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IDPs branded 'squatters on state land'

Any IDPs who refuse to live on land provided by the government are no longer to be considered 'displaced persons' ordered the Governor of the Eastern Province, Rear Admiral Mohan Jayawickrema, Friday.

Jayawickrema alleged that under international conventions those provided with land and housing are not 'displaced'.

The displaced fall into three categories, namely squatters on state land, land permit holders and owners of private land,” he explained.

In November 2010, a number of reports emerged of Jayawickrema allegedly ordering the burning of a predominantly Muslim village, Kandalkadu, and a Muslim mosque in the Kinniya district.

Victims reported that local police had identified Jayawickrema as directly issuing orders to carry out the arson attack. Fifty-four families were forced into homelessness.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reported on 1st July 2011 that more than 220,000 civilians remain displaced.

As the Sri Lankan Armed Forces' indiscriminate aerial bombardment of the North-East escalated during 2009, over 300,000 Tamil civilians were forced from their properties and land. Carrolled into IDP camps and effectively incarcerated many months after the open conflict ceased, civilians remain unable to return to their own homes, over two years later.

Though the government claims demining necessitates renders the repatriation of civilians to their own homes impossible, the development of army barracks, military housing and commercial enterprise over these very same areas has spiralled.

See  'Diaspora Tamils have to reapply for land deeds'

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