High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

Early steps to implement LLRC recommendations PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 04:59

256 houses in High Security Zone returned to owners

The government has taken action to release lands in the High Security Zones (HSZs) in the country in keeping with the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) being implemented by the Inter Agency Committee (IAC).

256 houses surrounding the Palaly HSZ have already been returned to civilians and another 2392 houses have been identified for civilian occupation in more than 2500 hectares of the land that was set apart for HSZs. These lands will be returned to their original owners.

The government is of the firm policy that any citizen of Sri Lanka is equally free to purchase land or own land anywhere in the country. There is no policy of expansion of High Security Zones (HSZs), as alleged by some. On the contrary, the policy is to shrink such Zones, as rapidly and as significantly as possible.

A Land Kachcheri system is being considered by the Government to resolve land issues, and it is awaiting the final recommendations of the LLRC. It is an established mechanism of state land allocation where the Government Agent of the District after due and fair inquiry plays a central role in assigning ownership and tenurial rights. The State wherever it occupies lands of those who have been identified as owners, pays rents for occupation of such lands.

The IAC chaired by the Attorney General has taken the initiative to implement practical measures to strengthen the reconciliation process. The LLRC had made recommendations with regard to the detention of suspects, land issues, law and order, administrative and language issues, and the socio-economic and livelihood issues pursuant to its Warrant dated May 15, 2010.

EXCERPTS FROM THE PROGRESS REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTERIM RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE LLRC

 
The Inter-Agency Advisory Committee (IAAC) takes this opportunity to record the progress made so far on the implementation of the interim recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was established by HE the President pursuant to the Warrant dated 15 May 2010.
 
The LLRC commended its public sitting on 11 August 2010.  On 13 September 2010, the LLRC submitted its interim recommendations to H. E. the President. The interim recommendations were based on extensive testimony received by the LLRC during its interaction with affected civilians following field visits to several locations in the conflict-affected areas, including places of detention, rehabilitation and IDP welfare centres.
 
H.      E. the President of Sri Lanka endorsing the importance of the objective behind the LLRC interim recommendations, supported the adoption in Cabinet of the Paper dated 27th October 2010 to establish an Inter-Agency Advisory Committee (IAAC) to facilitate the implementation of the interim recommendations.  The objective of the IAAC is to implement these recommendations of the LLRC through practical measures and to strengthen the related processes that are already underway.
 
The progress on the recommendations of the LLRC is summarized as follows:
(i)                 Matters pertaining to detention
A four-member special committee, chaired by a Deputy Solicitor-General was appointed from the Attorney General’s Department of study the cases of LTTE suspects in detention and expedite legal action where necessary.  The objective of the Committee is to expedite releases for rehabilitation, or expedite investigations where adequate evidence of hardcore involvement in the LTTE is available.
(ii)               Land issues
  • As highlighted in the LLRC process, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) recognizes the complexity of land related grievances and its impact on the lives of civilians as arising from the protracted conflict.  Some of these issues need solution which cannot be offered through existing legal remedies due to the devastation of administrative infrastructure and private and public documentation as a result of 3 decades of conflict.  In view of the hardship and pain of mind caused to civilians from land related issues.  GoSL will expedite necessary administrative measures.  A land Kachcheri system is being considered by the GoSL, while awaiting the final recommendation of the LLC on this complex issue.
  • Demining has been accelerated so that more land can be made available for resettlement.
  • Complex issues arise in regard to lands that were expropriated by the LTTE for allocation thereafter outside the law f the land.  Steps are afoot to allot lands to the original owners, who have thus had to face expropriation.
  • Land Kachcheris-a mechanism of state land allocation where the Government Agent of the District after due and fair inquiry plays a central role in assigning ownership and tenurial rights, will soon be held with ever greater regularity.
  • It is a constitutionally recognized fundamental right of every citizen to choose his residence anywhere within Sri Lankan and the GoSL categorically states that thee is no policy of forced settlement by the GoSL.  Furthermore, it is categorically stated that any citizen of Sri Lanka is free to purchase land or own land anywhere in the country.  There is no policy of expansion of High Security Zones (HSZ), as alleged by some.  On the contrary, the policy is to shrink such Zones, as rapidly and as significantly as possible.
  • The GoSL expects that with the implementation of the two projects in the North to develop 100,000 housing units, the housing issue could be greatly eased.
  • The GoSL will encourage the process where, except when essential for security reasons.  High Security Zone (HSZ) lands are being progressively released.   This has already commenced in the areas surrounding the Palaly HSZ.  The GoSL notes the progress already underway as initiated by the Special Committee under the Chairmanship of the High Court Judge Jaffna.  Acton has been taken to return 256 houses in the Palay area to the civilians.  A further 2392 houses have been identified for civilians occupation in more than 2500 hectares of land that were set aside for HSZs.  Demining being accelerated for this purpose.
(iii)             Administration and Language issues
The GoSL acknowledges the need to ensure language rights of all citizens particularly in the Tamil speaking areas of Sri Lanka.  The Language Policy of Sri Lanka is enshrined in Chapter IV of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, as amended by the 13th Amendment and the 16th Amendment.  It is also  reflected by the vision of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka who has firmly advocated a ‘Trilingual Sri Lanka’.
 
Members of the Tamil community from the North & the East have been enlisted to the Police Department in the year 2010, as there was an urgent need for such offices capable of performing duties in the Tamil language in the newly re-established Police Stations in the Northern and Easter Provinces:
 
On 01.06.2010 Police Constable                               265
On 01.07.2010 Police Constable                                 54
On 01.06.2010 Women Police Constable                  16
 
                   Total                                                                335
 
A further recruitment of Tamil speaking Police Officers will be done in future as follows:
 
Sub Inspector of Police                                    50
Women Sub-Inspector of Police                    25
Police Constable                                             350
Women Police Constable                                50
 
Total                                                                   475
   
(iv)             Law and order issues
With regard to disarming of persons carrying illegal arms, the GoSL has taken immediate steps by giving a deadline for the surrendering of illegal weapons, as was successfully done in the Eastern Province, following the clearing of the LTTE from that area.
 
The GoSL observes that with the return to normalcy following a long-drawn conflict, criminal activities such as robberies, killings and extortions are likely to recur.  These would be dealt with by utilizing the criminal law and process of the country.  Police have been given strict instructions in this regard.
 
(v)               Socio-economic/livelihood issues
These could be looked at in two components namely
a)      Free movement of persons on A9-the arterial highway to ensure greater participation in economic, social and cultural rights.
b)      The further strengthening of co-operation between Government Agents and Security Forces for the normalization of civilian activities.
The principal achievement in regard to infrastructure is the opening of the A9 road which has greatly improved and increased the freedom of movement to the North.  The resettlement of the IDP’s along with the building of the Sangupiddy Bridge and the removal of restrictions on fishing has transformed the lives of people with activities, such as fisheries and agriculture, having resumed in full earnest.  Normalization of civilian administration has been achieved in the East to such an extent that elections to local government and provincial councils were conducted.  In the North, both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections were held in 2010 in a free and fair manner, without after several decades, the menace of terrorism.
 
The island wide local government elections scheduled to be held in March will see the participation of people in the North and the East exercising their franchise without let or hindrance.
 
Private sector participation and entrepreneurial activities in the North are on the increase and with well known industrialists establishing their business and investments, livelihood and employment opportunities have been afforded to the people.
Efforts have been made to encourage economic activity and foreign investment and necessary infrastructure is being put in place to that end.  Mention must be made in this regard to the Jaffna International Trade Fair conducted in January 2011 under the aegis of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Yarlpanam, along with India as a ‘partner country’.
 
Wide consultations have been held with those members of the Tamil diaspora who have evinced interest in participating in the development of the North and the East.
In May 2010 there was a substantial scaling down of Emergency Regulations and the IAAC is looking at the possibility of a further repeal of the Emergency Regulations, leading to an eventual phasing out.
Missing Persons
 
With regard to the evidence gathered by the LLRC on missing persons, it was revealed that many of the people alleged to be missing were last seen with the LTTE forces.  Hence, it can be assumed that such people may have been killed in the battle, either as a consequence of their acting as LTTE combatants, or due their being fired upon by the LTTE when endeavoring to seek refuge with the Security Forces.  The Government is also conducting investigation and in cases here the dossier of investigation discloses a prime facie case of culpability, institution of proceedings will follow in ordinary course.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) is managing a data base of the Rehabilitation of Persons, Properties and industries Authority (REPPIA) and this information will be transferred to the National Human Rights Commission.
Conclusion
 
Whilst the IAARC offers its gratitude to His Excellency the President for all the directions  that were given a all times to facilitate the work of the IAAC and the progress made so far on the recommendations, the IAARC also takes this opportunity to thank all stakeholders from civil society and from government, for their unstinted support and cooperation.
 
While soliciting and looking forward to the continued corporation of all concerned in this national exercise of nation building, the IAAC reiterates its commitment to exploring further avenues towards the effective implementation of the interim recommendation in their full plenitude.
 

pbm

India_Sri_lanka_faundation1

Kalinga_Lanka_Foundation

DeptIE_banner

ETAbutton_copy

tourism_copy