'HSZ prevents resettlement of 80,408 Jaffna families'
[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 September 2003, 03:33 GMT]
In the Jaffna district, 80,408 families have been unable to resettle in their own lands for the last 13 years as the Sri Lanka Army has been occupying their lands in areas it has declared as High Security Zones, said the Consortium of Non-Governmental Organizations in Jaffna in a statement Saturday.
The statement from the Consortium said, “The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has taken a step-motherly attitude to the Tamil people displaced by war. The people want to resettle in their own lands, but they are prevented by the GOSL's HSZ, and the people are frustrated and dejected. Even those few families who have resettled complain that the GOSL has been unnecessarily tardy in making the resettlement payment of Rs. 25,000.
"According to statistics obtained from the Jaffna District Secretariat, 67765 people belonging to 18062 families in the war devastated Themaradchi division have been displaced. In addition, 2124 families are staying in local welfare centers in the interior of Jaffna. Many other displaced families are staying with relatives and friends.
"Moreover, more than 28,000 families from the Jaffna district are living in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya and Puttalam. As their own homes fall into areas declared as HSZ by the SLA, the families are not able to resettle in their homes.”
Meanhwile, the people who sought refuge in Tamil Nadu during the war and are living in refugee camps there have expressed a willingness to resettle in Jaffna, sources said.
But the refugees are unable to move their belongings through an airline flight, and are instead paying Rs.2500 to Tamil Nadu boatmen to bring their belongings back to Jaffna. The Government Agent in Jaffna has contacted the GOSL regarding this issue, the sources said.