P. 1
Protracted Displacement, Urgent Solutions: Prospects for Durable Solutions for Protracted IDPs in Sri Lanka

Protracted Displacement, Urgent Solutions: Prospects for Durable Solutions for Protracted IDPs in Sri Lanka

|Views: 89|Likes:
Published by Sanjana Hattotuwa
This report is based on desk and field research conducted by CPA from October 2012 to January 2013. The principal author is Mirak Raheem. Luwie Ganeshathasan was the principal field researcher and was also heavily involved in the editing of the report. We would like to acknowledge the field work carried out by Ahamed Lebbe Junaideen, Yoganathan Sivayogarajan, Amalathas Jeyandran, S. Thambipillai, Sujith Kumara and Sampath Samarakoon and desk research carried out by Shaufa Ahmed Saeed, Chandula Kumubakage and Thenmozhy Kugamourthy. We would like to thank Bhavani Fonseka who was involved in the planning of the project and the editing of the report. We would also like to thank Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, D. Jegatheeswaran and A. Sooriyakumar for assisting with editing the report, Sujith Kumara for preparing the cover and the map, and Sanjana Hattotuwa for formatting the report.
CPA would like to thank the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) who commissioned this report, and in particular Jessica Skinner who was keenly involved in the project, including in providing substantive feedback and suggestions.
The research and report would not have been possible if not for the assistance and support provided by the numerous individuals and organisations in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Anurdhapura and Colombo. CPA is deeply indebted to the individuals – including but not limited to community leaders, civil society activities, humanitarian workers and local government actors- who provided information on the overall situation and assistance to verify individual cases in sometimes extremely difficult circumstances. Names of these individuals have been withheld due to security reasons, as requested by them. A special acknowledgement needs to be extended to displaced persons and those attempting to return, locally integrate or relocate who were interviewed, many of whom despite the sense of hopelessness and frustration with their current situation and of being interviewed by yet another group of NGO workers, took the time to share their thoughts and experience.
The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NRC.
This report is based on desk and field research conducted by CPA from October 2012 to January 2013. The principal author is Mirak Raheem. Luwie Ganeshathasan was the principal field researcher and was also heavily involved in the editing of the report. We would like to acknowledge the field work carried out by Ahamed Lebbe Junaideen, Yoganathan Sivayogarajan, Amalathas Jeyandran, S. Thambipillai, Sujith Kumara and Sampath Samarakoon and desk research carried out by Shaufa Ahmed Saeed, Chandula Kumubakage and Thenmozhy Kugamourthy. We would like to thank Bhavani Fonseka who was involved in the planning of the project and the editing of the report. We would also like to thank Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, D. Jegatheeswaran and A. Sooriyakumar for assisting with editing the report, Sujith Kumara for preparing the cover and the map, and Sanjana Hattotuwa for formatting the report.
CPA would like to thank the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) who commissioned this report, and in particular Jessica Skinner who was keenly involved in the project, including in providing substantive feedback and suggestions.
The research and report would not have been possible if not for the assistance and support provided by the numerous individuals and organisations in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Anurdhapura and Colombo. CPA is deeply indebted to the individuals – including but not limited to community leaders, civil society activities, humanitarian workers and local government actors- who provided information on the overall situation and assistance to verify individual cases in sometimes extremely difficult circumstances. Names of these individuals have been withheld due to security reasons, as requested by them. A special acknowledgement needs to be extended to displaced persons and those attempting to return, locally integrate or relocate who were interviewed, many of whom despite the sense of hopelessness and frustration with their current situation and of being interviewed by yet another group of NGO workers, took the time to share their thoughts and experience.
The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NRC.

More info:

Categories:Topics
Published by: Sanjana Hattotuwa on Sep 17, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

06/28/2014

pdf

text

original

Between 2009 and 2012, the Government registered as many as 212,094 ‘Old’ IDPs as having

returned and even though more than 75,898 protracted IDPs remain, the scale of return is
significant. However, it is important to look closely at the situation, of those registered as

returnees as well as remaining ‘Old IDPs’.

A central challenge when it comes to protracted IDPs is the gap between the number officially
registered as returnees and those who have actually returned. Moreover, the entire population

of protracted IDPs do not tend to return together or even very quickly. As noted previously this

is due to a number of factors including protracted IDPs settling for more complex settlement

options and being unwilling to exercise the return option immediately.

Some broad patterns with respect to return are summarised below:

• The number of returnees are lower than the total number of displaced from the place of
origin: In Kollankalatti village off Keerimale in Jaffna, opened for resettlement in May
2012, one recently returned IDP family pointed out that prior to their displacement in

1992 about 2,000 persons lived in the village but as of 1st

December 2012 only about

500 persons had returned.130

This pattern is also seen in Muslim return villages of

Western and Northern Batticaloa, where despite the natural increase the current
populations are lower than when the communities were displaced in the 1980s and

1990s.

• The number of ‘permanent’ returnees is lower than the number of persons registered
as returnees: In the case of the Tellipalai HSZ IDPs, the number of persons registered

as returnees, according to one humanitarian worker, is around 70% of the registered
IDPs but the actual number of returnees in the villages on a given day is much less than

those registered. 131
• Returnees may move between their place of origin and place of displacement/local
integration: Returnee populations consist of a significant proportion of mobile individuals

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

130

Interview with newly resettled families in Kollankalatti, Tellipalai, December 2012.

131

Interview with Humanitarian worker, Jaffna, November 2012.

Page

46

and families, including ‘day-time returnees,’ who in the short- to mid-term at least,

prefer to maintain another home, usually in the place of refuge so may carry out
livelihoods in return areas and sleep in the houses where they have been living so far.

Return areas also see seasonal variations, especially in the case of farming villages, with

more individuals living there during the cultivation period.
• The demographic profile of returnee communities is not necessarily representative of
that of the displaced community: The composition of the returnee communities tends to

be skewed though it varies across communities. In the Muslim villages in western
Batticaloa returnee populations appeared to have more men than women--for instance,

in Karamunai only 12 of the 73 returnee families included both male and female

members who stayed overnight.132

It was also reported that more older persons,
farmers and fishermen had retuned than children of school-going age, shop-owners

and professionals.133

Returnees also face serious challenges in actually achieving a durable solution. The concerns
raised by returnees included returnees lacking information relating to return; limited assistance

for rehabilitation and reconstruction; serious damage to and long-term neglect of essential

infrastructure and services; challenges in securing land and property ownership; security
concerns due to presence of landmines, UXOs or heavy military presence; and gender-based

violence. Broadly these concerns overlap with the principles in the Durable Solutions

Framework, both in terms of the five process related criteria and the eight standards.

Moreover, returnees belonging to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, female-headed
households, the disabled and landless poor, face additional challenges. For instance, in

Mathahal in Jaffna there were returnees who were unable to claim either the WFP food ration or

the resettlement allowance as they had already availed of these when they were released from

the closed camps in 2010. They had been displaced from Jaffna in the mid-1990s to the Vanni
and were held in closed IDP camps following their displacement in 2009. Two of the families

interviewed by CPA seemed to be extremely vulnerable – one was a family of two older

persons and the other a female-headed household with two children.134

Protracted IDPs also
struggle to re-establish livelihoods or to develop new livelihoods in significantly changed

circumstances.

Regaining access to land is a particularly relevant concern for many IDPs trying to return. The
inability to claim land is a serious hurdle to achieving durable solutions in return as it has an

impact on housing as well as livelihoods, especially agriculture and fisheries. Some protracted

IDPs, including those from Sampur in Trincomalee, Telipallai in Jaffna and Mullikulam in Mannar

continue to be displaced by the continuing occupation of their land by the military. Occupation
of private and state land by the military not only creates an obstacle to return for many

thousands of IDPs, it also exacerbates the problem of finding land for landless second and third

generation IDPs.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

132

Field visit to Karamunai and Interview with returnees, Karamunai, December 2012

133

Interview with Muslim displaced community leaders from Poththaanai Anaikattu, Karamunai and Rugam, Ottamavadi, November

2012

134

A significant number of IDPs who were kept in closed camps in Vavuniuya and Jaffna were able to secure release if they were
able to provide addresses in districts of the East or North (outside the Vanni). A number of these persons ended up with relatives
and host families and have not been able to find a durable solution.

Page

47

Land As An Obstacle to Return

Land issues are a key problem raised by Muslim IDPs and returnees in Batticaloa. Drawing on
its discussions with community representatives, the LLRC noted in its Final Report:

“The Muslim representatives informed the Commission that in 1990, the LTTE had

burnt most of the land records of Muslims held in the Land Registry section in the

Valachchenai Divisional Secretariat Office. They also informed that even after the dawn
of peace, the majority of ‘permit’ lands cultivated by them, prior to the conflict, have

not been restored, allegedly, due to the ethnic bias of some officers of the Divisional

Secretariat Offices.”135

Restoration of land records136

along with recognition of land claims and resolving of issues

arising out of secondary occupation are major concerns for these returnees. In Rugam, for

instance, there are cases of secondary displacement, as Tamil IDPs from Pallamunai who
settled there during the war, currently occupy some lands claimed by Muslim IDPs. A number

of these Muslim families, who have lost their land documents, currently live in Saddam

Hussein Village, Eravur, but express a keen desire to return; even their youth see Rugam as

their “birthplace.”137

However, some of the Pallamunai Tamils cited Sinhalese settlements
near their place of origin and the lack of infrastructure, transport and education facilities in their

place of origin as reasons for living in Rugam.138

The Muslim IDPs were not willing to settle for

alternative land in Rugam, preferring instead the prime land, which they claim was theirs
originally. According to them, political interference from the TMVP and lack of administrative

support from the DS is preventing them from securing their land.139

As this case demonstrates, land issues can be critical stumbling blocks to achieving durable
solutions. In addition to the general problems such as the loss of and damage to land

documents, and difficulties in identifying property boundaries, there are a variety of other land

problems, including secondary occupation of lands. It is alleged that in some instances DS

officers have reportedly given permits to land claimed by displaced Muslims to Tamils,
therefore it is evident that the situation is complex.140

Contested land sales and rentals

complicate the issue further. In some cases land was sold or transferred by Muslims to Tamils,

however Muslim interviewees from various sites claimed that they sold their land under duress
from the LTTE or had only rented out properties to Tamils who are now claiming ownership.141

There are expectations that some of these land issues can be solved through processes

including the Land Circular No. 2013/01 of January 2013 and Landless Initiative of 2010142
,

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

135

6.15,Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation, November 2011.

136

Some claim that though they may have lost their land documents, they have supporting documents such as voter registration
and water bills.(Interview with male returnee, Karamunai; male returnee, Poththaanai Anaikkatu), November 2012.

137

Interviews with four households displaced from Rugam, Saddam Hussein Village, November 2012; with two returnee
households, Rugam, November 2012

138

Interview with Tamil returnees in Rugam, December 2012.

139

Interview with displaced youth from Rugam, Saddam Hussein Village, December 2012.

140

Interview with Muslim displaced community leaders from Poththaanai Anaikattu, Karamunai and Rugam, Ottamavadi, November

2012

141

One resident claimed that he transferred ownership to a Tamil neighbour as a temporary measure and received Rs 50,000 but
that the neighbour is now claiming that there was no such arrangement and that he is the rightful owners. (Interview with female
displaced person from Kalliyankaadu, Kathankudy, November 2012)

142

Fonseka, B. and Raheem, M. 2010. Land in the Eastern Province Politics, Policy and Conflict, CPA, May

Page

48

however this clearly also requires additional community level processes, particularly to mediate

settlements where possible.

While there have not been major instances of violence between Tamils and Muslims in the

area, a failure to address real or perceived grievances in relation to return of IDPs can

potentially generate tensions and hostility. Protracted IDPs can face significant challenges in
re-integrating with communities that were either not displaced, displaced later or even

returned earlier and this may be exacerbated when both communities have suffered the direct

effects of protracted violence and communal tensions.

Ensuring an adequate standard of living is another challenge. The Tellipallai HSZ IDPs

complained that some families were not receiving assistance because Government and

humanitarian agencies would not provide assistance unless IDPs physically returned but for

many that was not possible without some assistance in the first place. Moreover, the major
permanent housing project, the Indian Housing Project (IHP), only covered a part of the

returning IDP population and land ownership is an important criteria for being included as a

beneficiary. In a similar vein, Muslim returnees in Batticaloa and Trincomalee pointed out that
they many of them could not get on the Samurdhi (poverty alleviation) beneficiary list. According

to them this was not because they were ineligible but because inadequate financing prevented

the inclusion of more beneficiaries.143

Deficiencies in critical services were cited by many IDPs as yet another major challenge.

Though steps have been taken to improve essential services, including upgrading of the

Telipalai hospital, returnees were particularly concerned over lack of public transport (buses),

electricity, water, schools, and co-operative shops. The lack of or limited services contribute to
more complex living patterns. One family displaced to the Chunnakam Welfare Camp returned

in August 2012 to Keerimalai but left three children behind in the camp in the care of their

grandmother so they could continue attending school without disruption.144

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->