High security zones cut by 40 percent, claims Lanka
By P K Balachandran|ENS - COLOMBO
24th June 2012 08:37 AM
Sri Lanka has told the 20th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that the high security zones in the Tamil-speaking Northern province have been cut by 40 per cent and that the number of troops in the Jaffna peninsula has been brought down to 20,000, almost half in three years.
Lanka’s Acting Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Manisha Gunasekera told the council that the military’s activities in Northern province were restricted to security-related matters, thereby rebutting the Tamils’ charge that the Lankan military was in occupation of vast areas of land and that it was interfering in the civil administration and the normal life of the people.
Trashing the government’s claim, Suresh Premachandran, MP and spokesman of Tamil National Alliance (TNA), said the armed forces were in occupation of over 10,000 acres in the Jaffna peninsula, out of which 8,000 acres were in Weligamam North and East. Besides, thousands of houses were still under occupation, he added.
“Remember, these were thickly populated areas and the land had been very fertile,” TNA MP Premachandran told Express.
Requests for More Land in N Province
According to Tamil sources, the army and navy have made written requests for thousands of acres of land in the Northern province, especially in the districts of Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Jaffna, for the establishment of camps and other facilities. More than 140 acres have been sought in the Pudukudiyiruppu Division in Mullaitivu district, in areas like Mullivaikkal South and East and Kovil Kudiyiruppu, which saw heavy fighting during the 2006-2009 war. The navy has reportedly sought about 2 km of the coastline in the fishing village of Maadakal in Jaffna district.
Tamils in Lanka admit that the Jaffna peninsula has seen a reduction in the presence of troops, but allege that men have only been “relocated” in various districts of the Wanni.
According to the latest report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, still there are 6000 refugees in the Menik Farm camp in Vavuniya. The report further said that the UN’s humanitarian work in North Lanka is being hampered by shortage of funds.
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