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The National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights 2011 – 2016 ( sinhala & tamil) as well as the full series of  Sri Lanka Rights Watch are available at the Peace & Reconciliation Website.

Daily News 5 Nov 2012 – http://www.dailynews.lk/2012/11/05/fea02.asp

I finally received the Minutes of the meeting on Land Issues of the Human Rights Action Plan Task Force which was held last month. They were worth waiting for, for the representative of the Law Faculty, together with the Consultant who had finalized the Plan, had done a thorough job in identifying the issues, and the action needed.

Land, as has been previously noted, is perhaps the single most pressing issue in the North, and the East, and it has accordingly been highlighted too in the Action Plan for the LLRC recommendations. Fortunately, after far too long a delay, we seem now to have begun to move, and I received also a copy of a letter sent by the Secretary to the Ministry of Lands urging action, in accordance with the regulations.

Unfortunately there is still some confusion about which instructions are valid. In addition to uncertainty about how to proceed with regard to some of last year’s circulars, given the court cases that have still not been settled, the letter does not make clear whether the Gazette Notification of October 1989, which forbade redistribution of lands vacated because of conflict, is still valid. I was told this was not the case, but given the worries expressed by the Divisional Secretary who had brought it to my notice, I think it is necessary to spell things out in detail.

Being precise can help also with showing why there is uncertainty. For instance, with regard to Sampoor, which does not seem a major problem though much is being made of it, confusion has arisen because land is being acquired for two purposes. One is for a High Security Zone, the other is for economic development.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

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