SLA introduces pass system to travel out of Jaffna
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 01:29 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) high command in Jaffna said it requires all persons wishing to leave Jaffna district to provide a surety to stand guarantee for the return of the applicant as an additional requirement to obtain a pass to travel out of the distriict. The travellers are asked to submit applications to the area SLA official through the Village Officer and the Divisional Secretary. Civil society sources expressed concern over the new regulations restricting the freedom of movement, and urged Rights groups to bring pressure on Colombo to stop the deteriorating human rights situation in Northeast.
This practice enforced in Thenmaradchy including Kodikamam and the islets of Jaffna, is being applied to other areas in Jaffna district.
Since August 2006, nearly 40,000 residents of Jaffna district have travelled out of Jaffna in ships and planes, according to statistics of Jaffna Secretariat.
Now, thousands of applicants wait for passes either to get a place in the ship or on the plane, as abductions, killings, sexual violations, forced disappearances, restrictions and harassment are increasing at an alarming rate in Jaffna district.
The new pass regulation is intended to keep the people of Jaffna district from moving out, thereby exposing the military stations operating in the safety of civilian areas, vulnerable to attacks, civil society sources said.