TNA: Jaffna Pass system violates basic human rights

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 15 July 2008, 15:43 GMT]
Maavai Senathirajah, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP for Jaffna in a letter to Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse, protested that procedures instituted by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officials for Jaffna residents to obtain a “Pass” to travel out of Jaffna require several days, and are causing “tremendous hardships” to the public and demanded immediate withdrawal of the pass system. He accused Colombo of suppressing freedom of movement and of grossly violating basic human rights.

Full text of the letter follows:

His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse,
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
Presidential Secretariat,

Your Excellency,


I am in receipt of spate of representations from the residents of Jaffna with regard to the untold hardships, immense inconveniences and much time consuming procedure which is being adopted on those who venture to travel out of the peninsula.

I feel it is appropriate to apprise you briefly with regard to the difficulties which are being encountered by such applicants for the “permits.”
  • They are required to perfect about ten forms.
  • The recommendation of the Grama Sevaka has to be obtained.
  • The Divisional Secretary of the Division concerned has to countersign the recommendation of the G.S. of the area.
  • Thereafter, they have to submit their applications sufficiently supported by relevant documents at the respective army camps for approval and issue of permit.
For this purpose they are compelled to waste their precious time, energy and money. They are required to wait in the queue for unlimitedly long time in front of the army camps braving the hot sun, rain, dust and other unfavorable and injurious whether conditions, half-starved and other physical strain.

On their way if they happen to encounter passing of army convoy, they are prevented from proceeding further but to confine themselves in a nook and corner for long time until the end of such convoy of the fleet of army vehicles.

This tedious process takes number of days to procure the permit and therefore the very purpose of obtaining this permit ends up in losing the very purpose of this permit, at time.

The applicants venture to obtain this permit to travel out of Jaffna, not to made pleasure trips, but for very urgent purposes such as attending funerals, visiting the ailing and sinking kith and kin, to go abroad on receipt of visa, to meet their relatives who await their arrival in Colombo and other outstations to render financial and other assistance urgently required by them in order to tide-over their pressing difficulties, sending off their kith and kin and dear and near, who leave this shore for good and so on.

So, the prevailing “pass system” is undoubtedly causing tremendous hardships to the applicants and some times deprive them of the very purpose of their attempt to obtain pass/permit.

Hence it is needless of point out that it is a practice of suppression of freedom of movement and gross violation of basic human rights.

I, therefore, being the Member of Parliament of Jaffna District, feel duty bound to lodge my vehement protest against this inhuman pass system and demand the immediate withdrawal of same to bring relief and redress who deserve the right of travelling out of the peninsula as and when necessary.

I most eagerly await your urgent response to this agitation.

Thanking you,

Yours Sincerely


    CC to:
    1. Major General Chandrasiri, Jaffna Military Commandant- for kind information and very early necessary action, please.
    2. Govt.Agent, Jaffna



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