Land and People: Challenges

Vast extents of land, particularly in the Jaffna peninsula and Muttur East including Sampur, have been declared ‘high security zones’ and have been under military control for several years, denying the Tamil inhabitants of those areas the right to live in their own private homes, cultivate their own lands and engage in fishing and other economic activities. Rapid moves are taking place under the guise of industrial, tourist and other development in the North and East, to colonise Tamil areas and change the demographic composition of these areas. Fishing rights along the coast are restricted, severely affecting the livelihood of the Tamil Speaking Peoples. People who rely on the Palmyrah tree for their existence are badly exploited by the state controlled Palmyrah Development Board to the exclusion of the actual stakeholders. The right of free movement of the Tamil People is still restricted and their right to equality in many areas continues to be violated. Several persons who were arrested years ago on suspicion continue to be detained without any charges. The day-to-day living conditions of the large majority of our People are dire.