Britain highlights lack of land release as 'major source of discontent'

The British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka spoke on the importance of returning land to its rightful owners at the launch of a British funded documentary and report on the Sri Lankan military’s occupation of land in the North-East. British High Commissioner James Dauris said his government was pleased to support a new report by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) that found over 12,500 acres of land remained occupied by the Sri Lankan military and called for reparations and the restitution of land to its rightful owners. Also supported by the British was a documentary by Kannan Arunasalam entitled ‘Sampur’, examining the struggle of Tamils in the Eastern Province to reclaim back land occupied by the Sri Lankan military. “ Land is deeply and emotionally linked to family and identity ,” said Mr Dauris. “ It is not just a socio-economic issue. Land issues unresolved can become major sources of discontent and inhibit efforts to reconcile people and heal wounds .” “We warmly welcome the return of land by the Sri Lankan government to its rightful owners,” he continued. Watch the full documentary below.

Over 12,500 acres of land occupied by Sri Lankan military in Northern Province – CPA

A new report by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) concluded that over 12,500 acres of land remains occupied by the Sri Lankan military and called for reparations and the restitution of land to its rightful owners. The report, “Land occupation in the Northern Province: A commentary on ground realities and recommendations for reform” , was based on four months of field research and interviews, with data from divisional and district level government actors that was cross-checked with civil society activists. “ Research findings indicate to land in the Northern province occupied by the army, air force, police and navy, among others ,” said the report. Though the CPA “ encountered gaps in the availability of data and in some instances a reluctance to disclose exact figures of occupation ,” it stated that a total of "12,751.240783478 acres of land... continues to be occupied in the Northern Province, with lack of clear information in many cases as to whether there is actual acquisition in adherence to the legal framework in Sri Lanka”. “As the research demonstrates, the rights of a significant population in Sri Lanka continue to be violated due to the occupation of land,” the report said.

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