HSZ in Jaffna illegal - JDHAC

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 May 2004, 16:05 GMT]
"The retention of the high security zones in the Jaffna district after the expiry of the State of Emergency in the country is considered illegal," said the Jaffna District Humanitarian Agencies' Consortium (JDHAC) in a memorandum to Sri Lanka's President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, Friday.

The JDHAC in its memorandum on "High Security Zones and Resettlement" said the Emergency Regulations are not in force in the country since the expiry of State of Emergency. Hence the high security zones declared under the State Emergency have ceased to exist. However the government is still maintaining the high security zones in the Jaffna district. This is against the law of the country.

The cease-fire agreement signed on February 22, 2002 has been holding for the last twenty-seven months. But the State armed forces are still preventing the internally displaced families from returning to their houses and agricultural lands where they lived for generations, the JDHAC stated in the memorandum.

The JDHCA pointed out to the President that the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) did not maintain high security zones when the Jaffna district was under their control.

In a memorandum submitted to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) last week, the JDHAC said there was no necessity for high security zones in Valigamam North, as the LTTE had not maintained its presence in the area, sources said.

A large number of houses, public buildings and agricultural lands located outside the HSZ are occupied by government troops thus forcing the internally displaced to stay in refugee camps and welfare centres for years, the memorandum stated.

The JDHAC requested the SLMM to take immediate steps to re-open the Power House Road in the heart of Jaffna town enabling civilian movement without any restriction. The Consortium also requested that the A9 highway should be opened twenty-four hours a day without any interruption, sources said.

 

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