Sri Lanka has proposed the launch of a Climate Justice Forum (CJF) at COP 28 which will be held in the United Arab Emirates,
Speaking at the Presidential Media Centre Environment Minister Naseer Ahamed stated that Sri Lanka has proposed the establishment of a CJF with the common objective of ensuring greater climate justice and accelerating the financing of losses and damages and providing an alternative and non-traditional approach. Naseer's comments come as the Sri Lanka state has refused multiple call
The minister also commented on the development of 'eco-tourism' sites in Sri Lanka. Despite this the Sri Lankan military
The Sri Lankan military has undertaken massive deforestation of parts of the Tamil homeland since the end of the armed conflict.
Forests and deforestation have created contention in the Tamil homeland, particularly since the end of the armed conflict. Local opposition to deforestation has been mounting in recent months and years, as residents of rural parts of the North-East see vast tracts of forest disappearing around them. In most impacted areas, locals have been able to easily identify the connection between deforestation and the Sri Lankan state, condemning both legal avenues which see forests cut down as a precedent to land sales, and highlighting the complicity of some state agencies in illegal deforestation, including the arms of the Sri Lankan military, village development authorities and even the forest department itself.
While deforestation in the Tamil homeland runs rampant, the forest department remains at the forefront of land-grabs and Sinhalisation in the North-East, often using spurious claims of conservation to appropriate both residential and agricultural land, while ignoring or even encouraging Sinhala colonisation in the form of settlements and Buddhist shrines built in forests.
Both forest department officials who have attempted to use their authority in the service of genuine conservation, and locals opposing or exposing environmental abuses have often been met with violence. The Tamil Guardian’s own correspondents were severely assaulted in 2020 by timber smugglers in Mullaitivu, and have also been threatened by forest department officials while reporting on land-grabs. In 2016 Sri Lankan soldiers assaulted two Tamil forest department officers for objecting to the military’s illegal logging and wildlife hunting in Kiran, Batticaloa.
Instances of forest destruction and attacks on forest workers by the Sri Lankan state were also frequent during the armed conflict, including during the ceasefire period. In 2006, two forest protection workers, aged 58 and 60, attached to the civilian administration in Vanni were found shot dead in the Panichankulam jungle just days after Sri Lankan army and paramilitary personnel had been spotted in the same jungle.
The Sri Lankan military, responsible for the most heinous war crimes operates vast networks of hotels and businesses across the North-East. The ongoing militarisation of the region has continued to stifle economic development as local businesses are often priced out and the presence of military personnel is known for the intimidation of the Tamil populace.
The military is involved in all aspects of life in the Northeast and has faced years of protest from the Tamil community calling for its removal. The sheer size of the Sri Lankan military is staggering; in 2018, the World Bank estimated there were 317,000 service personnel in the country, twice the size of the UK’s regular forces. The presence of the military and deliberate underfunding of the Northeast has left the local population unable to adapt to the ongoing impacts of climate change.
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