The Sri Lankan government has enacted a law enabling residents of the Northern and Eastern Provinces to reclaim their land lost to encroachers during the civil war.
The law, which will be in force for two years, covers those who were forced to abandon land and other immovable properties and unable to retrieve them due to the internal situation and activities of a “militant terrorist group” from May 1983 to May 2009. In the event of death of legitimate owners, their legal heirs could move courts and obtain the remedy. Explaining the rationale behind the law, the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Resettlement stated that encroachers were attempting to claim prescriptive title to the properties. This had affected people in the conflict-hit areas, especially those who were forced to forsake their properties.
Meanwhile, the U.K.-based Global Tamil Forum called upon the international community to “resolutely engage” Sri Lanka to ensure it stayed the course on “genuine reform”.
The Forum said it was “deeply concerned” about the lack of progress on the many issues affecting Tamils — as reflected in the resolution Sri Lanka co-sponsored at the UN — such as the release of detainees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act; return of land held by the security forces; and investigations into the disappearance of people.
The GTF called upon the UNHRC to urge the Sri Lankan government not to renege on its “all important commitment” to the UN on the inclusion of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorised prosecutors and investigators in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism. (The Hindu)