which has now taken over farming activities within the zone, is legalizing its ownership of the land through the 2013Land Acquisition Act.

Farmers that I spoke with in the small northern town of Tellippalai note that ever since they were forcibly displaced by the military, their lives have been in a constant state of flux: moving around the countryside, interrupting their children’s schooling; cultivating small plots offered by nearby neighbors; and remaining unable to accumulate physical assets due to numerous relocations. Decreases in relief funds over the last three years and inadequate to nonexistent government compensation have made matters worse.

The government plans to turn the land it has grabbed into economic zones for the military and navy by constructing coal power stations, factories and hotels, in addition to using the land for typical agricultural and fishing activities, but conducted by government workers instead of by the region’s original labor force. In areas neighboring the HSZ, government surveyors are assessing where military barracks might be constructed. These ”land alienation” policies are meant to boost investment, tourism, and production, but in reality they hinder poverty-reduction measures and post-conflict reconstruction.

To be sure, the military may have the resources and technology to make more optimal use of the land, but their actions undermine the post-war demilitarization and recovery process and threaten already unstable livelihoods that depend on restoration of private and public lands. In order for Sri Lanka’s development and peace-building process to succeed, property rights must be protected and local populations should be consulted in order to resolve land disputes and move the country forward.

Edited for style and republished with permission from the Council on Foreign Relations. Read the original article.



When we get our rights ?

A referendum to repeal the 13th Amendment?
July 14, 2013, 8:44 pm 


By R. M. B. Senanayake


The government seems to be toying with the idea of holding a national referendum on the abolition of or changes in the 13th amendment. But can an ethno-religious majority decide against the rights of a minority by a majority vote? A certain institutional structure has been fashioned to resolve the grievances of the Tamil minority and to protect their rights with regard to their language, religion, culture, land and personal security of the minority. They have for long protested at what they called discrimination against them by the Sinhala dominated State. There is a UN Declaration called the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.


The Tamil minority has been complaining that they have been disadvantaged and discriminated against since 1956. They say their language and cultural rights have been denied and point to past attacks on the Hindu writers Conference. They say they have to deal with the State in Sinhala even in the areas where they are in a majority. They also say they have been deprived of personal security of life and limb and point to violence against them in 1958, 1977 and 1983. They point out that the Sinhala majority State failed to protect them from such violence. So they ask for police powers in areas where they constitute a majority. They say they cannot trust the Sinhala majority Police to act impartially. They also have been pointing out that there has been discrimination against them in the alienation of State land and want land powers to protect themselves from encroachments on their lands by the Sinhala dominated State. They also allege that there is settlement of Sinhalese in their traditional areas of occupation to make them a minority in their areas of habitation- something not permitted in UN Declarations. It is to resolve these problems and prevent discrimination that they want some measure of self government while being subject to the over-all sovereignty of the national State. They have also alleged in the past that they were discriminated against in entry to universities through the unscientific standardization of scores which was later altered to district quotas for admission to the universities.


The 13th Amendment was a solution to these problems of the Tamil minority. They were to be given some measure of self government through a Provincial Council.


The shortest available definition of democracy according to Abraham Lincoln is government of the people, by the people, for the people; in other words, political self-government. Direct democracy means the right of all citizens to directly vote on political subjects. According to modern political scientists there are Five Principles of Democracy which are


1. Basic human freedoms and rights.


2. Political equality/equal political participation.


3. Open power structure.


4. Rationality (transparency, efficiency).


5. Effectiveness


Of these principles, political equality is the most "democratic" one; it means that each citizen is the source of all legitimacy and has the right to participate in decision-making. If his vote doesn’t count because there is a permanent ethno-religious majority which decides against his interest it is not a democracy.


The ‘people’ in the definition of democracy includes everybody and includes the minorities. Majority decision making is only a convenient device for decision making but it does not give the majority the licence to deprive the fundamental rights of the minorities. Direct democracy, that is to say, the opportunity for the total citizenry to determine issues on the basis of voting for or against specific measures, is a product of modernity although it existed in ancient Athens where it collapsed. It is grounded in the principle that political sovereignty resides in the people and therefore they may choose to determine certain policies directly rather than relying on their chosen representatives in government.


The original founders of modern democratic republicanism in the eighteenth century did not look kindly on direct democracy through referenda or plebiscites because they believed that governmental decisions of that kind required deliberation. The people are known to be swayed by demagogues and to be incapable of rational discussion and informed judgments. So the Republicans did not think the fundamental values of democracy like freedom and equality among all citizens could be safeguarded in a direct democracy. They thought direct democracy would lead to tyranny.


As in any political system, democracy needs institutions and structures to act effectively in the political interest of all people. These can be institutions of direct democracy or representative and responsible institutions to ensure the minority has a say at least in matters affecting them. The 13th Amendment provides for this.


Of course referendums have been held on devolution in UK, and Canada. But the referendum was conducted only for the minorities- the Scottish in UK and for the citizens of Quebec in Canada. It is meaningless to hold a national referendum where the majority is 70% of the people and known to be no respecters of minority rights. The right to freedom and equality of the Tamil people cannot be denied by a majority. Referendums cannot be used to deny fundamental rights of a segment of the people. The Government will no doubt campaign for the abolition of the PCs and it has the whole paraphernalia of the media and the public money at its disposal. But it does not give the majority the right to deprive the rights of the minorities. The abolition of the PCs without putting in place alternative structures to safeguard the rights of the Tamil minority is not a measure of democracy. It will only open the way for endless discussion of the grievances of the Tamils with an invitation to India and the UN to intervene.

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children have never given up their study -Jaffna district

Information of Children in six welfare camps - Jaffna district  

DS Division
GS Division
Village/
Welfare camp
Year
1
Year
2
Year 3
Year 4

Year
5
Year 6
Year 7
Year 8
Year 9
Year 10
Year 11
Year 12
Uduwil
J 196
Sabapathi Camp
08
08
03
09
08
08
05
05
13
01
05
02

J 196
Kannagi Welfare Camp
07
09
15
10
21
14
14
18
20
07
21
17
Kopai
J 266
Indukkallori Welfare Camp
03
02
-
02
02
03
02
04
05
02
11
04

J 265
Yogapuram
06
08
11
07
15
15
09
09
16
04
07
04
Thellipalai
J 213
Neethavan W/C
08
02
06
03
04
08
04
06
03
05
11
01

J 214
Konatpulam
14
14
13
12
14
13
13
10
10
05
10
09


Total
46
43
48
43
64
61
47
52
67
24
65
37
 
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