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Round table discussion

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Monday, June 15, 2015 | 11:24 PM

Research report on tourism and human rights in Sri Lanka was launched on 9th of June 2015 at Olympic house colombo, which was prepared by Society for Threatened People (STP - Switzerland).
parallel to the program, a round table dialogue was conducted with the staikeholders of the sector. A responsible officer from fisheries ministry was represent the fisheries minister and several hotteliers, members from civil socity organisations, environmentalists, representatives from religious institution   were also participated to the event.
Community memberes representing farmers, fishers were also present at the event together with real victims of land grabbing in each area of the country. 
As a sector, tourism is important to the economy since it act as major foriegn exchange earner and provide thousands of job oppertunities to the local communities.
After the end of Civil war in Sri Lanka, high priority to develop tourism sector was given by the previous government. instead of resettling people who were displaced for decades due to the war, military widend the land aquasition in the name of security.  "During the war, many Tamils fled the north and settled abroad or in other regions of the island. Since the end of the war, many of them have wanted to return and reclaim their land. However, the army has other plans: the appropriated estates have become military camps, "High Security zone" (HSZ) or "Special Economic Zones" (SEZ). The armed forces have laid claim to approximately 6,000 acres of land that they wanted to permanently convert into HSZ in Jaffna peninsula alone. (Dark Clouds over the Sunshine Paradise)

communities who are act as small food producers are the victims of the land grabbing all over the country. North In Jaffna, Mannar, East in Trincomalee, Baticaloa, Panama and west coast in Kalpitiya all land grabbed by the government were belongs to the small scale fishers, and farmers whether they do have not land titles some times, they have lived these lands for generations. 

courage to continue the struggle.

Marumalachchi women federation in Batticoloa district with District fisher and farming solidarity stage a protest and march on Human elephant coexistence issues, Land & House issues and demanding basic needs. The protest and march was organized at Batticaloa twon on 11 of June, more than 200 women, men  and youth  representing from Kithul, Sarvodayanagar, Welikakandi, Thumpalaicholai, Urukamam and Kopaveli villages. Women'and Men leaders and activists from NAFSO national office and Batticaloa staff were participated.
Voice of the people- 

, "We were faced multiple cheating. Why these officials are attempting to avoid us like this?
 We expect the officials come forward and explain any difficulty they face to deliver their services to people?" Why District Secretary of Batticoloa left her office without listen to women or accepting the petition.
Lavena Hasanthi, women coordinator of NAFSO said at the protest, "the women in the Marumalachchi women will not give up the struggle. They are ready to continue this struggle with getting support from the units, until they assert their rights, fulfill basic needs of those affected women, resettle families in their lands and also ensure protection."

The group dispersed without any positive results but with high hope and courage to continue the struggle.
protest  for their rights 

Joint the NAFSO women coordinator 

Women federation with the protest 

District coordinator lead the protest  

District comity members in the protest 

Land campaign

Praja Abhilasha steering comity conducted at NAFSO training center on 05 th of June.They focus the below issues
*Land grabbing in Sampure, Panama, KKS., Erudaniyaua, Kalpitiya, Mullikulam and Monaragala.
*Discussed the plan for future campaigns.

participatory budget monitoring

NAFSO. , CSR , UCDC, and LSD getting together and develop the project proposal on Local government participatory budget monitoring for the EU .Workshop was started in 08 of June and today is the last day. CAFOD Team facilities this program.

Round table discussion on impact of Tourism

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 | 12:14 AM

We invite you for this discussion .In the same time any one who interest of this issues can see the step that team have decided
 STEP 1: Fully implement the Tenure Guidelines on land, fisheries and forests through participatory, inclusive mechanisms that prioritize the rights and needs of legitimate tenure users, especially women.

STEP 2: Ensure the free, prior and informed consent for all communities affected by land transfers, including the fair and equitable participation of all groups within local communities, especially excluded and marginalized groups such as women, children, minorities, the elderly and disabled.

STEP 3: Review public policies and projects that incentivize land grabbing, and instead support policies that prioritize the needs of small-scale food producers – particularly women – and sustainable land use.

STEP 4: Guarantee protection against human rights violations committedby third parties, such as businesses. This calls for appropriate measures to prevent, investigate, prosecute and compensate for human rights violations.

STEP 5: Hotels, Investors and Travel Agencies should respect human rights and avoid negative impactsthat are caused directly or through their business relations. In order to assume responsibility, they should possess corresponding principles and procedures and act with due diligence.

STEP 6: Take adequate measures to provide access to an effective remedy and appropriate compensation for the affected parties. In addition to judicial mechanisms, states must also provide non-judicial grievance mechanisms. Moreover, businesses should also provide effective grievance mechanisms at an operative level, or participate in such mechanisms.

Justice for the VIDYA

Written By Freedam to the nation resettlement of IDPs on Monday, June 1, 2015 | 4:18 AM

The rape and murder of Vidya .There was protest held in Kithul Junction today asking the Justice.Protest was organized by Batticoloa district fisher and Farmer comity, District women society and civil societies.

Dothata Ganimu

Some photos from Wediye Kathikawa at Kurunagala. Seminar and street campaign on 25 of May .

voice of citizen comity

Citizen comity meeting was  conducted at Palugassagama hall on 24 of May .

Stop land grabbing

"Dark Clouds over the Sunshine Paradise"
District Education program on. Research findings of Tourism in Srilanka Among communities is conducting in Jaffna on 26 of May at Agriculture training institution.

We are happy

People went to their original land in Jaffna peninsula.
We are extremely happy that we work on the resettlement to displaced people and the democracy to the citizens in SL past few years. For that we joined with various groups to build up democracy in the country, Change with Reforms campaign was one among them and now we are receiving results of it,
Living with out fear, intimidations, threats, abductions or media smear campaigns are no more for the time being. Instead, we ...
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General body meeting

General body of Northern province fisher people unity meeting is Conducting at Yalpadi hall in Jaffna on 27 of May.

Fisher people prepare their plan

we have conducted 04 district meeting to find out the main issues in each district (Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi. and Mulathi).Fisher leaders of the Northern province fisher unity getting together to develop the common action plan on 27 of May 2015 at Jaffna  .Herman Kumara address the meeting and said why we should prepare the common plan and how to demand to get their rights.26 fisher leaders participated to the meeting.

Concept note on round table discussion

Round Table Discussion on the Tourism Research and Impact on Farming and Fishing Communities


NAFSO is concerned on tourism which is only one part of development for the communities. Although the GOSL had planned the tourism as the only industry for the development of the country, we are not ready to accept it as it is. Sri Lanka has been based on agriculture and fisheries as its main development strategy during the post-independence period rightfully. Thus, the fishing and farming industries should also be considered as main economic base and source of livelihood in the country.

Unfairly, after the post-war context, the lands of the farmers and fishermen were occupied by the military and investors in the name of National security and development. Legal procedures were not properly followed and disregarded. The war-affected people still now have been living in the welfare camps, their relatives’ houses, or abroad even though the war ended in 2009. The internally displaced farmers and fishermen [IDPs] have remained unable to return to their own villages.

Military tourism also was promoted during the former regime. Due to the tourism plan of the Rajapaksha Regime, fishing and farming communities lost their lands and livelihoods in most parts of the country. Hence, NAFSO has conducted a survey on land grabbing and its impact on Fisheries and agriculture communities. NAFSO coordinated with affected communities in Jaffna, Kalpitiya, Pasikudah, and Kuchchaveli where Rajapaksa regime implemented special tourism plans and collected information from them.  NAFSO was able to identify issues of these communities and highlighted these in many local and foreign forums through which justice to the IDPs and affected people due to development projects was advocated for. Specifically, the issues focused on were related to livelihoods, working conditions in few hotels studied, land and sea grabbing, participation or non-participation of local communities in the tourism industry, and to related on health, education and sanitary facilities of the local communities. Besides these, effects on the ecology were looked into. Some of the coral reefs such as Bar coral reef are under threat due to tourism infrastructure, unhealthy activities carried out by the tourists and operations and Mangroves have consequently been destroyed. There were many cases which reported the destruction of Mangrove forests in Kalpitiya area.

As a whole, NAFSO was able to highlight the violation of human rights in those areas and focused attention how to rectify the current situation while recognizing a national level dialogue among all parties involve in tourism and affected communities.

A wider civil-political-official-investor dialogue, based on social justice, human rights, environmental justice and gender justice, among the politicians, tourism and fisheries people, Coast Conservation Department and all other officials, investors, local communities, fisher people, representatives of LGU, NGOs, any other related parties involved in tourism industry would be ideal. The main idea would be to prepare a tourism plan in the context of sustainable development from a wider consultation of the Sri Lankan society, and not only among few bureaucrats and politicians involved and aiming to profit a few people. As tourism is a growing industry in the country, there should be focus on the future development of local communities and to protect their rights. At the same time, the concern on the environment and ecologically-sensitive areas and their sustenance is an essential component of the tourism development.

NAFSO is promoting sustainable development based on the Earth Summit and Environmental Declaration in 1992 and the Rio+20 Declaration “The Future We Want.” NAFSO, therefore, proposes a sustainable tourism development plan aimed at supporting and nurturing:
·         Economy/Livelihoods of the communities
·         Environment/ Ecology
·         Culture of the communities
The GOSL is also under the obligation to respect the principles of sustainable development.

Therefore, NAFSO proposes to conduct a roundtable discussion on tourism in Sri Lanka aiming to understand about the issues of the fisheries and farming communities. We will use the research findings of NAFSO and Society of Threatened People conducted in latter part of 2014.. The book, “Dark Clouds over the Sunshine Paradise” was published in February, 2015 in which highlight the issues related to human rights violations in the context of tourism development in Sri Lanka.

The overall goal is to begin the dialogue on drafting an overall sustainable tourism development plan for the country based on the discussion among all parties involved in it. We want to take off from the issues faced by the local communities on livelihoods, land, labour, and human rights violations and focus on regaining the land and livelihood rights of the affected communities specifically in Pasikkudah, Kuchchaveli, Kalpitiya islands, and Jaffna peninsula.  
NAFSO and the Praja Abilashi land network expect to have a better human rights environment in relation to tourism industry. With a main aim of the GOSL to bring tourists to the country to the extent of 2.5 million this year and 4 million in 2020, there should be a programmatic approach if the government is sincerely concerned of the rights of the communities and the workers engaged in or affected by tourism. What we want to do is to facilitate this dialogue and come up with a framework to ensure human rights of the people in communities interacting in and affected by tourism.

Objectives of the Round Table Discussion

1.     To make the politicians, officials, investors, and hoteliers aware about the real situation and impact of tourism in four tourism sites
2.     To build up a consensus on people’s participation in tourism development planning to ensure the land rights of the fishing and farming communities
3.      To come up with a draft human rights framework in the overall country tourism development plan and strategy
4.     To enable dialogue and direct interactions among the investors and affected community leaders, hoteliers and local communities and civil society, towards finding better solutions for affected communities.

Expected Outcomes

Ø  Participants/various actors acknowledge the research recommendations for respecting human rights and customary rights of the people in the affected areas
Ø  The Research Report on Tourism and the human rights of coastal communities is disseminated and made known to wider country national and local society.
Ø  The necessity to have a Framework for sustainable tourism industry is recognized.
Ø  Dialogues between civil society and the tourism authorities in relation to the issues of affected communities in the coastal areas are appreciated.
Ø  Media and wider civil society’s awareness of the issues related to tourism and fisheries in coastal areas is increased.

Proposed Program for the Round Table Discussion [RTD]
Venue: Olympic House, Independence Avenue, Torrington Place, Colombo

Subject Area
Responsible Person/s
2.30 - 2.45 pm
Introduction and Overview of the RTD
Leveling of Expectations
Objective setting
Francis Raajan
2.45 - 3.15 pm
Presentation of the Research Findings/Report
[Civil Society Perspectives]
Yves Bowie, Society of Threatened People and Herman Kumara, NAFSO
3.15 - 3.30 pm
Response to the Research Findings Overview of the Sri Lankan development strategies and the
Tourism Development Plan
[GOSL perspectives]
Minister of Tourism or Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
3.30 - 4.10 pm
Response from the Investors and Hoteliers
[Investors/Business perspectives]
Malu Malu
Jungle Beach
Dutch Bay Holiday Resort

4.10 - 4.40 pm
Livelihoods, Land rights and Human Rights of the local communities.
[Local communities perspectives]

4.40 - 5.00 pm
Open Discussion
5.00 - 5.15 pm
Consensus and Synthesis of the Discussions
Herman Kumara
5.15 - 5.30pm
Conclusion and Next Steps

Proposed next steps after the Round Table Discussion[RTD]
·         Produce a consensus statement or Press briefing about the outcome of the RTD
·         Produce a campaign on sustainable tourism through social media with the help of internal and external social media groups,
·         Publish and disseminate any remedies agreed or proposed at the RTD for facilitate the livelihoods and well being of the people in those areas,
·         Dialogue with relevant authorities to get the land back and demand customary rights of the coastal communities,
Program drafted by: Herman Kumara, Convener, NAFSO and Francis Raajan, Coordinator, Praja Abhilasha network.
Thalsevana hotel in KKS 

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