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POLICY BRIEF

POLITICS, POLICIES AND PRACTICES
WITH LAND ACQUISITIONS AND RELATED
ISSUES IN THE NORTH AND EAST OF SRI
LANKA
CENTRE FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES
NOVEMBER 2013
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Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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The Centie foi Policy Alteinatives (CPA) is an inuepenuent, non-paitisan oiganization that focuses
piimaiily on issues of goveinance anu conflict iesolution. Foimeu in 1996 in the fiim belief that the vital
contiibution of civil society to the public policy uebate is in neeu of stiengthening, CPA is committeu to
piogiammes of ieseaich anu auvocacy thiough which public policy is ciitiqueu, alteinatives iuentifieu
anu uisseminateu.

Auuiess : 24¡2 28th Lane, off Flowei Roau, Colombo 7, Sii Lanka
Telephone : +94 (11) 2S6SSu4¡S¡6
Fax : +94 (11) 471446u
Web : www.cpalanka.oig, facebook.com¡cpasl, twittei.com¡cpasl
Email : infoÇcpalanka.oig

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The authois of the policy biief aie Bhavani Fonseka anu Bhaisha }egatheeswaian. Assistance with
finalising the biief was pioviueu by Luwie uaneshathasan anu Thenmozhy Kugamouithy. Foimatting of
the biief was uone by Shilpa Samaiatunge anu Sanjana Battotuwa. The authois woulu like to thank
Niiak Raheem anu Bi. P. Saiavanamuttu foi commenting on pievious uiafts.


























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Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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Acknowleugements .................................................................................................................................................................... S
Executive Summaiy ................................................................................................................................................................... 7
Intiouuction .................................................................................................................................................................................. 9
Chaptei 1: Legal Analysis of Lanu Acquisition Piocesses ...................................................................................... 1S
Relevant Constitutional anu Legal Piovisions ....................................................................................................... 1S
Lanu Acquisition Act .................................................................................................................................................... 1S
uaps in Existing Fiamewoik ......................................................................................................................................... 17
Impact Assessment Requiiements ........................................................................................................................ 18
}uuicial Pioceuuie of Review of 0bjections to Section 2 anu Section S8 Notices ............................ 18
0thei Legislations of Relevance ................................................................................................................................... 2u
Thiiteenth Amenument to the Constitution ..................................................................................................... 2u
0thei Legislation that is of Relevance ....................................................................................................................... 2S
Boaiu of Investment (B0I) Act ................................................................................................................................ 2S
0iban Bevelopment Authoiity Law ...................................................................................................................... 2S
Town anu Countiy Planning 0iuinance .............................................................................................................. 26
Emeigency Regulations .............................................................................................................................................. 27
The Requisitioning of Lanu Act ............................................................................................................................... 28
Concepts to consiuei fiom othei Commonwealth juiisuictions ................................................................... 29
Inuia .................................................................................................................................................................................... 29
South Afiica ..................................................................................................................................................................... Su
Canaua ................................................................................................................................................................................ Su
Chaptei 2 – Policy Fiamewoik .......................................................................................................................................... S2
Actois ....................................................................................................................................................................................... S2
Piesiuent ........................................................................................................................................................................... S2
Relevant Ninistiies ...................................................................................................................................................... SS
Nahaweli Authoiity ..................................................................................................................................................... SS
Piesiuential Task Foice (PTF) ................................................................................................................................. S4
Piovincial Councils ....................................................................................................................................................... S4
Nilitaiy .............................................................................................................................................................................. SS
Bistiict anu Local Actois ............................................................................................................................................ SS
Lanu Ciiculai 2u1S¡u1 .................................................................................................................................................... S6
National Involuntaiy Resettlement Policy .............................................................................................................. S7
National Action Plan foi the Piotection anu Piomotion of Buman Rights (2u11-2u16) ................... S8
Lessons Leaint anu Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) & Action Plan ..................................................... S9
Chaptei S – uiounu Realities in the Noith anu East ................................................................................................ 4S
Case Stuuy: }affna ............................................................................................................................................................... 44
Compaiative Analysis of Nilitaiy Base Sizes .................................................................................................... 4S
Case Stuuy: Sampui ........................................................................................................................................................... Su
Case Stuuy: Weli 0ya......................................................................................................................................................... SS
C0NCL0SI0N ............................................................................................................................................................................. 6u
REC0NNENBATI0NS ............................................................................................................................................................ 61
Annex I – Inteinational Policy Consiueiations ........................................................................................................... 6S
Tieaties, Conventions anu Piotocols ......................................................................................................................... 6S
uuiuing Piinciples .............................................................................................................................................................. 64
The uuiuing Piinciples on Inteinal Bisplacement.......................................................................................... 64
Pinheiio Piinciples ....................................................................................................................................................... 6S
0niveisal Peiiouic Reviews ........................................................................................................................................... 66
Sri Lanka’s Universal Period Review (2012) .................................................................................................... 66
Sri Lanka’s Universal Period Review (2008) .................................................................................................... 67
0N Resolutions (2u12 & 2u1S) .................................................................................................................................... 67
Repoit anu Statement by 0N Bigh Commissionei of Buman Rights .......................................................... 67

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CPA Centie foi Policy Alteinatives
BS Bivisional Secietaiy
EPC Eastein Piovincial Council
uA uoveinment Agent
uS uiama Sevaka
BSZ Bigh Secuiity Zone
IBP Inteinally Bisplaceu Peison
I¡Nu0 Inteinational oi National Non-uoveinmental 0iganisation
LB0 Lanu Bevelopment 0iuinance
LLRC Lessons Leaint anu Reconciliation Commission
LTTE Libeiation Tigeis of Tamil Eelam
NIRP National Involuntaiy Resettlement Policy
NLC National Lanu Commission
NPC Noithein Piovincial Council
NPLC Noithein Piovincial Lanu Commissionei
PTF Piesiuential Task Foice RBS Ruial Bevelopment Society
TNA Tamil National Alliance
0N 0niteu Nations
0NBCR 0niteu Nations Bigh Commissionei foi Refugees



Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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Lanu has been anu continues to be a contentious issue in Sii Lanka. It foims an impoitant basis of
inuiviuual anu community iuentity anu pioviues livelihoou suppoit anu secuiity foi many families. Since
the enu of the wai, insteau of using lanu policies to fuithei ieconciliation, the uoveinment has abuseu
piovisions within the Lanu Acquisition Act among othei pieces of legislation, anu taken laige swathes of
lanu in a mannei that pieuominantly affects minoiity communities anu facilitates entiencheu
militaiisation in the Noith anu East. In many ways, the lanu acquisitions themselves aie auministeieu by
anu give fuithei contiol to militaiy actois. The uoveinment thiough lanu acquisitions has also shown
cleai uisiegaiu foi the law, often acting outsiue the paiameteis of the Lanu Acquisition Act anu avoiuing
the inheient iesponsibilities of the Act itself, which iequiies that lanu only be taken wheie it is foi a
“public purpose”. This process of abusive land acquisitions is not confined solely to the North and East,
but is pait of a laigei systemic pioblem thioughout Sii Lanka anu inuicative of the bieakuown of the iule
of law.

This policy biief examines the legal anu policy fiamewoik anu cuiient giounu iealities peitaining to
lanu acquisitions anu ielateu issues in the Noith anu East of Sii Lanka. The thiee cases uiscusseu in this
biief highlight the pioblems ielateu to acquisitions anu how the piesent piactices iaises conceins of
‘land grabs’ in the area.

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The main piece of legislation goveining lanu acquisitions of piivate lanu is the Lanu Acquisition Act, No.
5 of 1950. The Act allows for the Government to take land for a ‘public purpose’ which has been uefineu
in the case law to mean “public utility and benefit of the community as a whole.” Another important
limitation on lanu acquisitions is the ‘Public Trust Doctrine’ which serves to prevent the abuse of
uiscietionaiy powei anu in its essence uictates that goveinment powei can only be useu to fuithei the
inteiests of the public anu that the juuiciaiy has a iole in ensuiing that the public inteiest is uphelu.
Section S8 of the Lanu Acquisition Act allows the goveinment to acquiie lanu in situations of uigency,
but sets a veiy high thiesholu foi the goveinment to meet in pioving that the neeu foi the lanu is tiuly
uigent. Ciitically missing fiom the Lanu Acquisition Act aie piovisions outlining manuatoiy impact
assessment checks anu explicit ciiteiion foi the juuiciaiy to consiuei social, cultuial anu economic
factois when ueteimining the valiuity of a lanu acquisition.

An impoitant piovision in the Constitution in the context of lanu is the Thiiteenth Amenument, which
uevolves some lanu poweis to the Piovincial Councils. In the iecent juugment of SC Appeal No. 21¡1S,
the Supieme Couit of Sii Lanka seveiely limiteu the poweis of the Piovincial Councils ovei lanu. The
couit essentially stateu that the Piovincial Councils woulu only have powei ovei lanus which weie given
to them by the cential goveinment. This centialisation is pioblematic both because it iaises questions as
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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to whethei theie will be any ieal uevolution of poweis unuei the Thiiteenth Amenument, but also
because it ieuuces the possibility of the involvement of local actois when uealing with lanu in the aiea. It
is ciucial that the cential uoveinment uevolve poweis pioviueu in the Constitution anu woik with the
Eastein Piovincial Council (EPC) anu the newly electeu Noithein Piovincial Council (NPC) on issues of
lanu.

0thei ielevant pieces of legislation ielateu to lanu acquisitions examineu in fuithei uetail in this biief
incluue: the Boaiu of Investment Act, the 0iban Bevelopment Authoiity Law, the Town anu Countiy
Planning 0iuinance, the (now lapseu) Emeigency Regulations, anu the Requisitioning of Lanu Act. All of
the afoiementioneu pieces of legislation contiibute to a legal fiamewoik that pioviues the cential
goveinment with expansive poweis ovei lanu, but nonetheless lay the founuation foi ceitain limitations
on the government’s actions. Important to note is the recognition in the existing legal fiamewoik that
acquisitions of piivate lanu neeu to be in accoiuance with the law. As is eviuent in the case stuuies
examineu by the biief, the constitutional anu legal fiamewoik is continuously uisiegaiueu by the cential
goveinment anu its agents.

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A uistuibing tienu with iespect to lanu highlighteu in this biief is the uominant iole of the cential
goveinment anu militaiy actois in the auministiation of lanu. Foui yeais aftei the wai, the militaiy
continues to play a majoi iole in the acquisition anu alienation of lanu in the Noith anu East. As is
uemonstiateu by the case stuuies in this biief, the laige-scale acquisitions happening in the Noith anu
East appeai to be uiiecteu by the cential goveinment anu the militaiy with limiteu infoimation available
to local officials anu affecteu populations.

With iespect to policy, the goveinment has yet to take a fiim position iegaiuing lanu acquisitions, with
uiffeient goveinment officials making contiauictoiy statements. Fuithei, iecent policies put foiwaiu by
the goveinment have been woefully inauequate in auuiessing lanu issues. Foi example, the Lanu
Ciiculai issueu in 2u1S while an impiovement on the one fiom 2u11, still fails to auuiess any issues
concerning private land and is far too expansive in defining what it calls ‘lost lands’, which the
goveinment can acquiie at will. Nonetheless, the goveinment has faileu to even auheie to the minimal
stanuaius set out in its own policies conceining lanu. Recommenuations by the Lessons Leaint anu
Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) anu the National Action Plan foi the Piotection anu Piomotion of
Buman Rights have been eithei uisiegaiueu oi blatantly ignoieu. Foi example, uespite the LLRC having
auuiesseu the issue of Bigh-Secuiity Zones (BSZs), the goveinment anu militaiy continue to contiol lanu
foimeily uemaicateu as BSZs, as seen in the }affna anu Sampui case stuuies.
The failuie of the goveinment to follows its own policies contiibutes to the lack of claiity conceining
lanu issues anu leaus to confusion. This also gieatly impeues any meaningful piogiess towaius
ieconciliation anu iebuiluing.
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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The case stuuies in this biief weie chosen to ieflect thiee uistinct ways in which illegal lanu acquisitions
anu aibitiaiy lanu alienations occuiiing in the Noith anu East amount to ‘land grabs’. In }affna, the
uoveinment is attempting to acquiie 6S8u acies of laigely piivate lanu to builu a puipoiteu militaiy
cantonment. It is abundantly clear that the stated purpose of a ‘military cantonment’ is a guise for other
commeicial enteipiises, anu in any event, theie is absolutely no justification foi iequiiing such a laige
amount of lanu foi a militaiy cantonment puipoiteu to holu 1S, 2uu peisonnel, a figuie pioviueu by the
uoveinment. In Sampui, the uoveinment is taking lanu with no iegaiu foi uue piocess unuei the guise
of uevelopment. The aiea in question has hau a contentious histoiy shifting fiom a Special Economic
Zone to a Bigh-Security Zone and finally in May 2012, to a ‘Special Zone for Heavy Industries’. Families
uisplaceu fiom the aiea have ieceiveu mixeu messages fiom local officials anu have yet to see any foimal
acquisition pioceuuies, with the exception of a small aiea of lanu allocateu to a Coal Powei Plant. Anu
finally, the brief examines the Government’s land alienation processes in Weli Oya. Information available
publicly inuicates that this scheme has pioviueu lanus to Sinhalese settleis, with questions iaiseu as to
whethei these aie people who weie pieviously in the aiea oi new settleis fiom othei aieas. Repoits also
inuicate that minoiities who eailiei iesiueu anu cultivateu lanu in the aiea aie unable to ietuin to the
aiea. Fuithei compounuing issues is the pioblem iegaiuing the status of the lanu in the aiea, questions
being iaiseu as to whethei the lanu being given is state oi piivate lanu. All these issues contiibute to
questions ovei whethei schemes intiouuceu by the Government result in ‘land grabs’ with significant
implications iegaiuing changes to ethnic uemogiaphics in the aieas.

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This biief focuses on lanu acquisitions anu ielateu issues because they seive as an impoitant ieflection
of goveinment policy anu attituues towaius meaningful ieconciliation. As the uoveinment continues to
blatantly disregard legal standards and pursue initiatives that can constitute ‘land grabs’, they further
alienate minoiity communities anu contiibute to peiceptions that the uoveinment only cateis to the
majoiity community. The questions iaiseu in the policy biief have fai-ieaching implications foi
uevolution anu goveinance in the Noith anu East. They iaise seiious conceins of whethei tienus of
fuithei centialisation anu militaiisation iegaiuing lanu issues aie signs of things to come anu
accoiuingly, key impeuiments to ieconciliation anu unity. Although the piesent policy biief is naiiow in
its focus on uiffeient tienus in lanu acquisitions anu ielateu issues, the implications aie significant anu
cannot be ignoieu. It is time to take stock of giounu iealities anu initiate iefoim.
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In Sii Lanka, the use, contiol anu owneiship of lanu have histoiically been contentious issues.
uoveinance anu powei shaiing stiuctuies ielating to lanu anu the uisciimination faceu by the minoiities
in teims of alienation, contiol anu owneiship of lanu weie some of the ieasons foi the thiee-uecaue long
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ethnic conflict in Sii Lanka. Foui yeais aftei the enu of the wai many of these giievances iemain
uniesolveu.

Since the enu of the wai, insteau of using lanu policies to fuithei ieconciliation anu ie-uevelopment, the
uoveinment has abuseu its powei anu position. Some of the legislation intiouuceu post-wai such as the
Bivineguma Act anu policy uecisions such as the Lanu Ciiculai of 2u11¡u4, confiimeu pieconceiveu
feais iegaiuing goveinment positions on the ciitical issues of a political solution, uevolution anu
ieconciliation. Auuing to these feais, the centialisation anu militaiisation eviuent on the giounu weie
given legitimacy by way of new legal anu policy iefoims, fuithei unueimining the iights of minoiities
anu any piospects foi meaningful uevolution.

A key issue ielating to lanu is that of alienation anu acquisition of lanu anu how it impacts on an
individual’s ability to own anu contiol lanu. An impoitant aspect of this issue is the uistinction between
state anu piivate lanus. A iecuiiing pioblem in Sii Lanka is the confusion when attempting to
uistinguish between what is state anu what is piivate lanu. This has been compounueu by the
uestiuction of lanu uocuments, confusion iegaiuing the histoiy of the lanu anu fiauuulent uocuments
piouuceu by vaiious actois, which iesult in competing claims of owneiship.

The Centie foi Policy Alteinatives (CPA) has uocumenteu anu ciitiqueu lanu issues in Sii Lanka foi ovei
a uecaue uuiing the wai, post-tsunami anu post-wai.
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In iecent times, a key issue with significant
iepeicussions is the uiffeient foims by which the state anu its agents have attempted to control people’s
lanu, uepiiving them of use anu access anu in some instances engaging in full-fleugeu uispossession. The
existence of puipoiteu Bigh Secuiity Zones (BSZs), militaiy anu police occupation anu seconuaiy
occupation aie just a few examples of ways in which control is exerted over individuals’ lands resulting
in uispossession anu uisplacement, eviuent uuiing the wai anu continuing to the piesent.

The acquisition of piivate lanus, most iecently the initiative to acquiie thousanus of piivate lanus in the
Noith anu East has iaiseu questions as to whethei attempts aie unueiway to contiol a significant aiea of
lanu belonging to minoiities by way of a legal piocess. This uemonstiates uistuibing tienus of how the
state anu its agents use the legal fiamewoik to legitimise piactices such as lanu giabs. Ciitically
examining such motivations is especially impoitant in a context wheie numeious pleuges have been
maue by senioi goveinment ministeis, officials anu the militaiy to ielease lanus to legal owneis. This is
an issue highlighted by the government’s own Lesson’s Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

This policy biief is wiitten to question iecent piactices in the Noith anu East of Sii Lanka, which have
significant implications foi contiol anu owneiship of lanu in the aiea. While this biief is focuseu on the
North and East, it does not imply that important issues relating to the government’s practices

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visit www.cpalanka.oig foi moie infoimation on ieseaich, auvocacy anu public inteiest litigation
initiateu anu suppoiteu by CPA on lanu anu ielateu issues.
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conceining lanu aie not piesent elsewheie in Sii Lanka. This biief meiely highlights some uistuibing
tienus anu issues in the aiea most uiiectly affecteu by the wai anu an aiea that is haileu as a success
stoiy by the goveinment with its massive iehabilitation anu uevelopments piojects post wai.

This policy biief ciitiques the legal anu policy fiamewoik existing in Sii Lanka with iespect to lanu
acquisitions anu ielateu issues. It highlights the mechanism by which the piesent fiamewoik is useu to
manipulate situations to take ovei lanu with complete uisiegaiu foi uue piocess. The case stuuies
uemonstiate that the goveinment is often acting outsiue the paiameteis of the Lanu Acquisition Act anu
avoiuing the inheient iesponsibilities of the Act itself, which iequiies that lanu only be taken wheie it is
for a “public purpose”. This process of abusive lanu acquisitions is not confineu solely to the Noith anu
East, but is pait of a laigei systemic pioblem thioughout Sii Lanka anu inuicative of the bieakuown of
the iule of law. Lanu acquisitions also have to be consiueieu in the context of the cuiient juuiciaiy anu
its inability to seive as a valiu check on goveinment actions uue to its politicisation anu paitiality.

This biief also examines anothei issue that is connecteu to owneiship anu contiol of lanu -that of
alienation of state lanu. Alienation of state lanu by the goveinment is meant to pioviue lanu foi specific
puiposes iuentifieu by the legal fiamewoik. Bespite its potential foi goou, it has also been useu by some
goveinments to establish new settlements iesulting in ethno-uemogiaphic change. The geneial
confusion ovei what is state lanu anu what is piivate lanu has also contiibuteu to feais of whethei
alienation by the goveinment of what they iuentify as state lanu may also incluue piivate lanus. This in
tuin iaises the question of whethei the piocess to alienate lanu is in fact uone to exploit the confusion
iegaiuing the ieal status of lanu in ceitain aieas. The Weli 0ya case highlights the numeious questions
ievolving aiounu alienation of lanu incluuing whethei the legal piocess is being useu to legitimise lanu
giabs.

At the outset it must be noteu that the case stuuies examineu in this policy biief in no way encompass all
uimensions of lanu acquisitions anu alienations occuiiing acioss Sii Lanka, but focus on ones that aie
ongoing anu iepiesentative of goveinment actions in the Noith anu East. The case stuuies uiscusseu in
this policy biief aie chosen to ieflect thiee uistinct ways in which the government’s actions on land
including acquisitions and alienation can amount to “land grabs”. In Jaffna, the government is in the
piocess of acquiiing 6S8u acies of laigely piivate lanu to builu a puipoiteu militaiy cantonment in an
aiea occupieu by the militaiy since the 199us. In Sampui, the goveinment is in the piocess of taking ovei
lanu unuei the guise of uevelopment. Anu finally, the biief examines a case that while not stiictly lanu
acquisition, examines the government’s land alienation processes in Weli 0ya anu its implications foi
lanu owneiship anu ethnic uemogiaphics in the aiea.

Lanu will unuoubteuly be the fiist majoi issue the newly electeu Noithein Piovincial Council (NPC) will
have to auuiess this yeai. It iemains to be seen whethei the poweis pioviueu unuei the Thiiteenth
Amenument to the Constitution will be uevolveu to the NPC. The tiack iecoiu with othei Piovincial
Councils is uisappointing anu eaily signs iegaiuing uevolution anu goveinance in the Noith uo not holu
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piomise foi a change in piactice. The issues of lanu acquisitions anu ielateu piactices anu its
implications foi lanu owneiship in the aiea have wiue implications foi minoiity iights, goveinance, a
political solution anu ieconciliation. It is theiefoie timely to acknowleuge giounu iealities anu intiouuce
iefoim.






























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%78TD>A NU #>C8G /:8GI=;= <F #8:P /HVR;=;D;<: !A<H>==>=
This chaptei biiefly uiscusses the cuiient legal fiamewoik in Sii Lanka ielevant foi lanu acquisition anu
highlights some of the pioblems with its application in the cuiient postwai context. While this chaptei is
not compiehensive oi an extensive analysis, it uiaws attention to key aspects in legislation that iequiie
fuithei attention anu iefoim.

)>G>98:D %<:=D;DRD;<:8G 8:P #>C8G !A<9;=;<:=

#8:P /HVR;=;D;<: /HD

The legal basis foi acquisition of piivate lanu is in the !"#$ &'()*+*,*-# &',. No. S of 19Su. The Act states
that land can be taken by the Government for a ‘public purpose’, provided that procedures set out in the
Act aie followeu.

->HD;<: L of the Act pioviues foi notices of lanu acquisitions to be publicly available, i.e. uisplayeu in
‘conspicuous’ places and also that the notice be displayed in the three official languages:


(1) Wheie the Ninistei ueciues that lanu in any aiea is neeueu foi any public puipose, he may uiiect
the acquiiing officei of the uistiict in which that aiea lies to cause a notice in accoiuance with
subsection (2) to be exhibiteu in some conspicuous places in that aiea.


(2) The notice iefeiieu to in subsection (1) shall be in the Sinhala, Tamil anu English languages anu
shall state that lanu in the aiea specifieu in the notice is iequiieu foi a public puipose anu that all oi
any of the acts authoiizeu by subsection (S) may be uone on any lanu in that aiea in oiuei to
investigate the suitability of that lanu foi that public puipose.

->HD;<: W of the Act impoitantly sets out that notice must be given to ownei(s) of lanu to be acquiieu
AND in places “on or nearby that land”.


(1) Wheie the Ninistei consiueis that a paiticulai lanu is suitable foi a public puipose, oi that a
paiticulai seivituue ovei a paiticulai lanu shoulu be acquiieu foi a public puipose, he shall uiiect the
acquiiing officei of the uistiict in which that lanu is situateu to cause a notice in accoiuance with
subsection (S) to be given to the ownei oi owneis of that lanu anu to be exhibiteu in some conspicuous
places on oi neai that lanu:


(2) The Ninistei may issue a uiiection unuei the pieceuing piovisions of this section notwithstanuing
that no notice has been exhibiteu as pioviueu by section 2, anu, wheie he issues such a uiiection to any
acquiiing officei, the piovisions of subsection (S) of section 2 shall apply in iegaiu to the lanu to which
that uiiection ielates in like mannei as those piovisions woulu have applieu if that acquiiing officei
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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hau causeu a notice unuei section 2 to be exhibiteu in the aiea in which that lanu is situateu.


(S) The notice iefeiieu to in subsection (1) shall-

(a) be in the Sinhala, Tamil anu English languages;


(b) contain a uesciiption of the lanu oi seivituue which is intenueu to be acquiieu;


(c) state that the uoveinment intenus to acquiie that lanu oi seivituue foi a public puipose, anu that
wiitten objections to the intenueu acquisition may be maue to the Secietaiy to such Ninistiy as shall
be specifieu in the notice (heieaftei in this section iefeiieu to as the " appiopiiate Secietaiy "); anu


(u) specify a peiiou within which such objections must be maue, such peiiou being not less than
fouiteen uays fiom the uate on which such notice is given.


Sections OX anu OX/ of the Act set out procedures of acquiring land “urgently”:

Section S8 (a) wheie it becomes necessaiy to take immeuiate possession of any lanu on the giounu of
any uigency, at any time aftei a notice unuei section 2 is exhibiteu foi the fiist time in the aiea in which
that lanu is situateu oi at any time aftei a notice unuei section 4 is exhibiteu foi the fiist time on oi neai
that lanu, anu

Section S8A.

(1) Wheie any lanu is being acquiieu foi the puiposes of a local authoiity anu the pieliminaiy
valuation of that lanu maue by the Chief valuei of the uoveinment uoes not exceeu the specifieu sum,
the immeuiate possession of such lanu on the giounu of uigency, within the meaning of the pioviso to
section S8, shall be ueemeu to have become necessaiy, anu accoiuingly the Ninistei may make an
0iuei of possession unuei section S8 of this Act.


/JK;CR;D;>= ;: D7> #8:P /HVR;=;D;<: /HD

The following sections outline how the couit has inteipieteu sections of the Lanu Acquisition Act anu
how theii inteipietation play a iole in the cuiient lanu acquisitions, especially those taking place in the
Noith anu East.
Meaning of ‘Public Purpose’ and Requirements for Section 2 Notice

‘Public Purpose’ while undefined in the Act, has been uefineu thiough Supieme Couit juiispiuuence in
the ‘Water’s Edge’ case
2
. This case sets out explicitly that “public purpose” should not be read broadly to
mean any puipose, anu insteau is a iequiiement imposeu by law on the goveinment when tiying to

2
/0#$*+ 0, "12 32 40505" 0, "12 |Supieme Couitj S.C. (FR) No. SS2¡2uu7
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acquire land, to show that the purpose of acquiring such land has “as the primary object, public utility
and benefit of the community as a whole.”
S
The court further clarifies that the ‘community’ to be directly
benefiteu must incluue the local community to be affected, not just the community as a whole: “Apart
fiom the cieation of a hanuful of low-level jobs, what is notably lacking fiom this list, anu fiom any of the
statements submitteu in eviuence by the 0BA in this iegaiu, howevei, is any significant benefit of a
sufficiently direct nature to the community of People of the Battaramulla area.”
4
Beie the couit makes it
abundantly clear that the “public purpose” must benefit the local community directly in some way.
Consequently, following this juugment, it is not sufficient foi the goveinment to meiely show that the
puipose of the lanu acquisition benefits the countiy as a whole; they must also show uiiect benefit to the
local community.

The iuea of a tiuthful public puipose was entiencheu in the juiispiuuence by Nanel Feinanuo v
B.N.}ayaiatne, Ninistei of Agiicultuie anu Lanus anu otheis
S
. The juugment cleaily set out that a Section
2 notice must state the public puipose foi which the lanu is being acquiieu.
6
Boiana Plantations Ltu. v
Ninistei of Agiicultuie anu otheis
7
fuithei claiifieu this point by ueciuing that wheie theie is a pioven
collateial puipose, the iequiiement set out in Nanel Feinanuo is not met.

What remains to be seen is whether the interpretation of ‘public purpose’ as in the Water’s Edge Case,
Nanel Feinanuo anu Boiana Plantations will be followeu by the cuiient Supieme Couit. This is in a
context wheie the inuepenuence of the juuiciaiy is incieasingly questioneu with feais of unpieceuenteu
levels of politicisation of the juuiciaiyY While this chaptei meiely examines the legal uimensions of lanu
acquisitions in Sii Lanka, one cannot ignoie the laigei political context anu its implications foi the
peoples iight to own lanu. Therefore, the interpretation of ‘public purpose’ by the current judiciaiy is of
consiueiable concein. It is of utmost impoitance that the juuiciaiy uses this oppoitunity to ieinfoice the
piinciples establisheu by pievious case law, ensuiing legal piotection is pioviueu foi people to fully
enjoy theii lanu anu if acquisition is to take place, that it is uone in auheience to the law anu in a
tianspaient mannei.

"#$%&' ()#*+ ,-'+)&./ 0.1 "#$%&' "#)2-*/

The Public Tiust Boctiine is a concept that has been incoipoiateu into Sii Lankan juiispiuuence
piimaiily to pievent the abuse of uiscietionaiy powei. In 60 7*13" 3 &,)8-5"10 wheie the fiist iefeience
in Sii Lankan juiispiuuence to the Public Tiust Boctiine is founu, Feinanuo }. citeu the following passage
from H.W. Wade: “Statutory power conferred for public purposes is confeiieu as it weie upon tiust, not
absolutely – that is to say, it can valiuly be useu only in the iight anu piopei way which Pailiament when

S
9:*$2
4
9:*$2
S
/"#01 ;05#"#$- 3 62/2<"="5",#0. /*#*+,05 -> &?5*')1,)50 "#$ !"#$+ "#$ -,@05+. 2uuu (1) S.L.R. 112
6
/"#01 ;05#"#$- +)A5" note 2
7
B-5"#" 41"#,",*-#+ !,$2 C /*#*+,05 -> &?5*')1,)50 "#$ -,@05+. SC Appeal No. u6¡2uu9
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conferring it is presumed to have intended.”
8
Feinanuo }. speaking about the poweis confeiieu on the
goveinment by the Land Acquisition Act went on to say: “It was a power conferred solely to be used for
the public goou, anu not foi his peisonal benefit; it was helu in tiust foi the public; to be exeiciseu
ieasonably anu in goou faith, anu upon lawful anu ielevant giounds of public interest.”
9
In D)1"#8)1"E",
Amaiasinghe }. appeais to finu a basis foi the Public Tiust Boctiine in Aiticle S of the Constitution.
Binesha Samaiatne in hei papei, Public Tiust Boctiine: The Sii Lankan veision summaiizes this
connection well: “Amaiasinghe }., holus that Aiticle S is an expiession of uemociatic values, in that it
affiims that the People aie the ultimate soveieigns anu that holueis of poweis of goveinment aie only
tempoiaiy beaieis of those poweis. The logical conclusion theiefoie is that such poweis can only be
exercised to further the interests of the People.”
1u
The Supieme Couit has also piomoteu the iuea that
the Public Tiust Boctiine exists to piomote the Rule of Law. In the case of /)#$= "#$ F,@05+ 3 G0#,5"1
H#3*5-#E0#,"1 &),@-5*,= "#$ F,@05+ Feinanuo }. affiims the above appioaches to the Public Tiust
Boctiine saying:

“…this Court itself has long recognized and applied the ‘public trust’ doctrine: that powers
vesteu in public authoiities aie not absolute oi unfetteieu but aie helu in tiust foi the public, to
be exeiciseu foi the puiposes foi which they have been confeiieu, anu that theii exeicise is
subject to judicial review by reference to those purposes…Besides, executive power is also
necessaiily subject to the funuamental iights in geneial, anu to Aiticle 12(1) in paiticulai which
guarantees equality before the law and the equal protection of the law…”
11


/)#$= also states that the Public Tiust Boctiine is a valiu basis foi a sepaiate giounu of ieview:
“Administrative acts and decisions contrary to the ‘public trust’ doctrine and violative of fundamental
rights would be excess or abuse of power and therefore void or voidable.”
12
This concept is ieaffiimeu in
the Water’s Edge judgment, where Thilakawardene J. “holds that the Couit can ieview any exeicise of
public power, even if an express provision of the law grants immunity to the exercise of that power.”
1S


The concept of Public Tiust Boctiine is extiemely impoitant as a tool that ensuies on one hanu that the
Government’s legislative actions aie genuinely in the public inteiest, anu on the othei hanu, allows
Couits to check that they aie. Wheie the uoveinment uoes not act in the public inteiest, the Public Tiust
Boctiine as aiticulateu by the Supieme Couit gives couits the juiisuiction to voiu those actions. As will
be seen in the thiee case stuuies highlighteu in this policy biief, the Public Tiust Boctiine appeais not to
have been consiueieu by goveinment actois in iecent lanu acquisitions. Bowevei, it is essential that

8
60 +*13" 32 &,)8-5"10. /*#*+,05 -> !"#$+. 955*?",*-# "#$ /"@"I01* 60301-AE0#, "#$ Anothei, SC
Appeal N0. 76¡92, paia 2962
9
9:*$ at paia 297.
1u
Binesha, Bamaiatne, Public Tiust Boctiine: The Sii Lankan veision, Inteinational Centie foi Ethnic
Stuuies (2u1u)
11
/)#$= 3+2 G0#,5"1 H#3*5-#E0#,"1 &),@-5*,= "#$ -,@05+, SC Appeal S8¡2uuS
12
9:*$2
1S
/0#$*+ 0, "12 32 40505" 0, "12 SC FR No. SS2¡2uu7
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Couits upholu the Public Tiust Boctiine in ielation to lanu acquisitions, specifically applying it when
consiueiing the genuineness of purported ‘public purposes’.

What does ‘Urgency’ under Section 38 mean?

Section S8 in the Lanu Acquisition Act pioviues the goveinment with a piocess of acquiiing lanu
immeuiately when uigency uemanus it. Bowevei, the buiuen of pioving whethei theie
is uigency lies with the goveinment as pei /"5*0 9#$*5" ;05#"#$-A)110 "#$ &#-,@05 3
H2!270#"#"="80, /*#*+,05 -> !"#$+. "#$ &?5*')1,)50
14
as citeu in B-5"#" 41"#,",*-#+
!,$
1S
. While the couit has not been entiiely cleai on what the thiesholu is foi meeting
the buiuen of pioof conceining uigency, guiuance can be taken fiom the following
passage in Boiana Plantations Ltu.:

In the Inuian Supieme Couit juugment in the case of Ram Bhaii }inual Nemoiial
Tiust vs. 0nion of Inuia anu 0theis, C.A. No. S81S of 2uu7 it was helu that the
uigency clause can be invokeu by the goveinment only in exceptional cases
aftei "applying its minu". The apex couit in Inuia saiu the buiuen of justifying
acquisition by invoking the uigency clause unuei Section 17(1)(4) of Lanu
Acquisition Act solely iests on the goveinment as otheiwise it amounts to
uepiiving a peison of his oi hei piopeity.
16


Bowevei, theie still remain ambiguities in the present law as to what ‘urgency’ means
anu what the thiesholu is foi the buiuen of pioof iequiieu of the goveinment.

S8T= ;: *Q;=D;:C +A8J>E<A?

This policy biief highlights the gaps with the Lanu Acquisition Act but iecognises that it is a fiamewoik
that can be useu with iefoim in specific aieas. The following aie highlighteu as iequiiing fuithei
attention:

14
/"5*0 9#$*5" ;05#"#$-A)110 "#$ &#-,@05 3 H2!270#"#"="80. /*#*+,05 -> !"#$+. "#$ &?5*')1,)50 79 (II)
N.L.R. 11S
1S
B-5"#" 41"#,",*-#+ !,$2 C /*#*+,05 -> &?5*')1,)50 "#$ -,@05+. SC Appeal No. u6¡2uu9
16
9:*$.
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$JT8HD /==>==J>:D )>VR;A>J>:D=

0ne significant failuie of the Lanu Acquisition Act is its lack of iequiiement foi impact assessments to be
conuucteu piioi to Section 2 oi Section 4 notices being issueu. While the Ninistei has uiscietion to allow
foi investigations of lanu following issuance of a Section 2 oi Section 4 notice, theie is no iequiiement
foi the Ninistei to unueitake impact assessments on the lanu to be acquiieu, piioi to its selection. This is
crucial to ensuring that the ‘public purpose’ is truly met without detriment to the immediate local
community. It is one of the piinciples unuei the National Involuntaiy Resettlement Policy (NIRP)
17
anu
an aspect that shoulu be integiateu into legislation anu fully implementeu.

BRP;H;8G !A<H>PRA> <F )>9;>E <F "KZ>HD;<:= D< ->HD;<: L 8:P ->HD;<: OX 0<D;H>=

Anothei gap in the cuiient Lanu Acquisition Act is that it fails to set out a list of ciiteiia that couits coulu
look to when ieviewing the valiuity of lanu acquisitions. Such ciiteiia aie valuable when they give couits
the explicit juiisuiction to examine social, cultuial anu economic factois that may affect a lanu
acquisition.

Foi example, the Austialian !"#$+ &'()*+*,*-# &',, 1989, No. 1S as amenueu, has the following section.
which sets out factois foi ieview couits to consiuei in ueteimining the peimissibility of a lanu
acquisition:

ON %<:=;P>A8D;<:= D< K> D8?>: ;:D< 8HH<R:D <: A>9;>E

(1) Subject to this section, the following matteis aie ielevant to the ieview by the Auministiative
Appeals Tiibunal of a pie-acquisition ueclaiation:
(a) the natuie of the public puipose iuentifieu in the ueclaiation;
(b) except wheie the ielevant inteiest in lanu is a iestiiction on the use of lanu:
(i) the natuie of the pioposeu use of the ielevant lanu;
(ii) the extent to which the pioposeu use is connecteu with the public puipose;
(iii) the extent to which the pioposeu use is in the public inteiest; anu
(iv) the suitability of the lanu foi, oi foi uevelopment foi, the pioposeu use;
(c) wheie the ielevant inteiest in lanu is a iestiiction on the use of lanu:
(i) the natuie of the pioposeu iestiiction;
(ii) the extent to which the pioposeu iestiiction is connecteu with the public puipose;
(iii) the extent to which the pioposeu iestiiction is in the public inteiest; anu

17
National Involuntaiy Resettlement Policy; Sourced from Annex I, “Innovative Approaches for
Involuntary Resettlement: Lunawa Environmental Improvement & Community Development Project”,
0N Babitat (2uu9)
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(iv) the appiopiiateness of the benefit of the pioposeu iestiiction being acquiieu by the
acquiiing authoiity;
(u) the effect of the acquisition of the inteiest in lanu to which the ueclaiation ielates upon
peisons affecteu (within the meaning of subsection 22(1u)) by the ueclaiation;
(e) the extent to which the enviionment in the aiea in which the ielevant lanu is situateu woulu
be affecteu if the lanu weie useu oi uevelopeu, oi the use of the lanu weie iestiicteu, as the case
may be, in the mannei pioposeu anu, in paiticulai, the extent to which that use oi uevelopment,
oi that iestiiction, woulu benefit oi impaii:
(i) an aiea of scenic beauty;
(ii) a place of aichitectuial, histoiical, aichaeological, geological oi scientific inteiest;
(iii) the conseivation of floia anu fauna that shoulu, in the public inteiest, be pieseiveu;
(iv) the amenity of the neighbouihoou; oi
(v) public utility seivices;
(f) whether there is some other means of accommodating the relevant acquiring authority’s
neeus;
(g) matteis containeu in a statement given to the applicant unuei section 28 of the
&$E*#*+,5",*30 &AA0"1+ J5*:)#"1 &', KLMN oi lougeu with the Tiibunal unuei section S7 oi S8 of
that Act;
(h) piacticable methous of avoiuing oi mitigating any injuiious factois;
(j) any othei mattei that the Tiibunal ueteimines, on the application of the Ninistei oi the
applicant, to be ielevant to the ieview.

It woulu be extiemely beneficial foi Sii Lankan couits to consiuei the factois in Sections S1(1)(b), (u),
(e), (f) anu (h) of the Austialian Lanu Acquisition Act. An examination of these factois woulu ceitainly
ensuie the genuineness of a puipoiteu public puipose anu minimise possible negative impacts to local
communities to enjoy anu live on theii own lanu. Foi example, Sections S1(1)(f) anu (h) woulu pioviue a
check by the juuiciaiy as to whethei the goveinment was acting in the Public Tiust. The concept of using
a piopoitionality analysis to assess the valiuity of goveinment actions in teims of whethei they infiinge
on people’s fundamental rights is a legal phenomenon that is quite common across the
Commonwealth
18
. If theie is to be a ieview test similai to that of the Austialian !"#$+ &'()*+*,*-# &',,
1989, No. 1S as amenueu, it is possible that some of the lanu acquisitions cuiiently unueiway in the
Noith anu East will be halteu, if the issue was consiueieu puiely on its legal meiits. In the absence of a
legal anu policy fiamewoik similai to that of Austialia, it is still impeiative that the Sii Lankan couits
consider the genuineness of the government’s need for the specific land in question and whether that
neeu constitutes a public puipose as establisheu by case law. It is also impoitant that economic, social

18
Foi example, in Canaua wheie a violation of iights unuei the Chaitei of Rights anu Fieeuoms is founu,
that violation can only be alloweu if it is founu to meet a stiict test of piopoitionality unuei section 1 of
the Chaitei. The fact that piopoitionality is a tiansnational concept in limiting the infiingement of
constitutionally entrenched rights of countries is further explored in “Oxford Constitutional Theory: The
Global Model of Constitutional Rights” by Kai Moller (October 2012; Oxford University Press)
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anu cultuial factois aie consiueieu when ieviewing lanu acquisitions; as such factois infoim the
genuineness anu valiuity of puipoiteu public puiposes. In the same vein, it is iecommenueu that
legislatois consiuei legal iefoim: instituting a cleaiei test foi ieview of lanu acquisitions in oiuei to
pievent abuse of poweis unuei the Lanu Acquisition Act anu pioviue tianspaiency to piocesses of
acquisition.

"D7>A #>C;=G8D;<:= <F )>G>98:H>

,7;AD>>:D7 /J>:PJ>:D D< D7> %<:=D;DRD;<:
The Thiiteenth Amenument to the Constitution incluues a section on lanu, anu while it will not be
extensively examineu heie, it is necessaiy to highlight key sections which have a ielevance to the subject
mattei.

The Thiiteenth Amenument lays out in List 1 of the Ninth Scheuule (Piovincial Council List), matteis
upon which Aiticle 1S4(u) of the Constitution gives Piovincial Councils the authoiity to legislate.
Notable foi the puiposes of this biief, item 18 of the Piovincial Council List states:
“Land – Lanu, that is to say, iights in oi ovei lanu, lanu tenuie, tiansfei anu alienation of lanu,
land use, land settlement and land improvement, to the extent set out in Appendix II.”
19


It woulu appeai that lanu acquisitions aie a mattei to be taken up with Piovincial Councils. Bowevei,
Appenuix II states as follows unuei the sub-heauing, Lanu anu Lanu Settlement:
State Lanu shall continue to vest in the Republic anu may be uisposeu of in accoiuance with
Aiticle SS(u) anu wiitten law goveining the mattei.
2u


The Appendix then sets out special provisions which would limit the Provincial Council’s authority over
land, but nonetheless it states: “Subject as aforesaid, land shall be a Provincial Council Subject, subject to
the following provisions.”
21


Recently the Supieme Couit of Sii Lanka in a thiee membei bench unuei the ue facto Chief }ustice,
Nohan Peiiis, ienueieu a uecision on the question of whethei Piovincial Bigh Couits hau juiisuiction
ovei issues conceining State Lanus as pei the Thiiteenth Amenument.
22
The thiee justices each wiote
sepaiate juugments but all ueciueu that State Lanu is a mattei outsiue the juiisuiction of Piovincial Bigh
Couits anu in the piocess also seveiely limiteu the poweis ovei State lanu helu by Piovincial Councils.
This move by the juuiciaiy to take poweis ovei lanu away fiom the Piovincial Councils is paiticulaily
tioubling given that one of the majoi issues iaiseu in the iecent Noithein Piovincial Council elections
was the cential goveinment’s practices regarding land. Land is a crucial tool in the process of

19
Appenuix II – Lanu anu Lanu Settlement, Thiiteenth Amenument to the Constitution
2u
Ibiu.
21
Appenuix II – Lanu anu Lanu Settlement, Thiiteenth Amenument to the Constitution
22
SC Appeal No. 21¡1S, Becision by Nohan Peiiis, }.
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ieconciliation anu this uecision will likely cause minoiities to feel fuithei alienateu anu betiayeu. The
uecision is fuithei colouieu by the cuiient politicisation of the juuiciaiy anu its appeaiance of
uiminishing inuepenuence. It also begs the question whethei this is a sign of things to come by way of
pioposeu constitutional iefoim anu the taking away of poweis pioviueu to the piovincial councils.

The juugment is fiameu in light of the unitaiy state. Be states in his juugment:
J@0 KO
,@
&E0#$E0#, ,- ,@0 G-#+,*,),*-# 50>05+ ,- 7,",0 !"#$ "#$ !"#$ *# ,I- $*>>050#, "#$ $*+,*#',
A1"'0+2 9# E= 3*0I ,@0 0#,*50,= -> 7,",0 !"#$ *+ 50>0550$ ,- *# !*+, 99 PQ0+0530$ !*+,R "#$ *, *+ -#1=
>5-E ,@*+ ?05E*#"1 -5*?*# ,@", ,@0 Q0A):1*' '-)1$ "++*?# ,- ,@0 45-3*#'*"1 G-)#'*1+ 1"#$ >-5
I@",0305 A)5A-+0+ I@*'@ "50 $00E0$ "AA5-A5*",02 9, *+ ,@050>-50 "S*-E",*' ,@", ,@0 ?50",05
*#'1)$0+ ,@0 10++05 PFE#0 E"T)+ '-#,*#0#, *# +0 E*#)+R "#$ @"3*#? 50?"5$ ,- ,@0 >"', ,@", *# "
)#*,"5= +,",0 -> ?-305#E0#, #- '0++*-# -> $-E*#)E ,"80+ A1"'0. ,@0 G0#,50 @"+ #-, '0$0$ *,+
$-E*#*)E -305 7,",0 !"#$+ ,- ,@0 45-3*#'*"1 G-)#'*1+ 0S'0A, *# +-E0 1*E*,0$ '*5')E+,"#'0+ "+
I-)1$ "AA0"5 1",05 *# ,@0 T)$?E0#,2
UO


Be ieaches the conclusion that since the lanu stateu in the Piovincial Council List only oiiginates out of
List II, Piovincial Councils can only have powei ovei state lanu that is given to them by the Cential
uoveinment.
24
Be then tieats the special piovisions in Appenuix II as fuithei limitations on the
Provincial Council’s power over state land.
2S


Especially of concein in the juugment is how he inteipiets Special Piovisions 1.1 anu 1:2 of Appenuix II.
These piovisions state:
1:1 State lanu iequiieu foi the puiposes of the uoveinment in a Piovince, in iespect of a
ieseiveu oi concuiient subject may be utilizeu by the uoveinment in accoiuance with the laws
goveining the mattei. The uoveinment shall consult the ielevant Piovincial Council with iegaiu
to the utilization of such lanu in iespect of such subject.
1:S Alienation oi uisposition of the State lanu within a Piovince to any citizen oi to any
oiganization shall be by Piesiuent, on the auvice of the ielevant Piovincial Council, in
accoiuance with the laws goveining the mattei.
26


These piovisions aie ielevant given the tienu of laige lanu acquisitions being conuucteu by the cential
goveinment. Iueally the consultative piocess with the Piovincial Councils woulu ensuie a check on
cential uoveinment actions anu voice the conceins of the geneial public in affecteu aieas. Bowevei,
Peiris states in his decision in relation to 1:1: “The consultation specified in this special provision would
not mean that the uoveinment has to obtain the concuiience of the ielevant Piovincial Council,” and
regarding 1:3 he dismissed two major precedential cases and also states that “the advice of the

2S
9:*$2
24
9:*$2
2S
9:*$2
26
Appenuix II – Lanu anu Lanu Settlement, Thiiteenth Amenument to the Constitution
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Provincial Council is non binding.”
27
This is extiemely pioblematic as it opens the uooi foi the State to
continue engaging in lanu acquisition anu iesettlement piocesses that uisiegaiu the inteiests of local
anu iegional communities, which woulu noimally be iepiesenteu by the Piovincial Councils. The fact
that these inteiests aie not being taken into account by the cential goveinment cuiiently is cleaily
inuicateu thiough the case stuuies in this biief.
}ustice Siipavan ieaches essentially the same conclusions in his uecision with the main exception that he
would interpret the “consultation” process in Special Provision 1:1 to mean the following:
“In terms of 1:1 above, the Government of Sri Lanka can utilize State Land “in respect of a
reserved or concurrent subject.” However, this could only be done in compliance with the laws
passeu by Pailiament anu in consultation with the ielevant Piovincial Council, so that the
Government and the Provincial Council reach consensus with regard to the use of such ‘State
Land’.”
28


Justice Wanasundera’s decision adds nothing new to the above two judgments but simply reiterates the
fact that the juuiciaiy sees the State as having ultimate powei ovei all State lanu, anu the Piovincial
Councils being only able to exeicise the poweis in the Piovincial Council List on lanu which the State
chooses to allocate to them.
29


The Thiiteenth Amenument in anu of itself, even befoie this uecision was ienueieu, anu as was
highlighteu in these uecisions, seveiely hanuicaps any poweis the Piovincial Council woulu have ovei
lanu thiough Special Piovision S:4 which states:
“In the exercise of the powers devolved on them, the powers shall be exeiciseu by the Piovincial
Councils having uue iegaiu to the national policy foimulate by the National Lanu
Commission.”
Su


While the National Lanu Commission is iequiieu to have iepiesentatives fiom the Piovincial Councils
S1
,
it woulu cleaily be an agency uominateu by the State, but inteiestingly has yet to be establisheu. Peiiis
confiims this in his juugment on SC Appeal No.21¡1S when he states in iefeience to Paiagiaph S of
Appendix II: “It is apparent that Provincial Councils will have to be guideu by the uiiections issueu by the
National Lanu Commission anu this too ieinfoices the contention that State Lanus lie with the Centie
and not with Provincial Councils.”

In iefeience to State lanu, the Thiiteenth Amenument also sets out that uistiibution schemes of State
lanu shoulu be conuucteu on the basis of national ethnic iatios.
S2
Bowevei, impoitantly as a safeguaiu
foi aieas pieuominantly anu histoiically populateu by minoiities, it specifies that in allocating State

27
SC Appeal No. 21¡1S, Becision by Nohan Peiiis, }.
28
SC Appeal No. 21¡1S, Becision by Siipavan }.
29
SC Appeal No. 21¡1S, Becision by Wanasunueia }.
Su
Appenuix II – Lanu anu Lanu Settlement, Thiiteenth Amenument to the Constitution
S1
Appenuix II – Lanu anu Lanu Settlement, Thiiteenth Amenument to the Constitution
S2
Appenuix II – Lanu anu Lanu Settlement, Thiiteenth Amenument to the Constitution
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lanu, uistiibution schemes shoulu not seek to change uemogiaphic patteins oi communal
cohesiveness.
SS
This is impoitant to the Noith anu East. In light of the iecent Supieme Couit juugment
this aspect is ciitical, pioviuing a check ovei cential goveinment poweis ovei state lanu. The case of
Weli 0ya uiscusseu in this biief highlights ielevant questions in this iegaiu, iaising the question of
whethei lanu alienation in the aiea to Sinhala communities is aimeu at shifting uemogiaphics of the
aiea.

The political uimensions of the uevolution of lanu poweis cannot be ignoieu. The iecent Supieme Couit
uecision anu the NPC elections biing the issues back to the foie. The Supieme Couit uecision iaises
seiious conceins about whethei the goveinment plans to iecognise any ieal foim of uevolution. Recently
the goveinment also establisheu a Pailiamentaiy Select Committee (PSC) to look at the national issue of
powei uevolution. The main opposition paity, the 0niteu National Paity (0NP) anu the alliance with the
most numbei of seats iepiesenting the Noith anu East, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) uiu not
paiticipate in this piocess, theieby making it a stiuctuie with only actois fiom the goveinment anu its
allies. Suspicion has been cast on this piocess as anothei tactic by the goveinment to uelay fully
uevolving poweis pioviueu unuei the Thiiteenth Amenument anu in foimulating a political solution.
The lack of piogiess with the PSC highlights seiious flaws with it anu its inability to pioviue ieal
answeis to seiious issues.

The Supieme Couit uecision in combination with the lack of genuineness in goveinment piocesses
suiiounuing uevolution of lanu poweis unfoitunately leau to the piobability that the newly electeu NPC
will be unable to exeicise any legitimate action on matteis of lanu in the aiea. Sampui anu othei cases in
the East uemonstiate the inability of the Eastein Piovincial Council to play a significant iole in ueciuing
lanu issues in the aiea, a possible inuicatoi of things in stoie foi the Noith. The lanusliue victoiy by the
TNA in the Noith, winning Su out of the S8 seats in the NPC, is a cleai message that people want change
anu aie not swayeu by the goveinment ihetoiic of uevelopment. The victoiy anu moie so the inteiest
shown by the people in the aiea in ensuiing an oveiwhelming victoiy foi the TNA is also a cleai message
that full implementation of the Thiiteenth Amenument is a basic minimum. 0nfoitunately, iecent events
in Colombo, by the Executive anu the }uuiciaiy, inuicate a uiffeient minuset.

"D7>A #>C;=G8D;<: D78D ;= <F )>G>98:H>

(<8AP <F $:9>=DJ>:D [("$\ /HD
The Boaiu of Investment Act establishes the poweis anu iole of the Boaiu of Investment. As pei the
Ministry of Economic Development, “The BOI is the investment promotion agency of the Government of
Sii Lanka. Its main piioiities aie to attiact Foieign anu uomestic investment into the economy with the

SS
9:*$2
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objective of biinging in capital, cieating job oppoitunities anu encouiaging the uevelopment of new
skills.”
S4


->HD;<: LL/ of the Act enables the Piesiuent to ueclaieu a licenseu zone outsiue of the Aiea of Authoiity
which is set out in Scheuule A of this Act in oiuei to facilitate the functioning of the B0I.

s. 22A
(1) Wheie the Piesiuent is of the opinion that in any aiea, not incluueu in the Aiea of Authoiity, it
woulu be necessaiy to pioviue facilities oi impiovements foi the establishment of unueitakings by
licenseu enteipiises anu foi such puipose to enable the Boaiu to exeicise ceitain poweis unuei this
Law, he may, by 0iuei publisheu in the uazette, ueclaie such aiea to be a licenseu zone, anu specify
the bounuaiies of such zone.

(2) Wheie a licenseu zone is ueclaieu unuei subsection (1), no peison, bouy oi authoiity othei than
the Boaiu shall exeicise, peifoim anu uischaige any poweis, uuties anu functions ielating to the
appioval of builuing plans oi the planning, uevelopment oi impiovement unuei any wiitten law,
within such zone.

The iole of the Piesiuent in such a piocess is notable, especially since it is the Ninistei who plays a iole
pioviueu unuei the Lanu Acquisition Act (uiscusseu above). This has been seen in the case of Sampui
wheie a gazette notice was issueu in 2u1S unuei Section 22A by the Piesiuent. The immunity enjoyeu by
the Piesiuent while in office makes it haiuei to challenge acts by the Piesiuent anu begs the question
whethei such poweis pioviueu by the B0I Act is to pievent affecteu communities fiom challenging acts
unuei Section 22A. Although this may be the case, the piocess foi acquisition of lanu is via the Lanu
Acquisition Act as noteu below-


Section. 28
(1) Wheie any lanu oi any inteiest any lanu is iequiieu by the Boaiu foi any of its puiposes, that lanu
oi inteiest theiein may be acquiieu unuei the Lanu Acquisition Act by the uoveinment foi the Boaiu
anu the piovisions of that Act shall, save as otheiwise pioviueu in subsection (2) of this section, apply
foi the puiposes of the acquisition of that lanu, oi inteiest theiein. Such lanu oi such inteiest theiein
shall, foi the puiposes of the Lanu Acquisition Act, be ueemeu to be iequiieu foi a public puipose.

(2) In the case of any such acquisition wheie the public notice of the intention to acquiie that lanu oi
inteiest theiein is publisheu as iequiieu by the Lanu Acquisition Act at any time within the peiiou of
thiee yeais commencing fiom the uate of coming into opeiation of section 4 of this Law,

S4
Boaiu of Investment of Sii Lanka, Ninistiy of Economic Bevelopment:
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notwithstanuing anything to the contiaiy in the Lanu Acquisition Act, the maiket value of the lanu oi
the inteiest theiein shall be ueemeu to be the maiket value which the lanu oi the inteiest theiein
woulu have hau on }uly 22, 1977, incieaseu by a ieasonable amount on account of impiovements, if
any, effecteu to such lanu, aftei that uate.

In combination, Section 22A anu Section 28 make it veiy cleai that any zone uemaicateu by the B0I
cannot be consiueieu acquiieu lanu unless foimal acquisition pioceuuies as pei the Lanu Acquisition
Act have been followeu. Consequently, any zones cieateu by the B0I cannot in any way on theii own
piecluue lanu owneis fiom accessing anu using theii lanu in such zones. This is an impoitant point to
iecall in the context of the Sampui case stuuy uiscusseu in this biief.

5AK8: 1>9>G<TJ>:D /RD7<A;DI #8E

The 0iban Bevelopment Authoiity Law No 6u2 of 1981 as amenueu (0BA Law) was establisheu to
piomote economic, social anu physical uevelopment in key aieas uesignateu by the Ninistei.

->HD;<: O of the UDA Law permits the Minister in charge of the subject to designate areas as ‘Urban
Development Areas’ which initiates economic and physical development of said area.
S. S
(1) Wheie the Ninistei is of opinion that any aiea is suitable foi uevelopment, the Ninistei may, by
0iuei publisheu in the uazette, ueclaie such aiea to be an 0iban Bevelopment Aiea (heieinaftei
iefeiieu to as a " uevelopment aiea ").
(2) An 0iuei unuei subsection (1) ueclaiing an aiea as a uevelopment aiea shall uefine that aiea by
setting out the metes anu bounus of such aiea.
(S) The Authoiity shall uevelop eveiy uevelopment aiea foi the bettei physical anu economic
utilization of such aiea.

->HD;<: N] of the 0BA Law sets out that the only way the 0BA can acquiie lanu is thiough following
piopei pioceuuies of the Lanu Acquisition Act, ensuiing that the establisheu piocess of acquisition is to
be useu if lanu is to be acquiieu unuei the 0BA Law.
S. 16
(1) Wheie any lanu oi any inteiest in lanu in any aiea ueclaieu as a uevelopment aiea unuei
subsection (1) of section S is iequiieu by the Authoiity foi any of its puiposes, that lanu oi inteiest
theiein may be acquiieu unuei the Lanu Acquisition Act by the uoveinment foi the Authoiity anu the
piovisions of that Act shall, save as otheiwise pioviueu in subsection (2) of this section, apply foi the
puiposes of the acquisition of that lanu oi the inteiest theiein. Such lanu oi inteiest theiein shall foi
the puiposes of the Lanu Acquisition Act be ueemeu to be iequiieu foi a public puipose.
SS


SS
The iemainuei of S. 16 ieaus:
(2) In the case of any such acquisition wheie the public notice of the intention to acquiie that lanu oi
inteiest theiein is publisheu as iequiieu by the Lanu Acquisition Act at any time within a peiiou of five
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Cuiiently the 0iban Bevelopment Authoiity falls unuei the Ninistiy of Befence anu 0iban Bevelopment,
a poitfolio unuei the Piesiuent anu his youngei biothei, uotabaya Rajapaksa, the Secietaiy of Befense.
S6

The linkage of the subjects of uefence with uiban uevelopment in the post wai context iaises many
questions incluuing why two veiy uiffeient poitfolios- secuiity anu uiban planning- have been to be
meigeu. It also iaises the question as to why a foimei militaiy official shoulu be the key civil
auministiatoi in this ministiy, anothei inuicatoi of the incieaseu militaiisation in goveinance in post
wai Sii Lanka. Nilitaiisation is a key factoi that iequiies uigent attention anu questions iemain as to
why such a tienu peisists moie than foui yeais aftei the enu of the wai. This has been noteu by
domestic processes such as the Government’s own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission
(LLRC), the Resolution passeu by the 0niteu Nations Buman Rights Council anu most iecently by the
0niteu Nations Bigh Commissionei foi Buman Rights. CPA has pieviously noteu that this is a key
impeuiment to a political solution anu ieconciliation anu ieiteiates the call foi immeuiate
uemilitaiisation incluuing ensuiing goveinance anu auministiation iemaining with the civilian
auministiation.

,<E: 8:P %<R:DAI !G8::;:C "AP;:8:H>

The Town anu Countiy Planning 0iuinance of 1946 as amenueu is applicable only to piivate lanus anu is
“an ordinance to authoiise the foimulation anu implementation of a national physical planning policy;
the making anu implementation of a national physical plan with the object of piomoting anu iegulating
integiateu planning of economic, social, physical anu enviionmental aspects of land in Sri Lanka.”
S7

Under this Ordinance, the Minister is able to gazette lands as ‘urban development areas’, ‘trunk road
development areas’ or ‘regional development areas’, following which Section 47 of the Ordinance lays
out the following seveie iestiictions on use of that lanu
S8
, saying that no peison without peimission can:
(a) eiect, ie-eiect, uemolish, altei oi iepaii any stiuctuie in that aiea; oi

yeais commencing fiom the uate of publication in the uazette of the 0iuei unuei subsection (1) of
section S ueclaiing an aiea as a uevelopment aiea, notwithstanuing anything to the contiaiy in the
Lanu Acquisition Act, the maiket value of the lanu oi the inteiest theiein foi the puipose of
ueteimining the amount of compensation to be paiu in iespect of that lanu oi the inteiest theiein shall
be ueemeu to be the maiket value which that lanu oi the inteiest theiein woulu have hau on the uate
of publication in the uazette of the 0iuei unuei subsection (1) of section S ueclaiing such aiea as a
uevelopment aiea unuei this Law, incieaseu by fifty pei centum of the uiffeience between that maiket
value anu
(a) in the case of any lanu oi inteiest theiein, in iespect of which no 0iuei unuei the pioviso to
section S8 of the Lanu Acquisition Act has been maue, the maiket value of the lanu oi inteiest
theiein on the uate of publication in the uazette of the notice unuei section 7 of that Act; oi
(b) in the case of any lanu oi inteiest theiein, in iespect of which an 0iuei unuei the pioviso to-
section S8 of the Lanu Acquisition Act has been maue, the maiket value of the lanu oi inteiest
theiein on the uate of publication of such 0iuei.
S6
http:¡¡www.uua.lk¡ last visiteu on S1 August 2u1S
S7
Town anu Countiy Planning 0iuinance 1946
S8
Centre for Policy Alternatives, “Brief Note: Legal Framework Governing Places of Religious Worship”
Apiil 2u12; accesseu heie: http:¡¡www.cpalanka.oig¡biief-note-legal-fiamewoik-goveining-places-of-
ieligious-woiship-in-sii-lanka¡
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(b) lay out, constiuct, wiuen, extenu oi close, oi attempt to lay out, constiuct, wiuen, extenu, oi
close, any ioau, in that aiea; oi
(c) uevelop any lanu in that aiea, oi subuiviue, convey, assign oi otheiwise uispose of oi ueal
with any such lanu, in such mannei as to constitute any pait of the lanu into a sepaiate
holuing.
S9


0nce lanu is gazetteu, a National Physical Plan is foimulateu foi the aiea, anu if the plan iequiies, the
Ninistei may acquiie the lanu unuei the Lanu Acquisition Act, as pei Section S8 of the 0iuinance.
4u
It is
impoitant to note that theie have been iecent instances wheie lanu is zoneu unuei the 0iuinance as an
“Urban Development Area” but then referred to as a ‘sacred area,’ with the true intent being a religious
puipose.
41
Bemonstiating this intention to use the 0iuinance foi ieligious puiposes, an Amenument bill
was intiouuced in 2011 that would allow private land areas to be zoned as ‘sacred areas’ by the
0iuinance.
42
Foitunately, it was withuiawn in Pailiament following a case wheie CPA challengeu the bill
on the giounus it was not submitteu fiist to the Piovincial Councils.
4S
Bowevei, the amenument speaks
to the natuie of the 0iuinance anu the oppoitunity within the 0iuinance foi vague zoning teims to be
misuseu by the uoveinment. It is impeiative that the 0iuinance be ie-visiteu anu amenueu to claiify
teiminology anu cieate a bettei system of iegulation of its use.

These laws anu seveial otheis
44
ensuie that the piocess pioviueu in the Lanu Acquisition Act aie to be
auheieu to foi any acquisition that is to take place by the uoveinment anu its agents. Any uiveision fiom
this foimal piocess is illegal. This biief challenges seveial of the cuiient initiatives by the goveinment
anu its agents on the basis of legality, with questions iaiseu as to whethei the acquisitions in question
aie in effect auheiing to the piocess anu stanuaiu pioviueu in the establisheu legislation. The numeious
questions anu uisciepancies of such piocesses begs the question of whethei the inability to auheie to the
establisheu legal fiamewoik is not meiely ignoiance of the legal fiamewoik anu systems in place but a
much moie funuamental question of uisiegaiuing the iule of law in Sii Lanka.

*J>AC>:HI )>CRG8D;<:=

It is impoitant to note the iole of Emeigency Regulations anu similai legislation in facilitating the abuse
of establisheu lanu acquisition piocesses. Since 1971, with few exceptions, Sii Lanka has constantly been
in a state of emeigency, facilitateu by the Public Secuiity 0iuinance of 1947, anu moie iecently, the
Pievention of Teiioiism Act of 1979. In this State of Emeigency, the Sii Lankan goveinment has hau
bioau poweis to enact emeigency iegulations notwithstanuing othei laws. These emeigency iegulations

S9
Town anu Countiy Planning 0iuinance 1946
4u
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, “Brief Note: Legal Framework Governing Places of Religious Worship”
Apiil 2u12
41
9:*$2
42
9:*$2
4S
9:*$2
44
Roau Bevelopment Authoiity Act No 7S of 1981
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have leu to an incieaseu militaiisation of the countiy, seen foi example, with the establishment of
seveial Bigh-Secuiity Zones, paiticulaily in the East, Colombo anu Kanuy. As will be uiscusseu fuithei in
the }affna case stuuy, this militaiisation in tuin has leu to lanu acquisitions with a highly questionable
public puipose.

0n S1 August 2u11, the Sii Lankan goveinment finally lifteu the state of emeigency ueclaieu unuei the
Public Secuiity 0iuinance by allowing the emeigency iegulations to expiie.
4S
Bowevei, at the same time,
the goveinment bioaueneu poweis unuei the PTA anu enacteu tough iegulations that in many ways
continueu the existence of a state of emeigency without the legal checks anu balances that come along
with a ueclaiation unuei the Public Secuiity 0iuinance.
46


Nonetheless, the iepeal of emeigency iegulations in August 2u11 teiminateu the legal basis foi the
existence of Bigh-Secuiity Zones acioss Sii Lanka. This howevei has not been tiue in piactice anu the
military continues to control wide swathes of land that were formerly HSZs, denying access to the land’s
tiue owneis. In seveial cases CPA has noteu the use of BSZs in aieas of the Noith, although theie is no
legal basis foi the existence of such zones. Emeiging out of this is also the alaiming pattein of lanu
acquisitions by the goveinment to establish a peimanent militaiy piesence in such aieas, with
purported ‘public purposes’ ranging from building a military base to developing a military-iun hotel.
47

This incieasing militaiisation aftei the wai by the Sii Lankan goveinment in spite of expiieu emeigency
iegulations, casts seiious uoubt on whethei the goveinment is tiuly acting with public puipose oi in the
public tiust. In oiuei to move towaius an effective anu sustainable uemociacy, it is ciucial that the
goveinment iepeals the PTA anu iefiains fiom enacting any fuithei emeigency-type legislation.
48


,7> )>VR;=;D;<:;:C <F #8:P /HD

An antiquateu Act that is no longei useu but functionally still legal is the Requisitioning of Lanu Act. This
Act gives the President the power to approve possession of any lands by “competent authorities” for a
time uesignateu by the Piesiuent that can be extenueu inuefinitely.
49
While theie aie no known cases
wheie the Act is useu, its meie piesence iaises conceins whethei it can be useu at any given time.
Fuithei, it violates funuamental piinciples of justice as unlike the Lanu Acquisition Act theie is not even
a limitation of requiring the “competent authority” to be acting in the public purpose. In fact, the Act lists

4S
CPA Statement on the Teimination of the State of Emeigency, 28 August 2u11
46
Centre for Policy Alternatives, “The Need to Repeal and Replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act
(PTA),” 9 May 201S; accesseu heie: http:¡¡www.cpalanka.oig¡the-neeu-to-iepeal-anu-ieplace-the-
pievention-of-teiioiism-act-pta¡
47
Fielu Repoit: }affna anu Kilinochchi Bistiicts, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Apiil 2u1S
48
This was moie iecently ieiteiateu by the 0N Bigh Commissionei foi Buman Rights-
http:¡¡www.ohchi.oig¡EN¡NewsEvents¡Pages¡Neuia.aspx.IsNeuiaPage=tiue&LangIB=E, last visiteu
on S1 August 2u1S
49
Requisitioning of Lanu Act, Section 2
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S 29
www.cpalanka.oig
very broad and disconnected purposes for which the President can authorise a “competent authority” to
possess saiu lanu.
Su
It is iecommenueu that this Act be immeuiately iepealeu.

%<:H>TD= D< H<:=;P>A FA<J <D7>A %<JJ<:E>8GD7 ZRA;=P;HD;<:=

This section pioviues a biief examination of ceitain concepts conceining lanu acquisitions that aie
applieu in othei Commonwealth countiies, aspects that shoulu be consiueieu in the Sii Lankan context.
This is by no means an exhaustive analysis of the legal systems in all Commonwealth countiies but
highlights a few piinciples fiom select countiies. In paiticulai, this biief commenus Inuia on theii iecent
passage of a ievolutionaiy law conceining lanu acquisitions that will hopefully spaik a seiious
uiscussion of lanu policy iefoim in Sii Lanka.

$:P;8

0n 27 Septembei 2u1S, the Piesiuent of Inuia gave his appioval to the J@0 Q*?@, ,- ;"*5 G-EA0#+",*-#
"#$ J5"#+A"50#'= *# !"#$ &'()*+*,*-#. Q0@":*1*,",*-# "#$ Q0+0,,10E0#, D*11, UVKO, tuining the histoiic bill
into law.
S1
The giounubieaking natuie of the legislation is most cleai in its pieamble:
An Act to ensuie, in consultation with institutions of local self-goveinment anu uiam Sabhas
establisheu unuei the Constitution, a humane, paiticipative, infoimeu anu tianspaient piocess
foi lanu acquisition foi inuustiialization, uevelopment of essential infiastiuctuie facilities anu
uibanization with the least uistuibance to the owneis of the lanu anu othei affecteu families anu
pioviue just anu faii compensation to the affecteu families whose lanu has been acquiieu oi
pioposeu to be acquiieu oi aie affecteu by such acquisition anu make auequate piovisions foi
such affecteu peisons foi theii iehabilitation anu iesettlement anu foi ensuiing that the
cumulative outcome of compulsoiy acquisition shoulu be that affecteu peisons become paitneis
in uevelopment leauing to an impiovement in theii post acquisition social anu economic status
anu foi matteis connecteu theiewith oi inciuental theieto.
S2


The law seives as an example to many othei countiies aiounu the woilu, incluuing Sii Lanka, of how to
align lanu acquisitions coiiectly with public puipose. While this iepoit cannot examine in full uetail all
of the innovative anu piogiessive aspects of this law, the biief woulu like to uiaw attention in paiticulai
to Chaptei II: Beteimination of Social Impact anu Public Puipose. Section 4(1) of Chaptei II of the law
sets out:

Su
9:*$2
S1
“President gives no to Land Acquisition Bill,” 27 September 2013, The Hindu, accessed here:
http:¡¡www.thehinuu.com¡news¡national¡piesiuent-gives-nou-to-lanu-acquisition-
bill¡aiticleS17S768.ece
S2
J@0 Q*?@, ,- ;"*5 G-EA0#+",*-# "#$ J5"#+A"50#'= *# !"#$ &'()*+*,*-#. Q0@":*1*,",*-# "#$ Q0+0,,10E0#,
&',. UVKO W-2OV -> UVKO. uazette of Inuia Extiaoiuinaiy, 2u1S¡Asvina S, No. 4u, 27 Septembei 2u1S,
accesseu heie: http:¡¡www.pisinuia.oig¡uploaus¡meuia¡Recent%2uActs¡LARR%2uAct,%2u2u1S.puf
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S Su
www.cpalanka.oig
4. (1) Whenevei the appiopiiate uoveinment intenus to acquiie lanu foi a public puipose, it
shall consult the conceineu Panchayat, Nunicipality oi Nunicipal Coipoiation, as the case may
be, at village level oi waiu level, in the affecteu aiea anu caiiy out a Social Impact Assessment
stuuy in consultation with them, in such mannei anu fiom such uate as may be specifieu by such
uoveinment by notification.
SS


The Chaptei goes on to set out ciiteiia that must be assesseu in the Social Impact Assessment anu
impoitantly these incluue: an analysis of whethei the acquisition will actually seive a public puipose; an
estimate of the affecteu families anu possible uisplacement; whethei the acquisition is as minimally
impaiiing as possible; anu whethei theie is a possible alteinate location foi the acquisition.
S4
It shoulu
also be noteu that this assessment applies to almost all foims of lanu acquisition incluuing those
acquiieu foi puiposes of national secuiity (naval, militaiy, etc.), infiastiuctuie, anu public-piivate
paitneiships.
SS
Fuithei, the law states that consent is iequiieu fiom 8u% of uisplaceu people in cases of
public-piivate paitneiships.
S6
This component woulu be paiticulaily ielevant to uevelopment piojects in
Sii Lanka. This biief woulu submit that the Sii Lankan goveinment in iefoims of the Lanu Acquisition
Act shoulu auopt this manuatoiy Social Impact Assessment.

-<RD7 /FA;H8

The South Afiican goveinment consiueieu auvancing ieconciliation when uiafting laws post-apaitheiu
anu this is ieflecteu in the South Afiican HSA5-A5*",*-# D*11. UVVX which is one piece of legislation
featured in South Africa’s ongoing debate concerning land acquisitions.
S7
Section 1u of the Act sets out
the ciiteiia that the goveinment must consiuei when ueteimining whethei to expiopiiate lanu. In
auuition to the benefit of setting out cleai ciiteiia, Section 1u also impoitantly foices the goveinment to
consider, “the need for land, water and related reform in order to redress the results of past racial
discrimination.”
S8


%8:8P8

In Canada, every province has its own ‘Expropriation Act’ in addition to the Federal ‘Expropriation Act’
but this analysis will look solely at the Federal ‘Expropriation Act’. Similai to Sii Lanka, the Feueial
‘Expropriation Act’ sets out that lanu may be acquired whether it is required for a ‘public purpose’ but
also where it may be required for a ‘public works’.
S9
Nost expiopiiation cases in Canaua iefei to
situations wheie the goveinment is attempting to acquiie Aboiiginal lanus anu uo not challenge

SS
9:*$2
S4
9:*$2
SS
9:*$2
S6
9:*$2
S7
Expiopiiation Bill, B16 – 2uu8, Republic of South Afiica, accesseu heie:
http:¡¡www.pmg.oig.za¡files¡bills¡u8u416b16-u8.puf
S8
9:*$2
S9
Expiopiiation Act, RSC, 198S, c. E-21, s 4(1).
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S S1
www.cpalanka.oig
whether the land is truly being acquired for a ‘public purpose’ but rather focus on the fiduciary duty
oweu by the goveinment to Aboiiginal peoples. In F-+-=-+ 9#$*"# D"#$ 3 F1*305 PUVVKR. the Canauian
Supreme Court decided, ““…once it has been determined that an expiopiiation of Inuian lanus is in the
public inteiest, a fiuuciaiy uuty aiises on the pait of the Ciown to expiopiiate oi giant only the
minimum inteiest iequiieu in oiuei to fulfill that public puipose, thus ensuiing a minimal impaiiment of
the use and enjoyment of Indian lands by the band.”
6u
This fiuuciaiy uuty in Canauian law is analogous to
the idea of a ‘public trust doctrine’ in Sri Lankan law. Ultimately, the Sri Lankan government should
incoipoiate the iuea of a fiuuciaiy uuty in theii piactice of lanu acquisitions uue to the paiticulai
vulneiability of the gioup of people affecteu anu the inheient natuie of expiopiiation. Applying this
fiuuciaiy uuty, the goveinment shoulu consiuei the best inteiests of the inuiviuuals affecteu, anu only
take the minimum amount of lanu iequiieu to seive the public puipose anu not any moie. The best
inteiests of the inuiviuuals can be ueteimineu by viewing the guiuing piinciples of the Sii Lankan
constitution founu in Section 27, anu paiticulaily ielevant to this case, Section 27 (2) (c) which sets out
the iight to auequate housing.
61






















6u
F+-=--+ 9#$*"# D"#$ 3 F1*305 PJ-I#R. 2uu1 SCC 8S at paia S2.
61
The Constitution of the Bemociatic Socialist Republic of Sii Lanka.
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S S2
www.cpalanka.oig
%78TD>A L – !<G;HI +A8J>E<A?
As uiscusseu in the pievious chaptei, the goveining legal fiamewoik on lanu acquisitions in Sii Lanka is
the Lanu Acquisition Act. Seveial othei laws have ielevance iegaiuing lanu acquisitions. which also neeu
to be factoieu in when uiscussing acquisitions in Sii Lanka. In auuition to the legal fiamewoik howevei,
it is also impoitant to examine the policy uimension anu how it influences the implementation of the law
anu uevelopments on the giounu. This is paiticulaily impoitant given the appaient confusion in
goveinment policy on lanu acquisitions.

In a document posted to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Resettlement’s website in July of 2u1S entitleu the
‘Draft Resettlement Policy’, the confusion is appaient. Section 9 of the uocument states “Lanu owneu by
IBPs anu ietuinee iefugees iuentifieu as iequiieu foi public puiposes will only be acquiieu thiough uue
legal process.”
62
This pioviues no reference to what the government considers ‘due legal process’ and as
will be highlighteu in this policy biief, theie cleaily appeais to be a uisconnect between the
government’s understanding of ‘due legal process’ with respect to land acquisitions and the case law.

This Chaptei will theiefoie biiefly ieview the ielevant policy options peitaining to lanu acquisition in Sii
Lanka, anu the impact of theii implementation oi lack theieof. Foi an analysis of inteinational policy
ielevant to the issue of lanu acquisitions in Sii Lanka, please iefei to Annex I.

/HD<A=

Befoie uelving into the actual policy it is necessaiy to highlight the vaiious actois involveu in Lanu
Acquisition piocesses. A key tienu to note is the centialisation of powei anu the consequent impoitance
of cential goveinment actois in lanu auministiation, policy, uecision-making anu contiol. In paiticulai,
the cential goveinment plays a significant iole with iegaiu to iesettlement, acquisition anu uevelopment
of lanu in the Noithein anu Eastein piovinces. Also notewoithy is the militaiisation of uecision making
anu the involvement of the uefence establishment on issues ielateu to lanu in the Noith anu East.

!A>=;P>:D

As demonstrated by the President’s ministerial portfolio, wide powers remain with him incluuing those
that have a ielevance ovei lanu. Notably. aftei the Eighteenth Amenument. the Piesiuent is also in

62
The policy can be accesseu heie:
http:¡¡www.google.ca¡uil.sa=t&ict=j&q=&esic=s&souice=web&cu=2&veu=uCBEQFjAB&uil=http%SA
%2F%2Fwww.iesettlementmin.gov.lk%2Fuownloau%2FEnglish%2S2u-
A%2S2uFRANEW0RK%2S2uF0R%2S2uRESETTLENENT%2S2uP0LICY%2S2uupuateu%2S2uon%2S
2u29-u7-2u1S.uocx&ei=}et-
0szSuaemyguwk4uIAw&usg=AFQjCNu_6IN9y8}R9BAB}lh_BBeQfBhwSw&sig2=Y49E28lKuc62zW4IFx
PwlQ&bvm=bv.S61468S4,u.aWc
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S SS
www.cpalanka.oig
chaige of all juuicial appointmentsY This uiiectly affects the outcome of seveial of the ongoing cases
challenging lanu acquisitions.
6S


)>G>98:D ^;:;=DA;>=

A biief look at positions in key ministiies highlights that powei is heavily centializeu in a few key
inuiviuuals, none moie impoitant than the Piesiuent himself who peisonally has contiol ovei seveial
ministeiial poitfolios that uiiectly affect lanu issues.

^;:;=D>A F<A #8:P= 8:P #8:P 1>9>G<TJ>:D: This Ninistei has the poweis of the Lanu Commissionei
ueneial, Bepaitment of Lanu Settlement anu Bepaitment of Lanu 0se Policy Planning among othei
poweis.
64


^;:;=D>A <F 1>F>:H> 8:P 5AK8: 1>9>G<TJ>:D: The Ninistiy of Befence anu 0iban Bevelopment is
aiguably the most poweiful ministiy in Sii Lanka. Cuiiently the Piesiuent is the Ninistei of Befence anu
0iban Bevelopment, while his biothei, uotabaya Rajapaksha, is the Secietaiy to the Ninistiy of Befence.
Togethei they holu contiol ovei the Sii Lankan Aimy, Navy, Aii Foice, Bepaitment of Registiation of
Peisons, Bepaitment of Police, 0iban Bevelopment Authoiity anu Bepaitment of Coast Conseivation.
6S

The giouping of 0iban Bevelopment with Befence iaises seveial questions about the militaiisation of
uevelopment in the countiyY

^;:;=D>A <F +;:8:H>: The Piesiuent also holus the position of Ninistei of Finance anu thus contiol=
seveial key financial institutions anu the finances of the countiy, theieby exeicising contiol ovei othei
line ministiies incluuing lanu.
66


^;:;=D>A <F *H<:<J;H 1>9>G<TJ>:D: The Ninistei of Economic Bevelopment is anothei biothei of the
Piesiuent, Basil Rajapaksa, who has poweis ovei economic uevelopment anu conseivation which impact
lanu.
67


^878E>G; /RD7<A;DI

As will be seen in the Weli 0ya case stuuy, the Nahaweli Authoiity is an impoitant actoi in lanu
uevelopment thioughout Sii Lanka. The Nahaweli Authoiity gives the Ninistei in chaige expansive
poweis to uevelop aieas connecteu to the Nahaweli watei system anu iivei basins.
68
Paiticulaily

6S
9:*$2
64
Bhavani Fonseka & Niiak Raheem, Lanu in the Noithein Piovince: Post-Wai Politics, Policy anu
Piactices, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11
6S
9:*$2
66
9:*$2
67
9:*$2
68
Nahaweli Authoiity of Sii Lanka, http:¡¡www.mahaweli.gov.lk
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S S4
www.cpalanka.oig
ielevant to this iepoit, is its System L. which incluues Weli 0ya anu coveis an aiea of 16S.S9S hectaies.
System L was officially given to the Nahaweli Authoiity in 1988, but as the Weli 0ya case stuuy
highlights, much of the iesettlement in the aiea began befoie the official uesignation of the lanu as a
“special area” under the Mahaweli Authority.
69
The Nahaweli Authoiity has bioau poweis incluuing
alienation of state lanu, holuing lanu kachcheiis anu issuing uocuments. It is theiefoie impoitant to
ciitically examine the piactices of the Nahaweli Authoiity.
7u
As will be uiscusseu in the Weli 0ya case
stuuy, it is cleai that ceitain aspects of the Nahaweli Bevelopment Scheme aie being useu to piomote
ieuistiibution of ethnic gioups within the scheme.

!A>=;P>:D;8G ,8=? +<AH> [!,+\

The PTF is the piime example of the centialisation of powei ovei activities in the Noith. The bouy was
cieateu in 2uu9 by the Piesiuent anu incluues the Ninistei foi Economic Bevelopment, the Secietaiy of
Befense, the Aimy Commanuei anu the Noithein Piovince uoveinoi among its 19 membeis. Appioval
from the PTF is required for all activities in the North and it is mandated to “prepare the strategic plans,
piogiammes foi iesettlement of inteinally uisplaceu peisons, economic uevelopment anu social
infrastructure of the Northern Province.”
71
It shoulu be noteu that given its bioau poweis, the PTF
shoulu be gazetteu oi enacteu by the legislatuie, but it is uncleai whethei eithei has occuiieu, anu thus
whethei it has a valiu legal basis.
72
The PTF has hau a significant impact on the activities of Nu0s,
humanitaiian agencies anu othei civil society actois who have to apply to the PTF foi peimission to
conuuct activities.
7S
With the election of the NPC, it is to be seen whethei the PTF will play an active iole
in the Noith.

!A<9;:H;8G %<R:H;G=

Accoiuing to the

Thiiteenth Amenument, Piovincial Councils weie allocateu ceitain poweis ovei lanu, as
uiscusseu in the pievious chaptei. In a iecent uecision howevei, the Supieme Couit of Sii Lanka in SC
Appeal No. 21¡1S, stiictly limiteu those poweis, essentially saying that the Piovincial Councils will only
have poweis ovei lanu, which the cential goveinment allocates to them.
74
The uecision follows the
iecently helu NPC elections wheie the TNA achieveu a iesounuing victoiy, with lanu being a ciucial
issue.
7S
In an inteiview, the newly electeu Chief Ninistei of the NPC, C.v Wigneswaian, stateu
unequivocally in iesponse to the question of lanu:

69
Bhavani Fonseka & Niiak Raheem, Lanu in the Noithein Piovince: Post-Wai Politics, Policy anu
Piactices, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11
7u
9:*$2
71
Bhavani Fonseka & Niiak Raheem, Lanu in the Noithein Piovince: Post-Wai Politics, Policy anu
Piactices, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11
72
9:*$2
7S
9:*$2
74
SC Appeal No. 21¡1S, Becision by Nohan Peiiis, }
7S
http:¡¡www.uailymiiioi.lk¡news¡infogiaphics¡S6u78-piovincial-council-elections-2u1S--iesults-
anu-piefeiential-votes-noithein-piovince.html
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S SS
www.cpalanka.oig
“Police and land powers should be granted to the local people first…Their lands have been taken
ovei by the aimy, they aie unable to get back to theii oiiginal positions, they live in makeshift
houses, theie is cultuial uegiauation. Bow can law anu oiuei be in the hanus of people not
indigenous to an area?”
76

The uevolution of poweis ovei lanu to the Piovincial Councils is an extiemely impoitant issue that iaises
serious questions about the legitimacy of the Provincial Councils’ poweis anu the intentions of the
cential goveinment.

^;G;D8AI
Foui yeais aftei the wai has enueu, the militaiy continues to have a laige piesence in the Noith anu East
uespite continueu calls foi uemilitaiisation by the local anu inteinational community. The military’s
piesence is not simply limiteu to secuiity activities eitheiY Incieasingly the militaiy appeais to be
expanuing its contiol ovei auministiative activities. In the context of lanu, many instances of lanu
acquisitions ovei the last two yeais have centred on land being taken for a ‘military purpose’ with
militaiy peisonnel contiolling access to the lanu. This is uiscusseu in uetail latei in this biief. Fuithei,
the militaiy exeits its powei at the highest level thiough the involvement of the Secietaiy of Befence in
key uecision-making bouies in Sii Lanka. The militaiy is not peiceiveu as a neutial actoi anu theii
piesence in auministiative ioles fuithei antagonises anu maiginalises minoiity communities.

1;=DA;HD 8:P #<H8G /HD<A=

Theie aie many actois at the uistiict anu local level that play key ioles in lanu auministiation howevei;
the powei ovei lanu acquisitions iemains stiongly centializeu.

1;=DA;HD ->HA>D8AIU The Bistiict Secietaiy (also iefeiieu to as the uoveinment Agent) is in chaige of all
auministiative seivices foi theii uistiict, anu plays an impoitant iole cooiuinating activities.
77


1;9;=;<:8G ->HA>D8AI: The Bivisional Secietaiy is a position that has significant contiol ovei lanu
auministiation in the piovinces without being accountable to the Piovincial Councils, anu in many ways
seiving as an extension of Piesiuential powei.
78


#<H8G /RD7<A;D;>= [^R:;H;T8G %<R:H;G=. 5AK8: %<R:H;G= 8:P !A8P>=7;I8 -8K78=\U These authoiities
have limiteu powei ovei lanu, as the cential goveinment continues to holu tight iein ovei any issues
peitaining to lanu.
79



76
http:¡¡www.hinuustantimes.com¡comment¡inteiviewsnews¡sii-lankan-issue-being-useu-by-tn-foi-
political-gains-says-justice-cv-wigneswaian¡aiticle1-1u9S241.aspx
77
Bhavani Fonseka & Niiak Raheem, Lanu in the Noithein Piovince: Post-Wai Politics, Policy anu
Piactices, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11
78
9:*$2
79
9:*$2
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S S6
www.cpalanka.oig
#8:P %;AHRG8A LMNO_MN

Before delving into the issues of land acquisition specifically, it is necessary to examine the government’s
geneial lanu policy issues with iespect to the Noith anu East. While the goveinment ieleaseu a Lanu
Ciiculai in 2u11, aftei much ciiticism anu a challenge in Couit, it was withuiawn anu a new Lanu
Circular was release in January 2013 entitled ‘Accelerated Programme on Solving Post Conflict State
Lanus Issues in the Northern and Eastern Provinces’.
8u
While the new Ciiculai is an impiovement of the
2u11 Ciiculai, theie aie seveial pioblems with the Ciiculai that iequiie attention.
A key concein with the Circular is the notion of ‘lost lands’ under 2.2.1.2. The Circular sets out “a
number of scenarios through which land can be ‘lost’ such as lands being vacated or the
occupants chased away during the conflict; being used for ‘development activities under
government institutions and armed forces’ and ‘where other people have peimanently settleu
on those lands’.”
81

! It is of especial concern that the Circular fails to define what constitutes ‘development
activities’ clearly and that it attributes such activities as capable of being conducted by
goveinment institutions anu "5E0$ >-5'0+. This points once again to the incieasing
militaiisation of uevelopment activities, which aie tiauitionally ioles fulfilleu by civil
auministiatois. The ambiguity also appeais to leave ioom foi the goveinment to
maneuvei aiounu the iequiiements of the Lanu Acquisition Act anu the 0iban
Development Authority law when taking land for purported ‘development’ projects, as
there is no mention of ‘public purpose’ here. Fuithei, this vague mention of
‘development’ may be expansive enough to include what woulu noimally be seen as
commeicial enteipiises such as the inuustiial zone cuiiently being uevelopeu in
Sampui.
The Circular also implies that if land is ‘lost’ in one of the methods mentioned, then an
acquisition piocess is to commence. This iaises seiious conceins. as it appeais to imply that
land being ‘lost’ in one of the ways mentioned provides sufficient ‘public purpose’ under the
Lanu Acquisition Act.
82

The Ciiculai also appeais in section 2.2.1.2 to piioiitize uevelopment piojects ovei the issue of
landlessness. This again raises concerns about the true intent of the ‘public purpose’ and
whethei acquisition can occui in such scenaiios.
8S

Finally, with iespect to the issues outlineu in this iepoit, the Ciiculai fails to pioviue a
mechanism foi appeals of inuiviuuals who ieceive unsatisfactoiy oi pioblematic outcomes
through the Circular’s policies.
84


8u
Foi full commentaiy by CPA on 2u1S Ciiculai see: Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Commentaiy on
Acceleiateu Piogiamme on Solving Post Conflict State Lanu Issues in the Noithein anu Eastein
Piovinces, Naich 2u1S. Access heie: http:¡¡www.cpalanka.oig¡commentaiy-on-acceleiateu-
piogiamme-on-solving-post-conflict-state-lanus-issues-in-the-noithein-anu-eastein-piovinces¡
81
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82
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These conceins have been iaiseu by CPA anu shaieu with key goveinment actois.
8S
Repoits fiom aieas
in the Noith inuicate that the Ciiculai is being implementeu but theie is limiteu infoimation as to
piogiess maue anu as to whethei the Ciiculai is able to auuiess some conceins on the giounu. While
conceins with some aspects of the Ciiculai have been iaiseu anu highlighteu heie, the salient aspects of
it incluuing holuing lanu kachcheiis anu that initiatives aie to be leau by the civilian auministiation anu
not militaiy neeu to be noteu.

08D;<:8G $:9<GR:D8AI )>=>DDG>J>:D !<G;HI

The National Involuntaiy Resettlement Policy (NIRP) is a goveinment policy that has specific ielevance
to lanu acquisition. The NIRP was auopteu in 2uu1 but has not been auheieu to since, with the exception
of the Lunawa Pioject wheie it was successfully useu.
86
NIRP when it was auopteu was oveiwhelmingly
welcomeu as a piogiessive way foiwaiu to ensuiing that uevelopment uiu not compiomise the integiity
anu well-being of the communities affecteu by uevelopment piojects.
87
NIRP, while piimaiily uealing
with iesettlement anu compensation foi those inuiviuuals affecteu by uevelopment piojects, also in its
piinciples auvocates impact assessments to be conuucteu befoie the lanu acquisition piocess, to ensuie
minimal impact. The fiist two piinciples of NIRP state:
“Involuntary resettlement should be avoided or reduced as much as possible by ieviewing
alternatives to the project as well as alternatives within the project.”
“Where involuntary resettlement is unavoidable, affected people should be assisted to re-
establish themselves and improve their quality of life.”
88

These piinciples aim to avoiu oi ieuuce involuntaiy iesettlement by ieviewing alteinate pioject sites.
Inteiestingly NIRP also pioviues compensation foi those who uo not have title to lanu, anu impoitantly,
auvocates local paiticipation in the iesettlement anu ielocation piocess.
89
NIRP also pioviues that wheie
inuiviuuals choose to take compensation as opposeu to ieplacement lanu, compensation shoulu be
pioviueu befoie the uevelopment pioject begins.
9u
NIRP theiefoie is an impoitant policy that if
implementeu woulu gieatly mitigate the uetiiments to local populations affecteu by uevelopment
piojects anu coinciuing lanu acquisitions. The goveinment has faileu to implement the policy in its lanu
acquisition piocesses. This is seen in the case of Sampui wheie theie has been no iegaiu foi inuiviuuals
that face involuntaiy iesettlement as a iesult of the pioposeu uevelopment piojects. The goveinment
shoulu intiouuce legislation that ensuies the NIRP is fully enfoiceu.

84
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86
National Involuntaiy Resettlement Policy; Souiceu fiom Annex I, “Innovative Approaches for
Involuntary Resettlement: Lunawa Environmental Improvement & Community Development Project”,
0N Babitat (2uu9)
87
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88
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89
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9u
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08D;<:8G /HD;<: !G8: F<A D7> !A<D>HD;<: 8:P !A<J<D;<: <F 3RJ8: );C7D= [LMNN`LMN]\

Anothei policy auopteu by the goveinment is the National Action Plan foi the Piotection anu Piomotion
of Buman Rights. It was auopteu by the Cabinet of Ninisteis in 2u11 to fulfill the pleuge Sii Lanka maue
at its 2uu8 0niveisal Peiiou Review at the 0niteu Nations Buman Rights Council (0NBRC).
91
The plan
sets out goals in eight key aieas anu the accompanying ministiies iesponsible foi achieving those goals
ovei a S-yeai timeline.
92
The Buman Rights Action Plan has since been neglecteu by the veiy same
goveinment that intiouuceu it. The following section biiefly examines the section of the plan that ielates
to lanu issues
9S
:



This goal was agieeu to aftei seveial months of uelibeiation anu eventual euiting by the goveinment,
inuicating on the face of it that this is a basic stanuaiu the goveinment has agieeu to thiough a national
process. It is important to keep in mind that the government has insisted on ‘home grown’ solutions,
using this to countei any foim of inteinational involvement. In this context, it is impoitant to give uue
piioiity to the Buman Rights Action Plan anu othei national uocuments anu initiatives incluuing the
LLRC (discussed below). It is also to be assumed that the government’s passionate defence of national
initiatives and frameworks imply the government’s confidence in a functioning national structure and
system. This is fai fiom the tiuth. A case in point is Sampui It is ciitical that the goveinment ieconsiuei
the cuiient policy of uisiegaiu foi people uisplaceu fiom the afoiementioneu uevelopment zones. This is
also impoitant in the cuiient climate of incieasing militaiy-leu uevelopment leauing to piolongeu
uisplacement of communities. In 2u12, the militaiy launcheu its own iesoit-bianu, Laya, anu has alieauy

91
“Sri Lanka unveils 5-year action plan to protect human rights,” October 2u11, }ohn Paul Putney,
accesseu at: http:¡¡juiist.oig¡papeichase¡2u11¡1u¡sii-lanka-unveils-S-yeai-action-plan-to-piotect-
human-iights-in-iesponse-to-inteinational-piessuie--.php
92
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Ninistiy of Plantation Inuustiies anu 0ffice of Special Envoy on Buman Rights, National Plan foi the
Piotection anu Piomotion of Buman Rights; accesseu heie:
http:¡¡www.hiactionplan.gov.lk¡List_of_goal-S-8-1uS.html#A168
uoal S.2: Ensuie the iight to lanu anu housing foi all uisplaceu peisons
! Issue S.2a: Bisplacement uue to setting up of economic anu uevelopment zones
! Activities:
Pioviue inteiim housing anu lanu foi those uispossesseu of lanu
Timefiame: immeuiate
Agencies iesponsible: Ninistiy of Constiuction, Engineeiing Seivices,
Bousing & Common Amenities; Ninistiy of Lanus anu Lanu
Bevelopment; Ninistei of Resettlement
In cases wheie oiiginal cannot be ietuineu the piovision of alteinate lanu of
equal woith anu value anu¡oi compensation
Timefiame: +S months
Agencies iesponsible: Ninistiy of Lanus
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pioceeueu to open one iesoit in the foimei BSZ of Kankesanthuiai.
94
These uevelopments iaise seiious
questions about whethei uue piocess unuei the Lanu Acquisition Act is being followeu, especially
conceining the definition of ‘public purpose’. That the goveinment shoulu auheie to the above NBRAP
goal iegaiuing uisplaceu peisons must also be highlighteu.

#>==<:= #>8A:D 8:P )>H<:H;G;8D;<: %<JJ;==;<: [##)%\ @ /HD;<: !G8:

In auuition to policies intiouuceu by the goveinment, theie aie iecommenuations in the LLRC anu the
subsequent National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommenuations of the LLRC that set out cleai
piinciples in ielation to lanu acquisition.

The LLRC hau an entiie chaptei ueuicateu to lanu issues, emphasising the impoitance of lanu issues in
ieconciliation in post-wai Sii Lanka. This biief uiaws attention in paiticulai to the following two
iecommenuations in the LLRC Repoit, Paiagiaph 6.1u4
9S
:


94
“Soldiers at Your Service” (August 2013), Brendan Brady, accessed at:
http:¡¡www.slate.com¡aiticles¡news_anu_politics¡ioaus¡2u1S¡u8¡sii_lankan_aimy_goes_into_touiism_
business_aftei_ciushing_the_tamil_tigeis.html.utm_souice=tw&utm_meuium=sm&utm_campaign=butto
n_chunky
9S
Repoit of the Commission of Inquiiy on Lessons Leaint anu Reconciliation, Novembei 2u11; accesseu
heie:
http:¡¡www.piiu.gov.lk¡news_upuate¡Cuiient_Affaiis¡ca2u1112¡FINAL%2uLLRC%2uREP0RT.puf

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The fiist iecommenuation if implementeu woulu cleaily pievent the iecent colonisations of Weli 0ya
anu incoipoiation of Weli 0ya unuei the Nullaitivu auministiation.
96
The seconu iecommenuation has
also not been enfoiceu by the goveinment in ielation to eithei the Palaly oi Tiincomalee-Sampui zones.
While legally no BSZs can exist aftei the lapse of the emeigency iegulations, both aieas aie still being
tieateu as BSZs with iestiiction on entiance anu auministiation entiusteu to militaiy actois. Auuing to
the inconsistency between policy anu action, the National Plan of Action to Implement the
Recommenuations of the LLRC states that the goveinment hau alieauy complieu with the
iecommenuation ielating to the BSZs in the LLRC, specifically that lanu has been ieleaseu wheie
possible anu steps weie being taken to ie-locate oi to pay compensation to the affecteu paities unuei
the applicable statutes. Bespite this statement, many inuiviuuals in Sampui continue to be uisplaceu
uespite theie being no notices to acquiie theii lanu, anu little oi no effoits maue by the goveinment to
offei ie-location options oi compensation. Similaily, in the Palaly BSZ, theie has been no eviuence to
suggest that 6S81 acies aie #0'0++"5= foi a militaiy cantonment. Theiefoie, theie appeai to be inheient

96
Foi moie infoimation see: Bhavani Fonseka & Niiak Raheem, Lanu in the Noithein Piovince: Post-
Wai Politics, Policy anu Piactices, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11

(1) Any citizen of Sii Lanka has the inalienable iight to acquiie lanu in any pait of the
countiy, in accoiuance with its laws anu iegulations, anu iesiue in any aiea of his¡hei
choice without any iestiictions oi limitations imposeu in any mannei whatsoevei. The
lanu policy of the uoveinment shoulu not be an instiument to effect unnatuial changes
in the uemogiaphic pattein of a given Piovince. In the case of intei piovincial iiiigation
oi lanu settlement schemes, uistiibution of State lanu shoulu continue to be as pioviueu
foi in the Constitution of Sii Lanka.

(S) The Commission appieciates the fact that the two BSZs in Palaly anu Tiincomalee-
Sampooi iespectively have been ieuuceu anu that an estimateu 21, 491 peisons have
been ietuineu to theii own lanu. Bowevei, in the two ieuuceu BSZ aieas an estimateu
26, 7SS peisons aie still uisplaceu. The Commission iecommenus that the two existing
BSZs in Palaly anu Tiincomalee-Sampooi, as well as small extents of piivate lanu
cuiiently utilizeu foi secuiity puiposes in the uistiicts be subject to ieview with a view
to ieleasing moie lanu while keeping national secuiity neeus in peispective. The
Commission also iecommenus that all families who have lost lanus anu oi houses uue to
foimal BSZs oi to othei infoimal oi au hoc secuiity ielateu neeus be given alteinate
lanus anu oi compensation be paiu accoiuing to applicable laws. The Commission
fuithei iecommenus that piovision of alteinate lanus anu oi payment of compensation
be completeu within a specific time fiame.
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contiauictions between the policy put foiwaiu anu accepteu by the goveinment anu its actions on the
giounu.

The confusion cieateu by this is fuitheieu by the contiauictions in statements maue by vaiious
politicians.

In May 2011, Minister for Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa said, “Y0 $- #-, I"#,
B7Z[+*'\ *# ,@0 '-)#,5= "#= >)5,@05 "+ I0 @"30 #- 0#0E*0+ "E-#? -)5+0130+2 J@0 0#,*50 '-)#,5= *+
#-I )#$05 " +*#?10 A0"'0 ]-#0….”.
97


An even cleaiei inuicatoi was given by, Commanuei Secuiity Foices }affna Najoi ueneial
Nahinua Bathuiusinghe at a meeting with the technical mission of 0ffice of Bigh Commissionei
for Human Rights (OHCHR) in September 2012 when he stated that “I0 P,@0 &5E=R @"30 #- A1"#
-> "'()*5*#? '*3*1*"#+^ 1"#$+ ,- 0+,":1*+@ E*1*,"5= '"EA+ *# <">>#"2 &5E= @"+ "150"$= 0"5E"580$
?-305#E0#, 1"#$+ >-5 ,@", A)5A-+02 B-I0305. ?-305#E0#, I*11 "'()*50 +-E0 1"#$+ #0'0++*,",0$ >-5
,@0 0SA"#+*-# -> ,@0 4"1"1= "*5A-5, "#$ ,@0 _"#80+"#,@)5"* @"5:-)5 ">,05 A"=*#? '-EA0#+",*-# ,-
10?*,*E",0 -I#05+".

Even moie iecently, in Naich 2u1S, Secietaiy of the Piesiuential Task Foice foi Resettlement,
Bevelopment anu Secuiity, S.B. Bivaiathne, maue a statement to jouinalists that theie existeu
no BSZs in }affna.
98


0n the inteinational stage, Ambassauoi Ravinatha Aiyasinha, Sri Lanka’s peimanent
iepiesentative to the 0N in ueneva uuiing his national statement to the 0NBRC on 27 Nay
2013, stated, “Y@*10 +-E0 1"#$+ @"30 :00# 0"5E"580$ >-5 )+0 *# ,@0 0SA"#+*-# -> ,@0 4"1"1=
"*5A-5, – __7 @"5:-)5 '-EA10S "+ A"5, -> ,@0 50$0301-AE0#, -> ,@0 "50" ">,05 "1E-+, O $0'"$0+ ->
'-#>1*',. -I#05+ -> A5*3",0 1"#$+ "'()*50$ I-)1$ :0 ?*30# '-EA0#+",*-# ", E"580, 5",0+. "#$
"$$*,*-#"11= "1,05#",0 1"#$+ *# "$T"'0#, "50"+.”
99


Inteiestingly, none of the acquisition notices in ielation to the lanu of the foimei Kankesanthuiai BSZ
mention any puipose conceining the aiipoit oi the haiboui. This confusion in policy anu the lack of
clarity and transparency as to the government’s intentions with respect to land. fuithei existing

97
“Resettling civilians in HSZs begins”, Daily Mirror, 12 May 2011
98
“No HSZs in Jaffna”, March 2013, Ceylon Today; accessed here: http:¡¡www.ceylontouay.lk¡S1-261SS-
news-uetail-no-hszs-in-jaffna.html
99
“Full Text: Sri Lanka’s Statement Today at the 23
iu
Session of the Human Rights Council”, Colombo
Telegiaph, Nay 2u1S; accesseu heie:https:¡¡www.colombotelegiaph.com¡inuex.php¡full-text-sii-
lankas-statement-touay-at-the-2Siu-session-of-the-human-iights-council¡
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assumptions that lanu is being taken aibitiaiily anu without a ieal public puipose. Noieovei, confusion
aiises as it appeais that many of the uecisions being taken on the giounu in the }affna lanu acquisition
foi example seem to be uiiecteu by the militaiy.
1uu
In the case of }affna, civil auministiatois even
uefeiieu to the militaiy when it came to allowing access to the lanu.
1u1


Accepteu anu stateu policy objectives ianging fiom NIRP to the National Plan of Action to Implement the
Recommenuations of the LLRC all seem to iecommenu a focuseu methou of lanu acquisitions with
minimal piejuuice to the public inteiest. Bowevei, it is appaient examining the thiee case stuuies
highlighteu in this biief that the goveinment is acting in many ways contiaiy to these policies. As
opposeu to auopting an appioach that entienches the iights of local communities to be affecteu by
uisplacement, the goveinment appeais to be piioiitising uevelopment piojects anu puipoiteu militaiy
activities, with no cleai explanation as to the necessity of eithei.

























1uu
Fielu Repoit: }affna anu Kilinochchi Bistiicts, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Apiil 2u1S
1u1
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The pievious chapteis uiscusseu the legal anu policy fiamewoik in Sii Lanka ielevant to lanu
acquisition, highlighting established structures that can be used when land is needed for a ‘public
purpose’. The due process provided in current legislation is meant to avoiu unjust anu aibitiaiy seizuies
of lanu. which can leau to uisplacement anu uepiive people of theii lanus. While this policy biief
ciitiques the piesent fiamewoik, it also iecognizes that this fiamewoik is a staiting point. which
iequiies iefoim anu full implementation. What in ieality has occuiieu is the acquisition of laige tiacts of
lanu by the goveinment anu its agents foi vaiious puiposes. iaising questions of the legality of such
piactices anu as to whethei they meet the stanuaius pioviueu in the piesent fiamewoik. The natuie of
such acquisitions also iaise conceins ovei whethei the piesent fiamewoik is being useu anu in some
instances abuseu, to suppoit puiposes outsiue of the public neeu anu inteiest, leauing to asseitions of
ongoing lanu giabs.

The eviuence collecteu by CPA in the last few yeais, with a specific focus on uevelopments in the post
wai peiiou, uemonstiates that lanu acquisitions uo not in most instances meet the ciiteiia pioviueu by
law. Theie aie instances wheie the law has been useu to take ovei lanu. which is justifieu by the
government and its agents as a ‘public purpose’ but critiqued on the basis of information publicly
available as being used for something other than a ‘public purpose’. The cases examined in the North and
East also uemonstiate specific tienus incluuing the pie-eminent iole anu involvement of the cential
goveinment anu militaiy, acquisitions of lanus pieuominantly belonging to minoiities anu a lack of uue
piocess. The centialisation anu militaiisation in lanu issues is not new to Sii Lanka but what is uiffeient
is the uegiee of involvement of such actois anu the natuie of theii involvement.

The cases uiscusseu in this chaptei highlight the issues causeu by the giowing iole of these tienus in
lanu acquisitions anu ielateu matteis. What is also notable is the ethnic uimension to these piactices,
with minoiities being uispiopoitionately affecteu. Inciuents in aieas outsiue of the Noith anu East
incluuing in Kalpitiya anu Bambulla uemonstiate that all ethnic communities can be affecteu by illegal
anu aibitiaiy lanu acquisitions, howevei most of the cases uocumenteu in the Noith anu East inuicate
that it is piimaiily Tamil anu Nuslim communities who aie being affecteu. A tienu iepoiteu in the post
wai context, is the uistiibution of lanus, pieviously occupieu by minoiities to Sinhalese communities,
with questions being iaiseu as to whethei the Sinhalese communities aie new to the aiea oi uisplaceu as
a iesult of the wai. The Weli 0ya case is one wheie available infoimation points to Sinhala communities
ieceiving lanu fiom the goveinment as opposeu to Tamils who pieviously iesiueu in the aiea anu aie yet
to ietuin to the aiea. The piefeience given to the majoiity community in lanu alienation has iaiseu
concerns of ‘Sinhalisation’ in the area. Accoiuingly, it has implications foi the use anu contiol of state
lanu anu impacts on changing ethnic uemogiaphics.

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This chaptei uiscusses thiee specific cases involving lanus belonging to, contiolleu anu useu by
minoiities. CPA notes the giievances of all ethnic gioups in teims of lanu owneiship anu contiol anu the
cases uocumenteu heie uo not imply that these cases iequiie moie attention than otheis. This policy
biief attempts to highlight the incieasing obstacles faceu by minoiities in contiolling anu owning theii
lanu. The cases selecteu in the biief aie chosen on the basis of the uiffeient issues anu complexities in
each of the cases anu to uemonstiate the cuiient tienus in teims of alienation of state lanu anu
acquisition of piivate lanus anu the confusion at times iegaiuing both these issues.

The focus of the biief is on lanu acquisitions unuei the Lanu Acquisition Act. It looks piimaiily at piivate
lanus. In auuition, the policy biief also examines the case of lanu alienation in Weli 0ya, which seems to
inuicate that in auuition to state lanu, piivate lanus may also been incluueu in the alienation schemes.
The policy biief makes the case that although lanu acquisitions aie meant to peitain to piivate lanu, the
case of Weli 0ya uemonstiates the complexities anu confusion iegaiuing the actual status of lanu. As a
iesult, questions aiise as to whethei the goveinment is able to alienate such lanus anu as to whethei
such questionable alienation amounts to lanu giabs. Fuithei, questions aie iaiseu on the ethnicisation of
lanu alienation anu as to whethei state lanu is being useu foi specific puiposes incluuing the
establishment of new settlements to change the uemogiaphics of an aiea.

The cases that highlight the government’s egiegious lanu acquisition piactices incluue }affna anu
Sampui. Weli 0ya, as alieauy inuicateu, iaises questions of as to whethei some lanus involveu aie in
effect piivate lanus. The thiee cases illustiate thiee uiffeient ways in which the goveinment is
contiolling lanu. In }affna, the goveinment is uoing so by taking piivate lanus foi puipoiteu militaiy
ieasons. In Sampui, the goveinment is attempting to take lanus foi commeicial puiposes unuei the
guise of uevelopment without auheiing to the uue piocess pioviueu by the Lanu Acquisition Act. Anu
finally, in Weli 0ya, the issues iuentifieu above iemain. The pioblems on the giounu incluuing lack of
uocumentation compounu the issue. The fact that the alienation is piimaiily foi the benefit of the
majoiity community iaises questions of ethnicisation of lanu issues in the aiea anu leauing changes to
ethnic uemogiaphics via the use of lanu settlement schemes. The Weli 0ya case is also of inteiest as it
falls within the Nahaweli L scheme, a pioject that falls within the puiview of the cential goveinment.

This policy biief attempts to use the thiee cases uiscusseu below to illustiate the tools anu stiategies
useu by the goveinment to contiol lanu in the Noith anu East - a piactice of lanu acquisition tantamount
to lanu giabbing.


%8=> -DRPIU B8FF:8

In Apiil 2u1S, the goveinment issueu a Section 2 notice unuei the Lanu Acquisition Act that stateu that
6381 Ac 38.97 P of land was to be acquired for the following purpose: “to formally vest the land where
Befence Battalion Beauquaiteis (}affna) – High Security area (Palali and Kankasanthurai) is located”.
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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The lanu taken was fiom the following uN uivisions of valikamam Noith, valikamam East, Kopay,
Telipellai, Kankasanthuiai West, Kankasanthuiai Cential, Wimannamum South, Theiyyauui South, Palali
South, 0ttampulam anu Walallai.
1u2
This acquisition is being challengeu both politically anu legally, with
ovei 2uuu petitioneis having fileu a wiit application at the Couit of Appeal
1uS
, anu some otheis having
fileu a funuamental iights case at the Supieme Couit.
1u4
Theie aie many conceins suiiounuing this
paiticulai lanu acquisition incluuing: (1) The laige peicentage of this lanu that is piivate; (2) The
necessity of this laige an acquisition foi militaiy puiposes; (S) The genuineness of the ‘public purpose’;
(4) The legal eiiois in the acquisition notices; anu (S) The contiauiction that aiises fiom this lanu giab
with the public statements politicians anu militaiy officials.

The histoiical context of this lanu is of cential significance. While a small poition of the lanu being
acquiieu may have been state lanu, the vast majoiity of the lanu is piivate lanu anu has been in families
foi geneiations. As was uemonstiateu by piotests in Apiil 2u1S along with the seveial thousanu
petitioneis in the couit cases mentioneu above, theie aie many inuiviuuals with claims ovei the lanu in
question.
1uS
Further, the leader of the TNA, Sampanthan, claimed in a statement that, “Many Northern
families aie unable to ietuin to theii lanu anu iesettle because of this involvement by the
Government.”
1u6
Inteiviews with lanu owneis who have lanu in aieas of valikamam also suppoit the
aigument that the majoiity of lanu that is piesently being occupieu by the militaiy is piivate lanu anu
has been piivate lanu foi geneiations.
1u7
0ne oluei gentleman who was uisplaceu fiom his lanu in the
early 1990s, stated, “My grandfather built the house I grew up in, and there were many of my family
members who lived around me in their own land.”
1u8
A significant numbei continue to be uisplaceu
within }affna anu aie unable to finu uuiable solutions as a iesult of lanu not being ieleaseu anu lack of
aiu fiom the goveinment.

%<JT8A8D;9> /:8GI=;= <F ^;G;D8AI (8=> -;a>=
Setting asiue foi a moment, the issue of whethei a militaiy cantonment in the cuiient context is a “public
purpose”, the question iemains as to whethei 6S81 acies of lanu is iequiieu foi a militaiy cantonment.

1u2
uazette No 18u7¡2S of the Bemociatic Socialist Republic of Sii Lanka, 26 Apiil 2u1S, available at
http:¡¡uocuments.gov.lk¡Extgzt¡2u1S¡PBF¡Api¡18u7_2S¡18u7_2S(E).puf
1uS
“Appeal Court issues Notice on Respondents in cases by 2176 Jaffna Tamils seeking relief against land
grab by Rajapaksa regime,” 30 May 2013, Colombo Telegraph; accessed here:
https:¡¡www.colombotelegiaph.com¡inuex.php¡appeal-couit-issues-notice-on-iesponuents-in-cases-
by-2176-jaffna-tamils-seeking-ielief-against-lanu-giab-by-iajapaksa-iegime¡
1u4
“Jaffna Tamils’ Land Grab FR Cases: Justice Sripavan Advises DSG how to grab lands correctly,” 12
}une 2u1S, Colombo Telegiaph; accesseu heie: https:¡¡www.colombotelegiaph.com¡inuex.php¡jaffna-
tamils-lanu-giab-fi-cases-justice-siipavan-auvises-usg-how-to-giab-lanus-coiiectly¡
1uS
http:¡¡www.theiepublicsquaie.com¡politics¡2u1S¡u4¡29¡goveinments-uecision-to-acquiie-6uuu-
acies-of-lanu-in-jaffna-iesults-in-piotest¡
1u6
http:¡¡www.eyesiilanka.com¡2u1S¡u8¡u9¡tna-uses-kauiigamai-lanu-case-to-auuiess-noithein-
lanu-acquisition¡
1u7
Inteiviews conuucteu with lanu owneis in }affna, Colombo anu in Toionto, Canaua, Apiil– 0ctobei
2u1S
1u8
Inteiview with Tamil Sii Lankan gentleman in Toionto –2S 0ctobei 2u1S; Tianslation fiom Tamil to
English
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S 46
www.cpalanka.oig
This amount of lanu is essentially two-thiius of Colombo City aiea. veiy few statistics aie publicly
available on the size anu population of militaiy bases¡cantonments in Sii Lanka, anu theiefoie the
analysis is limiteu. It is theiefoie necessaiy to tuin to a compaiative analysis of militaiy
bases¡cantonments in othei countiies.

This biief examineu the size anu population of vaiious militaiy cantonments aiounu the woilu anu
determined each base’s rate of persons per acre (see Table I). A calculation was then done to see by each
of these iates, how many acies woulu be iequiieu to suppoit a militaiy cantonment of 1S,2uu peisonnel,
the numbei of peisonnel in the Noith given most iecently by Ambassauoi Ravinatha Aiiyasinha, Sii
Lanka’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, in his national statement address to the UNHRC
on 27 Nay 2u1S.
1u9
Conveisely, it was also calculateu baseu on each iate, how laige of a population of
peisonnel woulu justify a base of appioximately 6Suu acies.
,8KG> N
%<R:DAI
-;a> <F
%<R:DAI
[?J
L
\
08J> <F
(8=>
-;a> <F
(8=>
[/HA>=\
!<TRG
8D;<:
!><TG
>_8HA>
)8D>
b <F 8HA>=
:>>P>P F<A
T<TRG8D;<:
<F NO.LMM
-;a> <F
T<TRG8D;<:
:>>P>P F<A
].OMM 8HA>=
0niteu
States
(}apan)
9,147,
42u
11u

0kinawa 1,186
111

18,uuu
maiine
s
112

1S.2 868.4 9S, 76u
0niteu
States
9, 147,
42u
11S

Foit Boou
1S, 874
(218,82
S)
114

79,Su1
11S

S.u 264u S1, Suu
Inuia
2,97S,19u
116

Belhi
Cantonment
1u,S21
117

116,SS
2
118

11.1 1189.2 69, 9Su
Inuia
2,97S,19u
119

Pune
Cantonment
S,2uu
12u

79,4S4
121

2S S28 1S7, Suu

1u9
http:¡¡www.colombotelegiaph.com¡inuex.php¡full-text-sii-lankas-statement-touay-at-the-2Siu-
session-of-the-human-iights-council¡
11u
“World Development Indicators: Land area in square kilometres,” The World Bank (2011), accessed
on 1S Nov 2u1S at: http:¡¡uata.woilubank.oig¡inuicatoi¡Au.LNB.T0TL.K2
111
http:¡¡www.commonuieams.oig¡viewsu4¡u11S-u8.htm
112
http:¡¡www.bbc.co.uk¡news¡woilu-asia-22uS9186
11S
“World Development Indicators: Land area in square kilometres” +)A5" note 99
114
http:¡¡www.iecentei.tamu.euu¡muata¡puf¡Foit_Boou_Fact_Sheet.puf
11S
9:*$2
116
“World Development Indicators: Land area in square kilometres” +)A5" note 99
117
http:¡¡www.cbuelhi.in¡histoiy.aspx
118
9:*$2
119
“World Development Indicators: Land area in square kilometres” +)A5" note 99
12u
http:¡¡blog.mapsofinuia.com¡2u12¡uS¡26¡pune-cantonment-home-to-the-national-wai-memoiial-
southein-commanu¡
121
9:*$2
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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www.cpalanka.oig
Inuia
2,97S,19u
122

Neeiut
Cantonment
8,817
12S

9S,684
124

1u.6 124S.S 66, 78u
Pakistan
77u,
88u
12S

Nangla
Cantonment
296
126

1u,uuu
127

SS.8 S9u.S 212, 94u
Banglaue
sh
1Su,17u
128

Bhaka
Cantonment
212S
129

1S1,86
4
1Su

62.1 212.6 S91, 2Su

At one enu of the spectium, we have Foit Boou, the laigest 0S uomestic militaiy base at a iate of S
people¡acie. Even at that iate, to suppoit a population of 1S,2uu peisonnel as estimateu by the
goveinment, a militaiy base woulu only have to consist of 264u acies. Bowevei, given the size of the
0niteu States of Ameiica anu the size of theii aimy, it is a iate that woulu not be ieasonable to apply to
Sii Lanka. which is in geogiaphical size almost 1Su times smallei.

Theiefoie, it is necessaiy to examine militaiy bases in a countiy that is much moie compaiable in
geogiaphical anu militaiy size, Banglauesh. The laigest base in Banglauesh, which also contains the
Aimy Beauquaiteis is the Bhaka Cantonment which measuies at 212S acies with a population of
1S1,864 peisonnel. At theii iate of 62.1 people¡acie, a militaiy base in Sii Lanka of 1S,2uu peisonnel
shoulu iequiie only 212.6 acies. Even if one weie to set asiue the Banglauesh base as an example of an
unuei-funueu aimy, which it is not, one coulu simply look to Inuia, anu see that even the laigest base in
Belhi has a iate of 11.1 people¡acie, which woulu suggest a iequiiement of only 1189.2 acies foi a
population of 1S,2uu peisonnel in Sii Lanka. The afoiementioneu numbeis aie on the basis that the
figuie of 1S,2uu given by Ravinatha Aiyasinha is accuiate, howevei even if it is not, calculations
available in the table uemonstiate that the numbei of peisonnel iequiieu to justify the size of 6Suu acies
is unieasonable.

The Bhaka figuie iequiies a population of S96,198 peisonnel; the Belhi figuie a population of 7u,829
peisonnel. Even applying the incompaiable 0S Foit Boou figuie, a population of S1,9uS peisonnel is
iequiieu. What this compaiative analysis theiefoie highlights, is the absence of a ieasonable explanation
foi the acquisition of ovei 6uuu acies to establish a Befence Battalion Beauquaiteis in compliance with
the public puipose iequiiement unuei the Lanu Acquisition Act.

!RKG;H !RAT<=>: Theie aie seiious conceins ielating to how ‘public purpose’ is being uefineu by the
uoveinment as stateu in the Section 2 notice iefeiieu to pieviously. The uata fiom compaiative cases

122
“World Development Indicators: Land area in square kilometres” +)A5" note 99
12S
http:¡¡cbmeeiut.oig.in¡
124
9:*$2
12S
“World Development Indicators: Land area in square kilometres” +)A5" note 99
126
http:¡¡www.cbp.gov.pk¡page.php.Plu=41&Slu=2u
127
9:*$2
128
“World Development Indicators: Land area in square kilometres” +)A5" note 99
129
http:¡¡www.citypopulation.ue¡php¡banglauesh-uhaka.php
1Su
9:*$2
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S 48
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highlighteu in the box uemonstiate the weakness of the justification foi 6S81 acies to house a militaiy
cantonment of appioximately 1S,2uu militaiy peisonnel. Fuithei, theie have alieauy been iepoiteu
instances of militaiy peisonnel using the occupieu lanu to giow agiicultuial piouuce, iaising questions
as to whethei this fits in with what is termed ‘public purpose’.
1S1
Theie also seveial iumouis about othei
puipoiteu uses of the lanu incluuing seveial meuia iepoits of a pioposeu yoguit factoiy.
1S2
The army’s
own website
1SS
auveitises a hotel iun by the aimy anu iecent iepoits also inuicate new constiuction
taking place insiue the aiea that is yet to be acquiieu.
1S4


All of this lenus cieuibility to the belief that the lanu is not being acquiieu foi militaiy puiposes only, but
iathei that theie aie unueilying commeicial puiposes foi which the militaiy wishes to use the lanu. If
this is the case, the Section 2 notice publisheu foi the aiea is in cleai violation of the law foi not stating
the tiue puipose foi which the lanu is being acquiieu.
1SS
Noieovei, it is haiu to see how militaiy-iun
commeicial enteipiises coulu in any way benefit eithei the local population oi the geneial population as
a whole. In fact, they woulu moie likely be uetiimental, taking maiket shaie away fiom local civilians
anu coipoiations engageu in the same commeicial piactices. It has been iepoiteu that some of the lanu
that is to be acquiieu may go to enteipiises that weie in existence piioi to the wai such as the KKS
haiboi anu Palaly aiipoit. While a case can be maue foi these two entities iequiiing lanu to function, a
Section 2 notice to acquiie lanu foi such puiposes shoulu cleaily state this. Fuitheimoie, even if lanu
was to be acquiieu foi such puiposes, it still uoes not account foi the magnituue of lanu that is being
acquiieu.

Anothei ieason to be conceineu about this piesent lanu acquisition aie the many legal eiiois piesent in
the Section 2 notice. First, paragraph 3 of the notice (P1) refers to “regularizing handover of area on
which High Security Zone [Palaly and Kankesanthurai] is established”, despite theie being no BSZ
establisheu in the aieas specifieu by the notice foi acquisition.
1S6
By law, all pieviously existing BSZs
establisheu by Emeigency Regulations lapseu with the enu of the state of emeigency in 2u11.
1S7
With
theie being no BSZ to speak of, paiagiaph S of the acquisition notice must be consiueieu an incoiiect
statement. In auuition, theie is cleaily inconsistency within the notice itself. While paiagiaph S iefeis to
land “on which High Security Zone[Palaly and Kankesanthurai] is established”, paragraph 1 refers to “a
land” in the “area” as indicated in the Schedule being required, and paragraph 2 refers to all of the land

1S1
Fielu inteiviews in }affna, Apiil 2u1S
1S2
Fielu inteiviews in }affna, Nay 2u1S
1SS
Laya Botels website; accesseu heie: http:¡¡www.layahotels.lk
1S4
This ongoing construction was cited recently in a case filed by Lakshman Kadirgarmar’s son in the
Couit of Appeal: https:¡¡www.colombotelegiaph.com¡inuex.php¡govt-giabs-lakshman-kauiis-lanu-in-
jaffna¡
1SS
/"#01 ;05#"#$- 3 62/2<"="5",#0. /*#*+,05 -> &?5*')1,)50 "#$ !"#$+ "#$ -,@05+ UVVV PKR 72!2Q2 KKU; See
Chaptei 1 foi uiscussion of case
1S6
Fielu Repoit: }affna anu Kilinochchi Bistiicts, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Apiil 2u1S
1S7
Bhavani Fonseka & Niiak Raheem, Lanu in the Noithein Piovince: Post-Wai Politics, Policy anu
Piactices, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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indicated in the schedule as “a land”.
1S8
While these contiauictions may seem minute upon fiist glance,
they amount to huge vaiiances in the aiea of lanu that is to be taken, uepenuing on which phiase is
inteipieteu. While this may be uue to not having exact infoimation of the aiea, which is a iequiiement
foi when issuing a Section 2 notice, this also iaises a funuamental question as to whethei the confusion
anu vaiiances aie uelibeiate. The lack of exact uata can leau to moie lanu being taken than oiiginally
planneu at the cost of moie people being uisplaceu anu uepiiveu of theii lanu.

Theie has also been non-compliance with section 2(2) of the Lanu Acquisition Act, which specifies that
Section 2 notices shoulu be maue available in all thiee languages. CPA visiteu anu was iefuseu entiy to
the lanu that was to be acquiieu by the militaiy on 24 Apiil 2u1S. CPA was uiiecteu to a Section 2 notice
in Tamil, which was hanging fiom a tiee neai the entiy to the so calleu BSZ. Latei a notice in Tamil anu
English foi the same lanu with a uiffeient uate was seen on the notice boaiu of the Tellipallai Bivisional
Secietaiiat.
1S9
No public notices weie seen in Sinhala.
14u


Fuitheimoie, theie is possibly a case of non-compliance with Section 4 of the Lanu Acquisition Act,
which iequiies the Ninistei to uiiect uistiict officeis to give notice to ownei(s) of the lanu in question.
Paiagiaph 4 of the notice states “Person claiming ownership over the land: cannot be identified”.
141
It is
highly unlikely that this is coiiect as iecoius of those uisplaceu anu living in goveinment iun welfaie
camps aie with the goveinment. Some lanu owneis may now be iesiuing outsiue of }affna anu oveiseas.
Seveial inteivieweu by CPA who live outsiue of }affna weie only awaie of the lanu acquisition notices
fiom meuia iepoits anu aftei the cases weie fileu in the Couit of Appeal.
142


In auuition to legal eiiois in the Section 2 notice, theie aie also issues with a puipoiteu oiuei unuei
Section S8 Pioviso A of the Lanu Acquisition Act that was subsequently publisheu on 24 Apiil 2u1S anu
gazetteu on 26 Apiil 2u1S.
14S
Fiist, the puipoiteu oiuei was not pieceueu by a valiu oi piopei notice
unuei Section 2 oi 4 of the Lanu Acquisition Act.
144
Fuitheimoie, theie is a question of the necessity of
such an oiuei given that the lanu has been in the possession of the State foi ovei a uecaue in most cases,
anu it is consequently implausible that theie woulu be any uigency with iegaiu to the State having to
immeuiately possess the lanu. Theiefoie, the legal eiiois piesent in the Section 2 notice anu the Section
S8a pioviso, also make the lanu acquisition in }affna unlawful. These legal eiiois must be given uue
attention as they illustiate the government’s disregard for due process and the law. It is also worth
noting that the Section S8a notices weie only maue public aftei thousanus of litigants fileu a case in the
Couit of Appeal, iaising the question of whethei it was huiiieuly intiouuceu to pievent any legal action
being taken to stop the acquisition.

1S8
Fielu Repoit: }affna anu Kilinochchi Bistiicts, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Apiil 2u1S
1S9
9:*$2
14u
9:*$2
141
9:*$2
142
Fielu Inteiviews, Apiil – Nay 2u1S
14S
Fielu Repoit: }affna anu Kilinochchi Bistiicts, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Apiil 2u1S
144
Fielu Repoit: }affna anu Kilinochchi Bistiicts, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Apiil 2u1S
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S Su
www.cpalanka.oig

In a uistuibing move, the militaiy has pioceeueu with uemolitions of homes in valikamam Noith uespite
the ongoing couit cases conceining the lanu. The TNA Piovincial Councilloi Bhaimalingam Sithuhaithan
tolu the Baily FT on 29 0ctobei 29 2u1S that paitially uamageu homes (uamageu by shelling uuiing the
wai) weie being “upiooteu” by the militaiy.
14S
In iesponse, the Baily FT iepoiteu that Nilitaiy
Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya stated, “The land was legally acquired by the Lands
Ninistiy anu hanueu ovei to the militaiy. We aie within oui iights to caiiy out uevelopment woik in the
area.”
146
Repoiteuly, TNA leauei R. Sampanthan ieceiveu assuiances fiom the Piesiuent on Novembei
1
st
following the iepoits of uemolitions that the activity woulu stop
147
, but othei iepoits suggest that on
conflicting instiuctions fiom othei membeis of the cential goveinment the militaiy has incieaseu the
pace of uemolitions.
148
This once again inuicates the cential iole of the militaiy in the }affna lanu
acquisition, uespite the piesence of a civilian auministiative stiuctuie.

This laige acquisition of lanu in }affna in auuition to being illegal, only peipetuates feais among the local
Tamil community that the goveinment is not conceineu with theii inteiests, anu that militaiy contiol
anu occupation ovei }affna will iemain inuefinitely. The piesent uiive to acquiie such laige tiacts of
piivate lanu also highlights the tienus of centialisation, militaiisation anu ethnicisation. These tienus
ieinfoice community suspicions of ethno- uemogiaphic change anu seiiously impeue meaningful
ieconciliation anu national unity.

%8=> -DRPIU -8JTRA

Sampui has been subjecteu to an ongoing piocess of uevelopment anu acquisition iesulting in
piotiacteu uisplacement since 2uu6.
149
A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was gazetteu in 2uu6 that
coveieu a laige aiea aiounu Tiincomalee Bay, stietching fiom Nilaveli thiough Tiincomalee Town anu
uiavets, past Kinniya anu Nuttui into Sampui.
1Su
In Nay 2uu7, a BSZ was establisheu unuei Emeigency
Regulations in Tiincomalee that coveieu 11 uiama Nilauhaii (uN) uivisions.
1S1
Following a legal
challenge by some iesiuents anu CPA anu an unueitaking by the Attoiney ueneial’s department in the
Supieme Couit to allow people to ietuin to theii lanu, the BSZ was ie-gazetteu anu ieuuceu to 4 uN

14S
“Military demolishes homes in former HSZ in Valikamam”, Su 0ctobei 2u1S, Baily FT; accesseu at:
http:¡¡www.ft.lk¡2u1S¡1u¡Su¡militaiy-uemolishes-homes-in-foimei-hsz-in-valikamam¡
146
9:*$2
147
“President Nahinua Rajapaksa oiueieu }affna commanuei to stop uestiuction houses in valigamam
North”, 1 Novembei 2u1S, Lanka Sii News; accesseu at:
http:¡¡www.lankasiinews.com¡view.php.24SAluuaaTnY0u42SANeS22cAmZSeueZBAIcu2eWAA2euI0
SnacuSu0A42
148
“SL military steps up demolition of houses in Valikamam North, Jaffna,” Sunday S Novembei 2u1S,
TamilNet; accesseu at:http:¡¡www.tamilnet.com¡ait.html.catiu=1S&aitiu=S679u
149
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Tiincomalee Bigh Secuiity Zone anu Special Economic Zone,
Septembei 2uu9; accesseu heie: http:¡¡cpalanka.oig¡wp-
content¡uploaus¡2uu9¡11¡Tiincomalee%2uBigh%2uSecuiity%2uZone%2uanu%2uSpecial%2uEcono
mic%2uZone.puf
1Su
9:*$2
1S1
9:*$2
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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uivisions in 0ctobei 2uu8.
1S2
Theie weie seiious questions then as to what the consequences of the
oveilapping SEZ anu BSZ woulu be. Lanu owneis fiom the aiea anu CPA challengeu the BSZ, as it stoou
on the giounus that Aiticle 12 anu Aiticle 14 of the Constitution weie being violateu, anu iaiseu the
important point that “there is no military necessity or security concern provided to justify pieventing oi
hampering civilians accessing their land and property.”
1SS
While the Supieme Couit iefuseu leave to
proceed on the basis of national security, they “stated that resettlement and development should be
carried out on a planned basis.”
1S4
Nonetheless, when the Emeigency Regulations weie lifteu in 2u11,
the BSZ became legally inopeiative, anu with its iemoval, technically all iestiictions on movement into
the foimei BSZ shoulu also have lapseu.
1SS


Bowevei, following the lapse of emeigency in 2u11 lanu owneis who hau lanu in the foimei BSZ weie
still iestiicteu fiom enteiing the lanu by the militaiy.
1S6
While the SEZ was still valiu, theie was no legal
basis to iestiict lanu owneis fiom accessing anu occupying theii lanu anu theiefoie theie was in fact a
violation of theii constitutional iight to fieely move anu iesiue in theii own iesiuence (Aiticle 14).

It has been iepoiteu that acquisition piocesses have commenceu foi lanu in the SEZ that is being set
asiue foi constiuction of a Coal Powei Plant
1S7
; yet, the iemaining lanu fiom the foimei BSZ was not
incluueu in this acquisition piocess. In Nay 2u12, affiiming speculation, a uazette Extiaoiuinaiy cieate a
‘Special Zone for Heavy Industries’ purportedly within the provisions of Section 22A of the Board of
Investment of Sii Lanka Law, No.4 of 1978, encompassing the iemaining aieas of the foimei BSZ.
1S8

However, Section 22A only provides for the establishment of ‘licensed zones’ and thus the use of the
term ‘Special Zone for Heavy Industries’ raises a legal technicality question about the valiuity of the
gazette.
1S9
Further, while the law does not provide any basis for restricting access to one’s own property
in such a ‘licensed zone’, property owners in the area have still not been allowed access.
16u
Seven lanu
owneis fiom the aiea fileu a funuamental iights application in the Supieme Couit challenging the
gazette of the Special Zone foi Beavy Inuustiies.
161


Theie aie many issues suiiounuing the legality of actions in iespect of the Sampui lanu. As stateu above,
with the lapse of Emeigency Regulations in 2u11 theie is no legal basis foi iefusing entiy to lanu

1S2
9:*$2
1SS
9:*$2
1S4
9:*$2
1SS
Bhavani Fonseka & Niiak Raheem, Lanu in the Noithein Piovince: Post-Wai Politics, Policy anu
Piactices, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11
1S6
“Displaced Sampur residents file fundamental rights petition against uemaication of heavy inuustiies
zone in their lands,” June 2012; accessed here: http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/7328
1S7
Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Tiincomalee Bigh Secuiity Zone anu Special Economic Zone,
Septembei 2uu9
1S8
SC FR No. Su9¡2u12
1S9
Section 22A, Boaiu of Investment of Sii Lanka Law, No.4 of 1978
16u
SC FR No. Su9¡2u12
161
“Displaced Sampur residents file fundamental rights petition against demarcation of heavy industries
zone in their lands,” June 2012; accessed here: http://dbsjeyaraj.com/ubsj¡aichives¡7S28
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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owners. It is important to note that establishing a ‘licensed zone’ under Section 22A of the BOI Act does
not pioviue the basis foi non-entiy, anu in fact, Section 28 of the B0I Act makes veiy cleai that lanu can
only be acquiieu foi B0I piojects thiough piopei pioceuuies in the Lanu Acquisition Act.
162
Bowevei,
this iefusal of entiy by the militaiy continues to be the case, anu as mentioneu, these lanuowneis have
suffeieu majoi livelihoou challenges as a iesult. Noieovei, the Ceylon Electiicity Boaiu has built a fence
enclosing the lanu with cement anu baibeu wiie that tiaveises agiicultuial anu pauuy lanu belonging to
the IBPs, making the Agiaiian Bevelopment Act No 46 of 2uuu applicable.
16S


Section 32 of the Act makes it an offence where a person “uses any extent of paddy land for a purpose
other than an agricultural purpose or does any other act for such purpose” or “constructs any structure
within any extent of paddy land or does any act in furtherance of such purpose” without obtaining
wiitten peimission fiom the Commissionei-ueneial.
164
Section 34(1) of the Act states: “No person shall
use an extent of pauuy lanu foi any puipose othei than foi agiicultuial cultivation except with the
wiitten peimission of the Commissionei-General.”
16S
Finally Section 82(1) of the Act states: “Where any
goveinment uepaitment, public coipoiation, peison oi bouy of peisons pioposeu to constiuct a tank,
uam canal wateicouise oi commence any development project, within the area of authority of Farmers’
0iganisation, it shall be the uuty of the heau of such uepaitment oi coipoiation oi such peison oi such
body of persons to inform the Farmers’ Organisation of the proposed construction or pioject anu invite
its comments thereon.”
166
As fai as the pauuy anu agiicultuial lanu in Sampui is conceineu, none of the
above mentioneu sections of the Agiaiian Bevelopment Act No 46 of 2uuu have been complieu with in
iegaiu to the Ceylon Electiicity Boaiu fence anu any othei uevelopments in the aiea.
167


The establishment of a Special Zone foi Beavy Inuustiies appeais to infiinge on Aiticle 12 anu Aiticle 14
in the Constitution. While the piocess of lanu acquisition has commenceu foi lanu in the aiea that is
being allocateu foi a puipoiteu Coal Factoiy, the iemainuei of the lanu has not been uealt with thiough
the piopei channels of the Lanu Acquisition Act uespite iepoits that uevelopment plans foi the lanu
have commenceu. 0n 16 }une 2u1S the Sunuay Times reported that “more than 819 acres has been given
on a 99-yeai lease as a B0I ventuie to Sii Lanka uateway Inuustiies (Pvt) Ltu., a company iegisteieu in
Singapore.”
168
0n 2u }une 2u1S, the goveinment itself iepoiteu that the uevelopment of the heavy
inuustiy zone will occui in S phases at a cost of 0S$ 4 billion incluuing the constiuction of: a ueep watei
jetty, a stockpile yaiu, an iion oie anu coke piouuction plant, a ship-builuing anu iepaii facility, plant
anu machineiy manufactuiing, an automobile assembly plant anu othei smallei suppoit inuustiies.
169

The article stated: “Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told the cabinet last

162
Boaiu of Investment of Sii Lanka Law, No.4 of 1978
16S
SC FR No. Su9¡2u12
164
Agiaiian Bevelopment Act No 46 of 2uuu
16S
9:*$2
166
9:*$2
167
SC FR No. Su9¡2u12
168
“US $4b heavy industry zone in Sampur,” Sunday Times Sri Lanka, 16 }une 2u1S
169
“Special Zone for Heavy Industries at Sampur to proceed,” 2u }une 2u1S, News Line
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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week that the pioposeu zone woulu iesult in the cieation of ovei 1u,uuu employment oppoitunities,
township uevelopment and enhancement of social infrastructure in the area.”
17u


It is haiu to compiehenu howevei, how such piojects will suppoit social infiastiuctuie anu uevelopment
in the aiea, when even those whose lanu the piojects aie being built on aie not ieceiving any kinu of
suppoit fiom the goveinment oi the companies paitneiing with the goveinment in this ventuie.
Noieovei, it is abunuantly cleai that the goveinment has not legally acquiieu the lanu foi its pioposeu
uevelopment piojects. As mentioneu above, demarcating a ‘licensed zone’ under Section 22A of the
Boaiu of Investment of Sii Lanka Law, uoes not automatically confei on the goveinment the ability to
acquiie lanu. Lanu must still be acquiieu via uue piocess unuei the Lanu Acquisition Act as pei Section
28 of the B0I Act. To uate, theie have been no Section 2 noi Section 4 notices posteu with iegaiu to
acquiiing lanu in the 4 uNs in Sampui, asiue fiom the lanu on which the Coal Powei Plant is being built.
Theie have also been no attempts to compensate those uisplaceu fiom Sampui asiue fiom the lanu of the
Coal Powei Plant, anu officials continue to senu mixeu messages to the IBPs. Foi example, Ninistei of
Economic Bevelopment, Basil Rajapaksa, in pailiamentaiy uebates on 21 October 2011 stated, “&#= 1"#$
I@*'@ *+ #-, #0'0++"5= "#$ I@*'@ I*11 #-, :0 "'()*50$ >-5 ,@0 '-#+,5)',*-# -> ,@0 A-I05 A1"#, I*11 :0 ?*30#
:"'8 ,- ,@0+0 A0-A10 "#$ ,@0= I*11 :0 50+0,,10$…” and, “…any land which will not be required for the Indian`
75* !"#8" A-I05 A1"#, I*11 :0 @"#$0$ -305 ,- ,@0 A0-A10,” and finally, “I0 I*11 #0305 )##0'0++"5*1= 800A
"#=:-$= -), -> ,@0*5 -I# 1"#$+.”
171


In auuition to the legal issues with Sampui, theie aie seiious conceins with iespect to the uisiegaiu the
goveinment, militaiy, navy anu inuustiial actois have shown foi the uisplaceu fiom Sampui (note heie
that the following section when iefeiiing to the uisplaceu fiom Sampui is iefeiiing specifically to the
uisplaceu fiom the 4 uNs which weie pait of the BSZ anu now pait of the SEZ anu Special Zone foi Beavy
Inuustiies). Since 2uu6, a laige majoiity of the 4uuu uisplaceu peisons fiom the 4uNs have been living in
piotiacteu uisplacement, with only a small poition accepting ielocation.
172
uiven the abysmal conuitions
of the welfaie centies, especially consiueiing the lack of aiu, camp maintenance anu geneial social
inuignities in such enviionments, many of the uisplaceu have shifteu to tiansitional shelteis with the
help of humanitaiian agencies oi aie living with host families.
17S
In paiticulai, the petitioneis
challenging the Special Zone foi Beavy Inuustiies aie cuiiently iesiuing in tiansitional shelteis in
Kattapaiichchan.
174
The conuitions in these tiansitional shelteis howevei aie not bettei anu many of the
owneis of the lanu on which these shelteis aie built aie uemanuing back theii lanu.


17u
9:*$2
171
“’Development’ Ousts Tamil Families from Sampoor,” July 2012, Sunday Leader; accessed here:
http:¡¡www.thesunuayleauei.lk¡2u12¡u7¡22¡uevelopment-ousts-tamil-families-fiom-sampooi¡
172
Mirak Raheem, “Protracted Displacement, Urgent Solutions: Prospects for Durable Solutions for
Protracted IDPs in Sri Lanka”, Centre for Policy Alternatives commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee
Council, Septembei 2u1S
17S
9:*$2
174
9:*$2
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In auuition to housing issues, the uisplaceu also face immense livelihoou challenges as uemonstiateu by
uisplaceu fisheiman anu faimeis who aie living in tiansitional shelteis in Kattapaiichchan.
17S
While
theie aie 181 IBP families who eaineu a livelihoou thiough fishing piioi to uisplacement, only 2S of
these families aie cuiiently able to fish in theii uisplaceu aiea.
176
Fuithei, these 2S families shaie one
ienteu motoiboat anu S ienteu canoes, anu must woik in shifts as the iesiuents of Kattapaiichchan have
piimaiy fishing iights.
177
With iegaiu to faiming it is impoitant to note the extent of pauuy fielus
piesent anu available in Sampui with uisplaceu iesiuents saying theie weie appioximately 4uuu acies
of agiicultuial lanu anu 4S tanks.
178
The goveinment offeieu seasonal passes to uisplaceu faimeis foi
Suu acies; the cultivation of which enableu suppoit foi a laige poition of IBPs in Kattapaiichchan.
179

Bowevei, following the challenge of the Nay 2u12 uazette uemaicating a Special Zone foi Beavy
Industries, the passes were revoked for the following ‘Maha’ cultivation season.
18u
The lack of faiming
anu fishing oppoitunities means that many of the most vulneiable incluuing the elueily anu wiuows,
have hau to tiavel to othei aieas in seaich of woik.
181
Theie has also been no assistance fiom the
goveinment with iespect to pioviuing a substitute foi foou, as uiy iations weie stoppeu in Becembei
2u11. The IBPs theiefoie continue to live in poveity, anu without ieal livelihoou oppoitunities anu
oiganiseu goveinment suppoit, aie foiceu to uepenu on assistance fiom otheis.
182
Theie have also been
iepoits of intimiuation anu haiassment of IBPs who have voiceu theii neeu to ietuin incluuing those
who have piotesteu anu litigateu, a funuamental iight of all citizens.
18S
It is impeiative that all actois
uesist fiom such acts anu that uue piocess is useu to ensuie lanu owneis aie alloweu to ietuin to theii
lanu anu in the event lanu is acquiieu, the establisheu piocess is followeu.

While uevelopment and industry are necessary to grow Sri Lanka’s economy, it is imperative that such
projects not be undertaken illegally without due process. The idea of ‘public purpose’ is that land
acquisitions occui with the public inteiest in minu, anu pioviue some benefit to the community uiiectly
affecteu. In the case of Sampui, theie has been no consiueiation of the inteiest of the iesiuents who
continue to insist on ietuin. As of now, if the intention of the goveinment is to iefuse ietuin to the
iesiuents of Sampui, no iesettlement plans have been put to them. This of couise contiavenes the
National Involuntaiy Resettlement Policy, uiscusseu above. The IBPs fiom Sampui have been living in
unceitainty since 2uu6, plagueu by poveity, a lack of peimanent housing anu livelihoou anu unable to
ietuin to theii ancestial lanus. The goveinment must give piioiity to theii inteiests anu conceins when

17S
9:*$2
176
9:*$2
177
9:*$2
178
“Sampur’s displaced population yet await ‘Nagenahira Navodaya’,” 27 March 2013, Vimarsanam
vimansa; accesseu heie: http:¡¡vimaisanam-vimansa.oig¡iepoit¡sampuis-uisplaceu-population-yet-
await-nagenahiia-navouaya¡
179
Mirak Raheem, “Protiacteu Bisplacement, 0igent Solutions: Piospects foi Buiable Solutions foi
Protracted IDPs in Sri Lanka”, Centre for Policy Alternatives commissioned by the Norwegian Refugee
Council, Septembei 2u1S
18u
9:*$2
181
9:*$2
182
9:*$2
18S
9:*$2
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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moving foiwaiu with piojects in the Special Zones foi Beavy Inuustiies, anu companies anu foieign
goveinments must ask foi accountability on these issues befoie ueciuing to invest in these piojects.

%8=> -DRPIU 2>G; "I8

Befoie an analysis of cuiient lanu issues in Weli 0ya. it is necessaiy to fiist have an unueistanuing of the
contextual histoiy. Since 1984, Nanal Aiu¡Weli 0ya has been a place of seiious contention with iespect
to goveinment-oichestiateu uemogiaphic shifts. Befoie 1984, almost all agiicultuial lanus in the then
Manal Aru area were “occupied by either Tamil villages or were held under long term lease by Tamil
inuividuals and business concerns.”
184
Staiting in 1984 howevei, most of these Tamil settleis weie
uiiven out by militaiy officials in the aiea anu Sinhalese settleis weie ieciuiteu by the militaiy to settle
in these villages.
18S
It has been noteu that these activities appeaieu to have been conuucteu by the
militaiy, sepaiate fiom any civil auministiation in the aiea.
186
uiven the stiategic impoitance of Weli 0ya
as a boiuei town between the Noith anu East it is piesumeu that the militaiy chose to establish a
Sinhalese settlement theie as a buffei to militant activities.
187


This all happeneu unuei the guise of the Nahaweli Bevelopment Authoiities, who incluueu Nanal Aiu in
what was calleu the Nahaweli System L.
188
Significantly though, Nahaweli System L uiu not actually
come into opeiation until Apiil 1988, anu uiffeieu fiom the pievious Nahaweli schemes which while
piomoting Sinhalese settlement, still benefiteu the local Tamil anu Nuslim civilians.
189
In this case, by
198S almost all Tamil civilians in the Nanal Aiu aiea hau been uiiven out uue to violence anu militaiy
piessuie.
19u
In 1988, a iepoiteu S,S64 families weie given lanu in System L, with a laige majoiity of the
families being Sinhalese.
191
The Sinhalese settleis who weie biought in to live in Weli 0ya then faceu
continuous attacks by the LTTE, anu expeiienceu multiple waves of uisplacement.
192
Fuithei, the
uevelopment pioposeu by the Nahaweli System L to biing watei to the aiea, was not followeu thiough,

184
0niveisity Teacheis foi Buman Rights (}affna), “From Manal Aaru to Weli Oya and the Spirit of July
1983” September 15 1993
18S
9:*$2
186
9:*$2
187
University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna),“From Manal Aaru to Weli Oya and the Spirit of July
1983” September 15 1993
188
Nahaweli Authoiity of Sii Lanka: http:¡¡www.mahaweli.gov.lk
189
University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna),“From Manal Aaru to Weli Oya and the Spirit of July
1983” September 15 1993; Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka: http://www.mahaweli.gov.lk
19u
0niveisity Teacheis for Human Rights (Jaffna),“From Manal Aaru to Weli Oya and the Spirit of July
1983” September 15 1993
191
Bhavani Fonseka & Niiak Raheem, Lanu in the Noithein Piovince: Post-Wai Politics, Policy anu
Piactices, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11
192
0niversity Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna),“From Manal Aaru to Weli Oya and the Spirit of July
1983” September 15 1993; Mirak Raheem, “Protracted Displacement, Urgent Solutions: Prospects for
Durable Solutions for Protracted IDPs in Sri Lanka”, Centre for Policy Alteinatives commissioneu by the
Noiwegian Refugee Council, Septembei 2u1S
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anu the settleis enuuieu many haiuships as a iesult.
19S
Foi example, settleis fiom the villages of
Nonaiaweewa anu uajabapuia in Weli 0ya weie uisplaceu in 1999 as a consequence of the continueu
violence anu many went to live in a tempoiaiy IBP welfaie centie in Boialukanua while otheis went to
live with family in othei aieas.
194
As of }une 2uu7, theie weie 124 families (4S8 peisons) living in the
Boialukanua welfaie centie, anu cuiiently theie aie 1S2 families still living in what is now the
Boialukanua colony.
19S
The colony aiose out of a uecision maue by the then Piesiuent Chanuiika
Kumaiayunge when she visiteu the Boialukanua Welfaie Centie in 2uuS anu oiueieu that all of the
tempoiaiy shelteis be conveiteu to peimanent housing.
196
Theie weie many issues that aiose out of this
spontaneous conveision, anu the lack of planning has iesulteu in seveial pioblems foi the uisplaceu
peisons. Foiemost, was the lack of livelihoou oppoitunities, with the absence of an iiiigation scheme,
anu pievention fiom access to the local tank foi fishing, given the competition fiom the host community
who saw them as ‘outsiders’.
197


In Septembei 2u11, the Sinhalese families who weie uisplaceu fiom Nonaiaweewa anu uajabapuia in
Weli 0ya ietuineu to the aiea.
198
The lanu they ietuineu to howevei was quite uiffeient fiom that which
they hau left, with almost all of the infiastiuctuie having been wipeu out by the wai.
199
The Nahaweli
Bevelopment Authoiity hau given an unueitaking to these families that they woulu be pioviueu with 1.S
acies of lanu, but in ieality they weie only pioviueu with an aiea that was 4um by Sum.
2uu
Fuithei, these
aieas appeai to have veiy little livelihoou oppoitunities, anu the same iiiigation-ielateu issues that
faceu settleis in the 8us anu 9us iemain.

Bespite the challenges facing ietuinees anu the majoi absence of uevelopment oi infiastiuctuie, the
goveinment seems intent on biinging in as many new Sinhalese settleis as possible to the aiea. As of
Apiil 2u1S, it was iepoiteu that appioximately 48uu Sinhala families hau been biought to Weli 0ya anu
that Piesiuent Nahinua Rajapaksha on a visit to the aiea on Apiil 2u
th
, instiucteu goveinment officeis to
speeu up the settlement piocess.
2u1
It was iepoiteu in 0ctobei 2u1S that the Nahaweli Authoiity was

19S
CPA Field Research, December 2012; Mirak Raheem, “Protracted Displacement, Urgent Solutions:
Prospects for Durable Solutions for Protracted IDPs in Sri Lanka”, Centre for Policy Alteinatives
commissioneu by the Noiwegian Refugee Council, Septembei 2u1S
194
9:*$2
19S
9:*$2
196
Mirak Raheem, “Protracted Displacement, Urgent Solutions: Prospects for Durable Solutions for
Protracted IDPs in Sri Lanka”, Centre for Policy Alternatives commissioneu by the Noiwegian Refugee
Council, Septembei 2u1S
197
CPA Field Research, December 2012; Mirak Raheem, “Protracted Displacement, Urgent Solutions:
Prospects for Durable Solutions for Protracted IDPs in Sri Lanka”, Centre for Policy Alternatives
commissioneu by the Noiwegian Refugee Council, Septembei 2u1S
198
9:*$2
199
9:*$2
2uu
9:*$2
2u1
;"', >*#$*#? 50A-5, -# ,@0 50'0#, ,0#+*-#+ :0,I00# /)+1*E+ "#$ J"E*1+ *# /)11*="I"1"*. Women’s
Action Netwoik, 28 Apiil 2u1S
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even attempting to cleai piotecteu foiest ieseives in Weli 0ya to piocuie lanu foi moie settlements.
2u2

Bowevei, by the same token, Tamils who weie uisplaceu fiom the aiea befoie 1984, have not been given
the same benefits.
2uS
Ceitain iepoits have even allegeu that Tamil faimeis who weie uisplaceu piioi to
1984 anu who iecently tiieu to iesettle in the aiea, have been foibiuuen by the local officials fiom
cultivating theii pauuy fielus anu have been chaseu out by othei Sinhalese settleis. Theie aie also
questions as to what foim of lanu uocumentation was given to the Sinhala settleis who weie biought to
the aiea.

It is impoitant to place these actions in context. In 0ctobei 2u11, the goveinment placeu the Weli 0ya
Division Secretariat for ‘administrative’ purposes under the Mullaitivu District Secreteriat
2u4
, sepaiating
it fiom the Anuiauhapuia Bistiict uespite much of the population piefeiiing to be auministeieu by the
Anuiauhapuia Bistiict.
2uS
This action maue Nullaitivu the aiea with the seconu-highest peicentage of
Sinhalese peisons in the Noith (18.1%), accoiuing to the 2u11 census when theie weie S,966 people in
Weli 0ya.
2u6
uiven that iecent iepoits suggest the population of Weli 0ya has giown to 48uu families,
with an ambitious plan of settling many moie, questions must be askeu about the intention of the
goveinment to inciease the Sinhala population in the aiea.
2u7


Theie weie conceins as to whethei such new settlements woulu impact elections, paiticulaily the NPC
elections iecently helu in Septembei 2u1S. uiven that in 2u11, the total numbei of voteis in Nullaitivu
was SS,771, incluuing Weli 0ya, the incoipoiation of Weli 0ya into the uistiict uiu have an impact on the
Septembei elections.
2u8
Nullaitivu has an allocation of S seats out of a total of S8 seats foi the NPC
2u9
,
anu thus it appeaieu befoie the election that the incoipoiation of Weli 0ya into Nullaitivu woulu ensuie
that the paity in goveinment at the centie – the 0niteu Peoples Fieeuom Alliance (0PFA) -woulu win at
least one seat. As it tianspiieu, the 0PFA won 1 out of the S seats in the Nullaitivu Bistiict, miiioiing the
uemogiaphic change causeu by the incoipoiation of Weli 0ya into the Nullaitivu Bistiict.
21u


Anothei impoitant issue that must be iaiseu with iespect to Weli 0ya is the iole of the militaiy anu
government actors. According to a report by the Women’s Action Network in April 2013: “Sinhala

2u2
http:¡¡www.nation.lk¡euition¡news-online¡item¡22u99-mahaweli-authoiity-tiying-to-cleai-foiest-
ieseives.html
2uS
;"', >*#$*#? 50A-5, -# ,@0 50'0#, ,0#+*-#+ :0,I00# /)+1*E+ "#$ J"E*1+ *# /)11*="I"1"*. Women’s
Action Netwoik, 28 Apiil 2u1S
2u4
“Welioya goes to Mullaitivu”, 18 0ctobei 2u11, Baily Niiioi
2uS
CPA Field Research, December 2012; Mirak Raheem, “Protracted Displacement, Urgent Solutions:
Prospects for Durable Solutions for Protracted IDPs in Sri Lanka”, Centre for Policy Alternatives
commissioneu by the Noiwegian Refugee Council, Septembei 2u1S
2u6
Bi. Rajasigham Naienuian, Post-wai Noithein Piovince: Some facts anu fallacies,
http:¡¡ubsjeyaiaj.com¡ubsj¡aichives¡S1u1
2u7
;"', >*#$*#? 50A-5, -# ,@0 50'0#, ,0#+*-#+ :0,I00# /)+1*E+ "#$ J"E*1+ *# /)11*="I"1"*. Women’s
Action Netwoik, 28 Apiil 2u1S
2u8
Bepaitment of Elections: http:¡¡www.slelections.gov.lk¡ep.html
2u9
Fielu Repoit: }affna anu Kilinochchi Bistiicts, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Apiil 2u1S
21u
http:¡¡www.uailymiiioi.lk¡news¡infogiaphics¡S6u78-piovincial-council-elections-2u1S--iesults-
anu-piefeiential-votes-noithein-piovince.html
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settlement is taking place unuei the tight fist of the goveinoi, specially appointeu militaiy officeis anu
Sinhala government officers in these two areas. Even NGOs can’t have access to Weli Oya and
Thalapogaswewa without the piioi peimission from respective District Secretariats.”
211
With the enu of
the wai, theie is no ieason why the militaiy shoulu continue to iemain involveu in civilian affaiis, anu
theii piesence can only uistoit, iesettlement effoits.

Fuithei, theie appeais to be no ieason why the goveinment shoulu not consiuei the giievances of Tamil
civilians who weie foicibly evicteu fiom the aiea piioi to 1984, especially noting that the goveinment is
bringing in ‘busloads’ of new settlers. Perceptions of government action are just as impoitant as the tiue
intentions behinu those actions, anu in oiuei to finu sustainable peace anu ieconciliation, the
goveinment must be peiceiveu by all citizens as acting in theii best inteiest. By puisuing aggiessive
colonisation effoits that favoui one ethnicity anu uisiegaiu anothei, the goveinment is giving weight to
feais that they aie tiying to shift uemogiaphics of a iegion. as occuiieu in the 198us when the Nahaweli
System L pioject commenceu.
212
This feai was aiticulateu by the leauei of the TNA, R.Sampanathan in an
auuiess on S Septembei 2uu7 where he stated: “You want to create a Sinhalese district between
Tiincomalee anu Nullaitivu bieaking the Tamil linguistic continuity in such a way that you think you aie
going to finu peace. This is what happeneu when you cieateu Nanal Aiu (Weli 0ya) which you aie still
fighting over.”
21S


The Weli 0ya case iaises questions as to how the Cential uoveinment is using state lanu to change
uemogiaphics in the aiea. While it is not cleai whethei piivate lanu is in question, infoimation gatheieu
by CPA inuicates that peimit lanu pieviously given to Tamil faimeis is now being given to Sinhala
faimeis. While this is not a cleai cut case of lanu acquisition oi lanu giab as seen in the two pievious
cases, the uiffeient methous useu to change lanu contiol neeu to be noteu. The Weli 0ya case is unique in
that a cential goveinment actoi is the key actoi with no iole foi local actois on lanu alienation. It is also
notewoithy that ethnicisation is eviuent as piefeience is given to the Sinhala community, olu anu new
gioups, with little attention given to the Tamil community.

This pattein is also noteu in neaiby vavuniya Noith wheie Tamil villageis ietuining to theii lanu
following uisplacement have founu Sinhalese faimeis cultivating theii lanu with peimission fiom the
Nahaweli Authoiity who they claim have given them the lanu on lease.
214
The Tamil villageis iepoiteu
that subsequently Sinhalese officials visiting the aiea in 2u1u instiucteu them to cleai jungle aiea in
Nullaitivu Bistiict anu begin faiming theie uespite that lanu being quite fai anu not piefeiable to the

211
;"', >*#$*#? 50A-5, -# ,@0 50'0#, ,0#+*-#+ :0,I00# /)+1*E+ "#$ J"E*1+ *# /)11*="I"1"*. Women’s
Action Netwoik, 28 Apiil 2u1S
212
S.I Keethaponcalan, Social Cubism: A Compiehensive Look at the Causes of Conflict in Sii Lanka. 8
ILSA }. Int'l & Comp. L. 921 (2uu1-2uu2)
21S
By }.S. Tissainayagam ,Ramifications of lanu alienation in the East, The Sunuay Times 0nline –
Telescope Column, 16 Septembei 2uu7, quoting an auuiess on S Septembei 2uu7 by TNA leauei, R.
Sampanathan
214
Bhavani Fonseka & Niiak Raheem, Lanu in the Noithein Piovince: Post-Wai Politics, Policy anu
Piactices, Centie foi Policy Alteinatives, Becembei 2u11
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villagers’ own lands.
21S
While some of these faimeis weie latei tolu by goveinment officials they coulu
ieclaim theii lanu, it is uncleai whethei that piocess has in fact happeneu oi whethei they continue to
face obstacles.
216


The evidence of ‘Sinhalisation’ in Weli Oya is a pattern that must be noteu with concein. It is being
iepoiteu in othei uistiicts in the countiy as well. Repoits fiom the aiea highlight anothei situation of
accelerated settlement of ‘new’ Sinhalese families into othei aieas of the Noithein piovince incluuing
the aiea of Kalabogaswewa, cuiiently auministeieu by the vavuniya South BS Bivision.
217
This aiea until
the end of the war was known as ‘Kokkunchaankulam’, a Tamil area that was administered by the
vavuniya Noith BS. Fiom 2u12 to 2u1S, 2,484 families weie settleu in the aiea, anu inteiviews inuicate
that they weie all lanuless Sinhalese families fiom the Cential anu Southein piovinces.
218


A fuithei concein iaiseu with these new settlements is the involvement of the militaiy. CPA has been
infoimeu of an inciuent wheie lanus hau been iecently given to 8u Sinhala families in Agbopuia village
anu 1u6 Tamil families in Kaiuppanichchankulam village in the vavuniya BS uivision.
219
In these two
cases, lanu hau been given to the people by the militaiy anu the civil auministiation hau not been
involveu in the lanu alienation. It must be set out that the militaiy has no foimal iole in lanu alienation in
accoiuance with existing legislation. This piocess is stiictly within the puiview of the civil
auministiation as pioviueu in the piesent legal fiamewoik. Whilst this is the law of the lanu, this
example is yet anothei that highlights the giounu iealities in the Noith anu East.

The lanu giabs, along the lines uiscusseu in the pievious two cases may not be eviuent in Weli 0ya. The
iole of the cential goveinment anu its agents in manipulating anu contiolling lanu anu the eviuence of
‘Sinhalisation’ raises serious conceins as to what is planneu foi the aiea. CPA notes with concein the
issues iaiseu in the Weli 0ya case anu the iole of the state. Weli 0ya ieinfoices feais of the minoiity
community, both Tamil anu Nuslim, that lanu eithei belonging to oi contiolleu by them foi uecaues can
be taken away via state policy. Such piactices can happen without any public knowleuge oi uebate, with
no infoimation available publicly to sheu light on the natuie of lanu alienation, the histoiy of lanu
contiol in the aiea anu the plight of those affecteu.







21S
9:*$2
216
9:*$2
217
Infoimation shaieu by an oiganisation woiking in the Noith, Novembei 2u1S
218
9:*$2
219
Infoimation ieceiveu fiom paitneis in the Noith, Novembei 2u1S.
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%"0%#5-$"0

The piesent policy biief highlights some tienus anu piactices in the Noith anu East. The uistuibing
tienus emeiging fiom the aiea ieveal a system in place that uses uiffeient tactics anu stiategies to
uispossess anu uisplace people fiom theii lanus anu intiouuce new settlements. This will have long teim
implications foi lanu owneiship patteins in the aiea anu theieby impact uemogiaphics in an aiea that
was pieviously uominateu by the minoiities.

The involvement of the state anu its agents to acquiie anu alienate lanu in the Noith anu East anu the
natuie anu pace at which it is piesently occuiiing iaises funuamental questions about the status of lanu,
whethei a lanu is state oi piivate anu its implications foi owneiship tienus. These questions also have
fai-ieaching implications foi uevolution anu goveinance in the aiea, begging the question of whethei
tienus of fuithei centialisation anu militaiisation iegaiuing lanu issues aie signs of things to come anu
accoiuingly key impeuiments to ieconciliation anu unity. Although the piesent policy biief is naiiow in
its focus on uiffeient tienus on lanu acquisitions anu ielateu issues, the implications aie significant anu
cannot be ignoieu. It is time to take stock of giounu iealities anu initiate iefoim.
























Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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)*%"^^*01/,$"0-
• The Thiiteenth Amenument to the Constitution shoulu be fully implementeu; ensuiing lanu is
uevolveu to the Piovincial Councils.
• The National Lanu Commission shoulu be establisheu immeuiately.
• Legal anu policy iefoim ielateu to lanu shoulu be uone in confoimity with the Thiiteenth Amenument
anu in a tianspaient anu paiticipatoiy mannei.
• The Ninistiy of Lanus shoulu make public the piogiess maue with the Lanu Ciiculai (2u1S¡1)
incluuing the status of lanu alienations in the Noith anu East.
• Lanu alienation anu othei auministiative functions shoulu be the sole iesponsibility of the civil
auministiation anu in accoiuance with the legal fiamewoik.
• Nake public the legal basis foi the cieation of the PTF, pioviuing claiity on its functions anu iole in the
post wai context, anu explain the neeu foi such an entity in the piesent context.
• The uoveinment shoulu make public anu wiuely publicise all policies, ciiculais, gazettes anu othei
uocuments foimulateu in ielation to lanu in the Noith anu East as well as the iest of the countiy.
• Existing policies such as the NIRP shoulu be full implementeu anu incoipoiateu into goveinment anu
uonoi piojects.
• The uoveinment shoulu publicly pioviue infoimation conceining uevelopment anu othei plans that
iequiie lanus in the Noith anu East. This shoulu incluue special piojects such as the Nahaweli
Bevelopment Scheme, touiist piojects anu any piojects wheie lanu is iequiieu foi a militaiy piesence.
• A compiehensive suivey shoulu be conuucteu to map the status of lanus in the Noith anu East which
is complementeu by an initiative by the Ninistiy of Lanus to iuentify what is state lanu veisus piivate
lanu. Such a suivey shoulu involve local officials anu be conuucteu tianspaiently. Finuings fiom the
suivey shoulu be maue public foi comments by affecteu communities anu othei inteiesteu paities.
• Lanu uocuments that aie lost, uestioyeu oi uamageu shoulu be ieplaceu. This entails a
compiehensive ieview of lanu uocumentation foi both state anu piivate lanu anu investigations of
whethei lanu is state oi piivately owneu.
• Bemilitaiisation in the Noith anu East shoulu commence immeuiately. This incluues halting the
involvement of the militaiy in civil auministiation.
• An assessment shoulu be uone by the civil auministiation on the militaiy occupation in Sii Lanka in
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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oiuei to iuentify a stiategy foi ietuining lanu to its iightful owneis. This assessment shoulu examine
uamage causeu to aieas that have been occupieu by the militaiy anu iecommenu a scheme foi
compensation.
• Theie shoulu be a infoimation campaign which infoims the public on the ieasons foi occupation of
the aieas still unuei militaiy occupation.
• Aieas to be acquiieu by the goveinment shoulu be acquiieu in accoiuance with the Lanu Acquisition
Act. Aieas that aie not yet legally acquiieu shoulu be accessible to legal owneis.
• Retuin initiatives shoulu suppoit all communities who aie uisplaceu anu not uiffei by ethnicity oi any
othei ieasons. Attention shoulu be placeu on ietuin piogiammes anu lanu alienation; contextualizeu by
sensitivities aiounu claims of attempts at colonization anu Sinhalisation. Retuin initiatives shoulu be the
sole iesponsibility of the civil auministiation anu not be influenceu by political anu militaiy aspects.
• Relocation shoulu be a last option anu the authoiities shoulu pioviue infoimation on all options
available to affecteu communities.




















Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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While this biief focuses piimaiily on an analysis of uomestic law anu policy, it is necessaiy to consiuei
inteinational policy. which has a ielevance on lanu iights in Sii Lanka. The Annex biiefly examines key
inteinational conventions anu ueclaiations that aie ielevant to the focus of this policy biief, setting out
the obligations of the goveinment pioviueu by the inteinational fiamewoik. It also examines iecent
statements maue by the inteinational community in ielation to Sii Lanka wheie theie is a focus on lanu
iights. As set out in this section, the inteinational policy fiamewoik anu the government’s own
obligations anu piomises to the inteinational community pioviue a compiehensive fiamewoik foi the
iespect of lanu iights.
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Sii Lanka has been a membei of the 0niteu Nations since 19SS anu is cuiiently a signatoiy to the
following tieaties anu conventions that impact on its lanu piactises
22u
:
Inteinational Covenant on Civil anu Political Rights (ICCPR)
Inteinational Convention on the Elimination of all foims of iacial uisciimination
Inteinational Covenant on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights (ICESCR)
Theie aie seveial aiticles in the afoiementioneu tieaties anu conventions that impact uiiectly upon Sii
Lanka’s current land acquisition practices anu cieate obligations that Sii Lanka is cuiiently not fulfilling.

In the context of lanu acquisitions, Aiticle 12 of the ICCPR is paiticulaily notewoithy:
3)+&'%/ 45
1. Eveiyone lawfully within the teiiitoiy of a State shall, within that teiiitoiy, have the iight to
libeity of movement anu fieeuom to choose his iesiuence.
2. Eveiyone shall be fiee to leave any countiy, incluuing his own.
S. The above-mentioneu iights shall not be subject to any iestiictions except those which aie
pioviueu by law, aie necessaiy to piotect national secuiity, public oiuei (oiuie public), public
health oi moials oi the iights anu fieeuoms of otheis, anu aie consistent with the othei iights
iecognizeu in the piesent Covenant.
4. No one shall be aibitiaiily uepiiveu of the iight to entei his own countiy.


Also ielevant, is Aiticle 1 in both the ICCPR anu ICESCR:

22u
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anu=164#164
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3)+&'%/ 4
2. All peoples may, foi theii own enus, fieely uispose of theii natuial wealth anu iesouices
without piejuuice to any obligations aiising out of inteinational economic co-opeiation, baseu
upon the piinciple of mutual benefit, anu inteinational law. In no case may a people be uepiiveu
of its own means of subsistence.
Anu finally with significant impoitance in the context of claims of lanu ieuistiibution schemes along
ethnic lines is Aiticle S (u) (v) of the Inteinational Convention on the Elimination of All Foims of Racial
Bisciimination:
3)+&'%/ 6
In compliance with the funuamental obligations laiu uown in aiticle 2 of this Convention, State
Paities unueitake to piohibit anu to eliminate iacial uisciimination in all its foims anu to
guaiantee the iight of eveiyone, without uistinction as to iace, coloui, oi national oi ethnic
oiigin, to equality befoie the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following iights.
…(d) Other civil rights, in particular:
…(v) The right to own property alone as well as in association with others;

By failing to auheie to these aiticles the uoveinment is ieneging on its obligations as a signatoiy to these
tieaties. This has consequences at the iespective tieaty-monitoiing bouies. It is impeiative that Sii
Lanka honoui its commitment to the piinciples laiu out in these tieaties, anu ie-foimulate its lanu
acquisition piocesses in confoimity with the piinciples of justice anu inteinational law.

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In auuition to the above tieaties anu conventions, an impoitant fiamewoik that sets out stanuaius to be
followeu by goveinments in hanuling situations of inteinal uisplacement is “The Guiding Principles on
Internal Displacement”.
221
These piinciples weie placeu befoie the 0N Buman Rights Commission in
1998 anu since then have been continuously iefeienceu in iesolutions unanimously auopteu by the
ueneial Assembly.
222
In 2uuS at the Woilu Summit they weie foimally iecognizeu as "an impoitant
inteinational fiamewoik foi the piotection of inteinally uisplaceu peisons."
22S


The piinciples notably set out that peisons shoulu be piotecteu against aibitiaiy uisplacement fiom
theii homes anu uefines aibitiaiy uisplacement to incluue policies aimeu at shifting uemogiaphic
compositions of a population and “cases of large-scale uevelopment piojects, which aie not justifieu by

221
http:¡¡www.iupguiuingpiinciples.oig
222
http:¡¡www.iupguiuingpiinciples.oig
22S
http:¡¡www.iupguiuingpiinciples.oig
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compelling and overriding public interests.”
224
Fuithei anu in line with the National Involuntaiy
Resettlement Policy auopteu by Sii Lanka anu uesciibeu above, Piinciple 7 sets out that:
“Prior to any decision requiring the displacement of persons, the authorities concerned shall
ensuie that all feasible alteinatives aie exploieu in oiuei to avoiu uisplacement altogethei.
Wheie no alteinatives exist, all measuies shall be taken to minimize uisplacement anu its
adverse effects.”

These piinciples impoitantly establish that the iesponsibility foi pioviuing foi the iights anu piotection
of inteinally uisplaceu peisons iests with the goveinment anu that this iesponsibility must be caiiieu
out even thiough times of aimeu conflict anu emeigency. Especially, since Sii Lanka is no longei in a
situation of active aimeu conflict oi emeigency, it is necessaiy that the goveinment ie-evaluate its lanu
policies to auheie to the uuiuing Piinciples anu its fiamewoik. As was seen in the chaptei on case
stuuies, it is abunuantly cleai that the government’s current land acquisition practices pay little
attention to the effects on uisplaceu peisons anu in ceitain instances. even leau to fuithei uisplacement.

!;:7>;A< !A;:H;TG>=

Anothei inteinational fiamewoik that is both impoitant anu ielevant to lanu acquisitions in Sii Lanka
aie what aie known as the Pineheiio Piinciples, nameu aftei the Special Rappoiteui who leau theii
uevelopment. The Pinheiio piinciples aie uesigneu to pioviue guiuance to goveinments, 0N agencies,
Nu0s anu otheis in hanuling issues on piopeity, lanu anu iestitution to uisplaceu peisons anu iefugees
post-conflict. The piinciples weie foimally enuoiseu by the Sub-Commission on the Piomotion anu
Piotection of Buman Rights -an auvisoiy bouy to the 0N Commission on Buman Rights that existeu at
the time- in August of 2uuS. The piinciples aie centieu in inteinational human iights anu humanitaiian
law, anu pioviue a compiehensive look at one of the majoi issues conceining uisplacement.

This brief would especially like to draw attention to principle 5, “The right to be protecteu fiom
displacement”, set out below:
S.1 Eveiyone has the iight to be piotecteu against being aibitiaiily uisplaceu fiom his oi
hei home, lanu oi place of habitual iesiuence.
S.2 States shoulu incoipoiate piotections against uisplacement into uomestic legislation,
consistent with inteinational human iights anu humanitaiian law anu ielateu
stanuaius, anu shoulu extenu those piotections to eveiyone within theii legal
juiisuiction oi effective contiol.
S.S States shall piohibit foiceu eviction, uemolition of houses anu uestiuction of
agiicultuial aieas anu the aibitiaiy confiscation of expiopiiation of lanu as a punitive
measuie oi as a means oi methou of wai.

224
Piinciple 6 of the uuiuing Piinciples on Inteinal Bisplacement; http:¡¡www.iupguiuingpiinciples.oig
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S.4 States shall take steps to ensuie that no one is subjecteu to uisplacement by eithei State
oi non-State actois. States shall also ensuie that inuiviuuals, coipoiations, anu othei
entities within theii legal juiisuiction oi effective contiol iefiain fiom caiiying out oi
otheiwise paiticipation in uisplacement.

In the Sii Lankan context, the goveinment must consiuei the Pinheiio piinciples when foimulating lanu
anu lanu acquisition policies.

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The 0niveisal Peiiou Review (0PR) is a tool that was cieateu thiough the 0N Secuiity Council in 2uu6
anu involves a piocess of ieviewing the human iights iecoiu of all 0N membei states. The 0PR is
conuucteu by a woiking gioup of membei states but allows foi any membei states to paiticipate in the
piocess if they wish. The woiking gioup ultimately publishes a iepoit with iecommenuations to the
State in question anu the iepoit is auopteu, theieaftei, by the Buman Rights Council. The State is then
expected to follow through on the recommendations. The UPR is currently in it’s second cycle of reviews
anu Sii Lanka has been ievieweu twice, in 2uu8 anu again in 2u12.
22S

The iecommenuations set out in the 0PR outline ciitical aieas in human iights that Sii Lanka must
auuiess in oiuei to comply with inteinational law anu human iights noims. The section below highlights
the iecommenuations `both those enuoiseu anu not enuoiseu by Sii Lanka` that peitain to lanu anu
uisplacement issues.
Sri Lanka’s Universal Period Review (201L\
LL]


0PR (2u12) Recommenuations:
NLc [A>H<JJ>:P8D;<:= -A; #8:?8 8HH>TD=\U
127. 94 Ensure the protection of IDP’s rights to voluntaiy anu safe ietuin to auequate iestitution by,
intei alia, putting in place anu implementing long-teim housing anu piopeity iestitution policies that
comply with inteinational stanuaius (Finlanu);
127.9S. Ensuie legal owneiship anu ietuin oi iestitution of houses anu lanus to inteinally uisplaceu
peisons, accoiuing to inteinational stanuaius (Boly See);
127.99 Continue measuies unueiway to auuiess lanu issues, incluuing amenuing the Piesciiption
0iuinance, wheieby uisplaceu lanuowneis will be able to uefeat the auveise claims baseu on the
iunning of time (Bhutan);

22S
The 0niveisal Peiiouic Reviews incluue the following uocuments: National Repoit, Compilation of 0N
information, Summary of stakeholders’ information, questions submitteu in auvance, Auuenuums,
0utcome of the Review anu Repoit of the Woiking uioup.
226
http:¡¡www.ohchi.oig¡EN¡BRBouies¡0PR¡Pages¡LKSession14.aspx
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

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NLX [A>H<JJ>:P8D;<:= -A; #8:?8 A>Z>HD>P\U
128.SS. Implement the constiuctive iecommenuations of the LLRC, incluuing the iemoval of the militaiy
fiom civilian functions, cieation of mechanisms to auuiess cases of the missing anu uetaineu, issuance of
ueath ceitificates, lanu iefoim; uevolution of powei; anu uisaiming paiamilitaiies (0niteu States of
Ameiica)
Sri Lanka’s Universal Period Review (2008)
LLc


XL [)>H<JJ>:P8D;<:= -A; #8:?8 >:P<A=>P\
S2. Take the measuies necessaiy to ensuie the ietuin anu iestitution of housing anu lanus in confoimity
with inteinational stanuaius foi inteinally uisplaceu peisons (Belgium);

SS. Take measuies to piotect the iights of IBPs, incluuing long-teim housing anu piopeity iestitution
policies that meet inteinational stanuaius, anu piotecting the iights to a voluntaiy, safe ietuin anu
auequate iestitution (Finlanu);

S4. (a) Auopt necessaiy measuies to safeguaiu the human iights of IBPs in accoiuance with applicable
inteinational stanuaius anu that paiticulai emphasis be given *#,05 "1*" to inciease infoimation shaiing
as well as consultation effoits to ieuuce any sense of insecuiity of the IBPs; (b) facilitate ieintegiation of
IBPs in aieas of ietuin anu (c) take measuies to ensuie the piovision of assistance to IBPs anu the
piotection of human iights of those pioviuing such assistance (Austiia);

50 )>=<GRD;<:= [LMNL @ LMNO\

In Naich of 2u12 anu 2u1S
228
two iesolutions on Sii Lanka was auopteu the 0N Buman Rights Council.
By all counts these iesolutions weie wateieu uown in teims of human iights piotection anu
accountability. Nonetheless, the iesolutions calleu on Sii Lanka to implement the iecommenuations of
the LLRC anu affiim its commitment to inteinational law by upholuing inteinational human iights
piinciples.
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In Febiuaiy of 2u1S the 0ffice of the 0N Bigh Commissionei on Buman Rights ieleaseu a iepoit in the
twenty-seconu session of the 0N Buman Rights Council as pait of auvice on the iesolution to be passeu
on Sii Lanka, which cleaily outlines many of the ongoing contiauictions in Sii Lankan policy ielating to

227
http:¡¡www.ohchi.oig¡EN¡BRBouies¡0PR¡Pages¡LKSession2.aspx
228
“Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka”, Resolution adopted by the Human Rights
Council in Nineteenth Session on S

Apiil 2u12, accesseu heie: http:¡¡uaccess-uus-
ny.un.oig¡uoc¡RES0L0TI0N¡uEN¡u12¡126¡71¡PBF¡u1212671.puf.0penElement; “Promoting
reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka”, Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council in
Twenty-Seconu session on 9 Apiil 2u1S, accesseu heie: http:¡¡uaccess-uus-
ny.un.oig¡uoc¡0NB0C¡uEN¡u1S¡127¡SS¡PBF¡u1S127SS.puf.0penElement
Politics, Policies Anu Piactices With Lanu Acquisitions Anu Relateu Issues In The Noith Anu East 0f Sii Lanka

%>:DA> F<A !<G;HI /GD>A:8D;9>= | Novembei 2u1S 68
www.cpalanka.oig
human iights. Notably, the Commissionei highlighteu the failuie of the uoveinment to follow thiough in
action on iecommenuations set out in the National Action Plan foi the Piotection anu Piomotion of
Buman Rights anu the LLRC iecommenuations. Fuithei, the Commissionei specifically highlighteu “land
grabs” as one of the main issues in the context of lanu-ielateu challenges. The Commissionei also uiew
attention to the issues of militaiisation in Sii Lanka anu noteu that a seiious issues is that of militaiy
occupation wheie it is uncleai whethei uue piocess foi acquisition is being followeu.
The High Commissioner’s statement at the end of her trip to Sii Lanka in August 2u1S sets the tone on
the piesent human iights situation in Sii Lanka. Bei comments on lanu anu militaiisation iecho the
finuings of this iepoit anu shoulu be consiueieu by all ielevant actois:
I was conceineu to heai about the uegiee to which the militaiy appeais to be putting uown
ioots anu becoming involveu in what shoulu be civilian activities, foi instance euucation,
agiicultuie anu even touiism. I also heaiu complaints about the acquisition of piivate lanu to
builu militaiy camps anu installations, incluuing a holiuay iesoit. This is only going to make the
complex lanu issues with which the uoveinment has been giappling even moie complicateu anu
uifficult to iesolve. Cleaily, the aimy neeus some camps, but the pievalence anu level of
involvement of soluieis in the community seem much gieatei than is neeueu foi stiictly militaiy
oi ieconstiuction puiposes foui yeais aftei the enu of the wai.
I unueistanu the Secietaiy of Befence’s point that the demobilisation of a significant piopoition
of such a laige aimy cannot be uone oveinight, but uige the goveinment to speeu up its effoits
to uemilitaiise these two wai-affecteu piovinces, as the continueu laige-scale piesence of the
militaiy anu othei secuiity foices is seen by many as oppiessive anu intiusive, with the
continuing high level of suiveillance of foimei combatants anu ietuinees at times veiging on
haiassment.
229

The 0niteu Nations Buman Rights Council shoulu caiefully examine the High Commissioner’s statements
anu iepoits on Sii Lanka anu piessuie the Sii Lankan goveinment to follow thiough on all of its
iecommenuations, incluuing those peitaining to lanu.
This section pioviues a glimpse into the inteinational fiamewoik that can be useu to pioviue piotection
of land rights including an individual’s right to own and access their land and not be forcibly displaced.
The finuings of key inteinational actois confiim the finuings in the policy biief, highlighting the giave
situation faced at the individual level of owning, accessing and occupying one’s land and the larger issues
of a political solution anu ieconciliation.

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