Militarisation and Human Rights Violations in Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Yves Bowie

In a new report, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) in Switzerland and the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) in Sri Lanka present their review of the situation of local communities on the Jaffna Peninsula in the north of Sri Lanka. As Yves Bowie reports, thebiggest challenge for the local population is militarization. The military presence has not reduced since the end of the war. More than 25 years ago, the military occupied large areas of land to establish a “High Security Zone”. The former inhabitants lost access to the land and the sea, which has destroyed their livelihoods. Commercial activities by the military, including tourism and agriculture, deprive local communities of important sources of income.

The STP and NAFSO urge the Government of Sri Lanka to reduce the military presence, to cease the surveillance of the local population and to order the military to end all of their commercial activities. Furthermore, the government is urged to return all occupied areas to their traditional owners and consult the internally displaced persons (IDPs) on the resettlement process. The STP and NAFSO also recommend that the government support resettling IDPs to develop their traditional livelihoods and provide them with sufficient basic infrastructure, including drinking water, electricity and sanitary facilities, and ensure access to schools and health facilities. For women-headed households in particular, an adequate standard of living free from hunger and malnutrition needs to be ensured by the government.

Further information: Under the Military's shadow. Local Communities and Militarization on the Jaffna Peninsula. https://assets.gfbv.ch/downloads/bericht_jaffnafinal_low.pdf

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