SLMM urged to assist IDPs to resettle in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 May 2004, 03:25 GMT]
The Jaffna District Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (JDCHA) Monday handed over a memorandum to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Jaffna with copies of complaints made by two internally displaced families who have not been allowed by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to resettle in their houses. The JDCHA urged the SLMM to take urgent steps to assist the IDPs to resettle in their houses and lands which are located outside restricted areas, sources said.

The complainants Mrs. Y.Kasilingam of Parithiolai, Pannalai and Mrs. Sinnathangam Rajaretnam of Overseer Lane, Vavunawathai Veethi, Tellipalai of Valigamam North have already made written representations to the SLA Commander of Security Forces based in Palaly regarding their plight.

"The appeal made by the aggrieved persons to resettle in their own places are justifiable. The houses are located outside the restricted area. Demarcation of cleared and uncleared areas has been established keeping Front Defence Line (FDL) as the guideline. The FDLs are a clear indicator on ground. The question of separation of forces does not apply as the security forces are in full control of the area," said President Mr. S.Paramanathan and Joint Secretary Mr.M.Tharmaratnam of the JJDCHA in the memorandum submitted the Jaffna District Co-ordinator of the SLMM Monday at the office of the SLMM, sources said.

"We cannot allow our judgments to cloud and pay lip service to fundamental rights. Under the Sri Lanka Constitution the fundamental right of the individual has been ensured," said the memorandum of the JDCHA quoting Article 14(i) (h) of the Constitution, which states, "Every citizen is entitled to the freedom of movement and of choosing his residence within Sri Lanka".

JDCHA further states in its memorandum: "But thousands of internally displaced persons and refugees are denied of their rights to live in their own houses and their own private lands. Occupation of dwelling houses and other premises by the security forces must cease and the forces must vacate the premises."

The JDCHA memorandum cited several Articles of the Ceasefire Agreement in its support. Article 3 of the CFA empowers the SLMM to conduct international verification through on site monitoring of the fulfill of the commitments entered into this agreement and seek to resolve any dispute concerning the implementation of this agreement. Article 4.3 provides for the strengthening of the SLMM and to expand its mandate to cover the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. GOSL and LTTE should abide by the decisions of the SLMM and its legal means will have to be strong enough.

"The multiple problems and dilemmas need a new approach including implementing confidence building measures. Assessment of what should be done and could be done can be made possible with transparency and acceptance of shortcomings for rectification", said the JDCHA in its memorandum.

Copies of the memorandum were sent to President of Sri Lanka, leader of the LTTE, Secretary to the Defense Ministry, Director General of Ministry of Rehabilitation, Relief and Reconciliation, Chief Co-ordinator of the Peace Secretariat, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Norwegian Ambassador in Sri Lanka, ICRC, UNHCR, Security Forces Commander and Jaffna Government Agent, sources said.


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