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Sri Lankan govt to buy private lands for resettlement despite ongoing military occupation of homes

The Sri Lankan government plans to buy private land in order to resettle internally displaced families in the North-East.

The proposal was presented by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at cabinet, according to Ada Derana, citing a ‘lack of sufficient state-owned lands in the Jaffna District’ as the cause for the unresolved issue of resettlement.

However Tamil representatives and community groups have consistently called for the release of state and private lands from military occupation as a solution to several issues, including displacement and unemployment.

The cabinet reportedly identified 381 families living in internal displacement camps as being ‘landless’. However large numbers of Tamil families in displacement camps in the Jaffna district were displaced from their homes which remain within the Sri Lankan army’s ‘high security zones’, while many have seen their lands lost to large-scale militarisation projects such as the army-run Thalsevana resort.