Images released by the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) at the request of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice a UK based NGO at Grayston House, Charles Square, London show the Valikamam High Security Zone (HSZ), located in the Jaffna peninsula, has seen a dramatic rise in the number of structures that have been constructed inside it.
AAAS reports “there was a significant increase in structures between 2011 and 2014, with the total structure count rising by nearly 1,500 structures. The structure count includes all types of structures, including guard posts, military buildings, and individual, housing-sized structures.”
High Security Zones (HSZ), as the Sri Lankan government has labelled them, are areas which the military has forcibly seized from Tamil civilians to set up or protect military installations, denying the local population access to their homes, farmlands and fishing access points. Since the end of the armed conflict land grabs by the Sri Lankan military have continued unabated, with land taken over to build or expand Army and Navy camps in the peninsula.
“Over 7,000 acres of land – potentially up to $2 billion worth at current prices – was seized in the Northern and Eastern provinces using land acquisition notices which gave little justification for the seizures,” commented Sri Lanka Campaign.
The project is meant to closely examine the developments that had taken place in the area since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.