Resettlers warned to avoid areas not cleared of mines
[TamilNet, Monday, 14 June 2004, 02:41 GMT]
Head of Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), Mr.Reggie, requested potential resettlers in the Vanni region to avoid building homes or attempting to use lands that have not been declared as mine free, local media reported. The urgent warning was issued following the death recently of three workers in Puthukudiyiruppu who were killed due to pressure mine explosion.
Mr.Reggie further said that TRO has received information that resettlers in some areas are engaged in clearing mine themselves. He urged people to stop this practice immediately to avoid further injuries and fatalities.
Mr.Reggie said that the Government of Sri Lanka and some Non-governmental organizations continue to insist that resettlement assistance is given to those who return to their own lands. This condition for receiving assistance unfortunately forces people who are financially strapped to return even to areas where dangers from unexploded ordnances and landmines are present, Mr.Reggie added.
He further pointed out that number of incidents related to mine explosions have increased from last year's figures.
Mr.Reggie also said that if organizations continue to offer financial incentive for resettlers to return to uncleared areas, TRO may have to resort to taking legal action on those organizations and would report such activities to Human Rights Commission to take appropriate action, reports added.