SLA cannot deny the rights of IDPs to resettle in HSZ - TNA

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 14 January 2003, 12:50 GMT]
The United National Front (UNF) government Tuesday gave assurances to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that it would take steps to resettle displaced inside the high security zone (HSZ) in Jaffna once the Indian defence expert submits a report on that issue, sources said. TNA stressed that although SLA is empowered by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to prevent Liberation Tigers (LTTE) from entering the HSZ, SLA cannot deny the rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from resettling in their own homes in their own land, sources said.

A parliamentary delegation of the TNA led by Mr.R.Sampanthan and comprised Mr. V.Anandasangaree, Mr. Mavai Senathirajah, Mr.A. Appathurai, Mr.N.Raviraj, Mr.M.K.Sivajilingam, Mr. Chandra Nehru and K.Thurairetnasingham met the Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe at his official residence Temple Trees Tuesday morning.

Minister Mr. G.L.Peiris, Defence Ministry Secretary Mr. Austin Fernando, Interior Ministry Secretary Mr.M.N.Junaid, and Mr Saman Ediriweera, Secretary to the Higher Education and Mr.Lakshman Ratnayake, Vice Chairman of the University Grants Commission joined the Prime Minister in participating in the discussions which commenced about eleven in the morning and concluded around one p.m.

When the question of commencing resettlement of the displaced in areas demarcated as high security zones and the occupation of private properties by security forces outside the high security zones was taken up for discussion the TNA delegation told the Prime Minister that it welcomed the decision taken at Thailand talk to start resettling displaced outside HSZ.

TNA wanted the government to take prompt steps to resettle the displaced inside the HSZ without delay. The displaced live in refugee camps and welfare centres for more than ten years without any basic facilities. No one can deny that his or her human and fundamental rights are denied. The dignity of the displaced is at stake due to the denial of their birthright of living in their lands, TNA stressed.

The TNA delegation further told the Prime Minister," we have not asked the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to vacate the HSZ or dismantle their camps. Even LTTE has not made such requests. We want the displaced to be resettled in their lands enabling them to return to normal life. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the government with the LTTE has specifically said the normalcy should return in the lives of displaced immediately, sources said

"The SLA is empowered under the MoU to prevent LTTE from entering their area. But the SLA cannot deny the right of the displaced to resettle in their lands. Instead of Tamils if the displaced are Sinhalese the Sinhala dominated army would have now allowed the resettlement. We consider the refusal by the SLA to allow resettlement in the HSZ, as the displaced are Tamils. The army cannot differentiate the displaced on racial basis," the TNA delegation said, according to TNA sources

In reply Minister Mr. G.L.Peiris said Indian defence expert Sathish Nambiar has been assigned to study the question of resettling the displaced in HSZ in Jaffna. Mr.Peiris assured the TNA delegation that once Indian defence expert Nambiar submitted his report we would take steps to resettle displaced inside HSZ also without delay, TNA sources said.

 

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