A  Short  Guide  to  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management  of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and   Eastern

 Provinces’    Circular:  Issues  &  Implications  

       

A  Short  Guide  to  
 

‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management   of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and  Eastern  Provinces’     Circular:  Issues  &  Implications    
                   

By   Bhavani  Fonseka  &  Mirak  Raheem       Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)   September  2011    
   

Copyright  ©  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  September  2011  

Page  |  1  

A  Short  Guide  to  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management  of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and   Eastern  Provinces’    Circular:  Issues  &  Implications  

The   Government   recently   unveiled   a   policy   regarding   land   in   the   North   and   East   through   the   introduction   of   a   Cabinet   Memorandum   (memo)   titled   ‘Regularize   Land  Management  in  Northern  and  Eastern  Provinces,’  which  was  subsequently   followed  by  a  Land  Circular  (circular)  titled  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding   Management   of   Lands   in   the   Northern   and   Eastern   Provinces’   (Circular   No:   2011/04)  issued  on  22nd  July  by  the  Land  Commissioner  Generals  Department  in   Colombo  in  order  to  operationalise  the  memo.     Since   then,   the   Centre   for   Policy   Alternatives   (CPA)   has   been   informed   that   notices  and  forms  have  been  issued  in  areas  of  the  North  and  East  for  people  to   register   their   land   under   the   Bimsaviya   project   to   ensure   title   registration   of   their   property.1  At   the   time   of   writing,   it   was   unclear   whether   this   specific   process   was   the   same   as   the   one   set   out   under   the   circular.   Contradictory   information   was   received   from   the   different   divisional   secretariat   units   (DSs)   where   the   forms   were   distributed;   increasing   confusion   regarding   the   process   and  the  rights  of  those  owning  and  claiming  land  in  the  North  and  East.     The   memo   and   related   circular   mentioned   above   are   the   most   recent   policy   initiatives  undertaken  by  the  Government  with  regard  to  land  in  the  North  and   East.2  This   short   note   attempts   to   map   out   some   of   the   key   elements   in   the   circular   and   provide   recommendations.   This   short   guide   by   CPA   is   part   of   a   wider  advocacy  campaign  on  land  issues  in  the  context  of  man-­‐made  and  natural   disasters  undertaken  by  CPA  for  over  a  decade.     This  current  policy  initiative  if  implemented  will  have  far-­‐reaching  implications   for   key   issues   including   how   land   claims   can   be   decided,   how   land   is   to   be   alienated,   and   types   of   ownership   and   control   that   can   be   provided,   which   in   turn   will   impact   the   process   of   post-­‐war   normalisation   and   development   projects.  The  focus  is  on  state  land  but  the  policy  initiative  will  have  implications   for  private  land.   Given  the  complexity  of  land  issues  in  the  North  and  East  and  the  fundamental   importance  of  land  to  multiple  processes  including  reconstruction  of  permanent   houses,  rehabilitation  of  war-­‐affected  families,  return  to  one’s  land,  development   and   strengthening   co-­‐existence,   there   is   an   urgent   requirement   for   the   Government  to  provide  a  policy  framework  to  deal  with  the  issue  of  land  taking   on  board  the  rights,  vulnerabilities  and  needs  of  affected  communities  and  in  line   with  legal  obligations  and  human  rights  standards.  While  some  of  the  land  issues   such   as   lack   of   awareness   relating   to   ownership,   competing   claims,   loss   of   documentation,   secondary   occupation   of   land   by   other   civilians   or   state   actors,  
                                                                                                                       
1  CPA  

has   been   informed   that   forms   titled-­‐   ‘Bimsaviya:   National   Programme   on   Land   Title   Registration’  were  distributed  in  areas  in  the  North  in  August  2011,  subsequent  to  the  issuing  of   the   Land   Circular   in   July   2011.   Information   collected   from   the   areas   indicate   that   actors   in   the   area   including   some   government   officials   are   unclear   whether   the   form   is   issued   under   the   Land   Circular   or   the   Bimsaviya   project.   These   are   separate   programmes   but   both   coming   under   the   Ministry  of  Lands  in  Colombo.     2  For   more   information   of   policy   and   other   initiatives   related   to   land,   refer   to-­‐   ‘Land   in   the   Eastern   Province:   Politics,   Policy   and   Conflict’-­‐   Bhavani   Fonseka   and   Mirak   Raheem,   Centre   for   Policy   Alternatives,   2010;   forthcoming   report   on   land   issues   in   the   North   (to   be   printed   in   October  2011)    

Copyright  ©  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  September  2011  

Page  |  2  

A  Short  Guide  to  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management  of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and   Eastern  Provinces’    Circular:  Issues  &  Implications  

including   the   military,   may   not   be   unique   to   the   North   and   East,   the   context   of   the  war  resulted  in  complicating  and  increasing  the  scale  of  these  problems.3   Key  Concerns:  CPA  recognises  the  necessity  to  formulate  policies  and  processes   to  address  the  complex  land  issues  in  conflict-­‐affected  areas  and  thus  welcomes   the   overall   aim   of   this   current   initiative.   CPA   is,   however,   concerned   with   the   present   circular   that   contains   certain   provisions,   which   are   problematic   and   unclear  and  may  exacerbate  fear  and  apprehension  among  affected  communities.   Some  of  the  key  concerns  include:     • The   policy   aims   to   advantage   the   land   claims   of   those   who   left   during   the   war,  but  the  circular  does  attempt  to  recognise  the  rights  of  other  civilians   who  secured  control  over  these  lands  and  have  developed  them  land.  In   such  situations  the  circular  suggests  that  alternate  land  can  be  provided   for   the   original   claimants.   However,   given   that   the   circular   also   recommends  that  land  transaction  taken  during  the  period  of  the  war  be   ruled  void  as  it  was  under  “terrorist  influence”  the  status  of  these  claims   is  by  no  means  clear.  Thus,  there  is  a  risk  that  landowners  and  claimants,   including   some   of   whom   secured   government   documentation   for   ownership,  may  be  dispossessed.     The   involvement   of   the   military   in   the   different   committees   set   out   in   the   circular  is  particularly  problematic.     The   policy   fails   to   reference   the   National   Land   Commission   that   has   not   yet  been  established  as  per  the  Thirteenth  Amendment.     The  lack  of  information  on  this  process,  both  among  government  officers   who  are  meant  to  take  this  process  forward  and  to  the  general  public,  is  a   fundamental   problem.   The   Government’s   failure   to   develop   a   public   awareness   program   has   intensified   the   confusion   and   apprehension   among   the   general   public   in   the   North   and   East.   The   memo   does   make   reference   to   the   Diaspora;   hence,   the   publicity   strategy   for   the   circulation   needs  to  be  both  national  and  international.     There   is   a   lack   of   clarity   on   who   needs   to   apply   for   this   process   or   whether   all   land   owners   and   claimants   in   the   entire   North   and   East   should  comply.     Lands   acquired   for   national   security   and   development   purposes   are   exempt  from  the  process  laid  out  under  the  circular.  Hence,  there  is  lack   of   clarity   on   how   the   land   rights   of   affected   families   will   be   guaranteed   and  how  they  will  be  compensated  and  restituted.   There  are  stipulated  brief  time  periods  for  applications  of  land  claims  and   appeals,  which  may  prove  inadequate.   There   was   limited   consultation   of   actors   from   the   two   provinces   during   the   planning   stages,   and   mainly   limited   to   government   officers.   It   is   not   clear   whether   the   process   is   flexible   to   address   problems   that   may   crop   up  during  the  implementation.      

• • •

• •

                                                                                                                       
3  

Mass  displacement  of  civilians,  challenges  to  government  administration,  the   involvement  of  a  variety  of  armed  and  political  actors,  and  the  destruction  of   land  records  are  some  of  the  key  factors  that  contributed  to  this  situation.  
Copyright  ©  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  September  2011   Page  |  3  

A  Short  Guide  to  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management  of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and   Eastern  Provinces’    Circular:  Issues  &  Implications  

 
 

  Key  Elements  of  the  Circular   • • • • • • • • Area  of  coverage:  North  and  East   Focuses  on  state  land  but  may  have  implications  for  private  land   Addresses   land   claims,   including   competing   claims   where   state   land   is   involved   Primacy   of   land   claims   pre-­‐dating   the   war,   as   opposed   to   ownership   granted  during  the  war   Effort   to   find   alternative   land   for   a   person   who   has   a   prior   claim   in   the   case  of  development  of  a  land  by  an  occupier   Land  required  for  security  and  special  development  projects  including  for   specific  housing  projects  will  not  be  included  in  the  land  claims  process   Develops   process   to   address   competing   land   claims   and   processes,   including  through  mediation  boards.   Sets   out   process   for   providing   land   documents   issued   prior   to   the   commencement   of   war   and   during   the   war,   which   were   damaged   or   destroyed   Alienates  encroached  state  land  prior  to  15.06.1995   Addresses  some  aspects  of  landlessness  issue4   Annual  permits  where  payment  was  not  made  or  renewed  annually  not  to   be  extended   Extends  titling  programme  to  the  North  and  East5   In   the   event   of   litigation   where   DS   and   other   officials   are   party   that   particular  case  will  not  be  taken  up  for  resolving  competing  claims         The  circular  sets  out  a  process  to  decide  land  claims  in  the  North  and  East.  The   sections  below  set  out  the  key  components  of  the  process.6  
                                                                                                                       
4  The  process  provided  in  the  circular  is  able  to  examine  claims  of  those  who  do  not  own  land  and  

• • • • •

after  inquiries  provide  land  to  selected  individuals  including  the  landless   5  As   provided   under   the   Registration   of   Title   Act.   For   more     information   refer   to-­‐   Bhavani   Fonseka   and   Mirak   Raheem,   ‘Land   in   the   Eastern   Province:   Politics,   Policy   and   Conflict’,   Centre   for  Policy  Alternatives,  May  2010  

Copyright  ©  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  September  2011  

Page  |  4  

A  Short  Guide  to  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management  of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and   Eastern  Provinces’    Circular:  Issues  &  Implications  

Process  Under  the  Circular   1.  Publicity  for  process  and  application   The   government   will   inform   the   public   of   the   initiative   using   media,   web  and  other  means  and  call  for  claims  over  land.   (ii) Applicants  will  be  given  two  months  to  apply  with  their  claims.   (iii) Applications  to  be  made  via  the  relevant  Grama  Niladari  (GN).     2.  Examining  initial  claims   The   claims   will   be   first   examined   by   a   committee   headed   by   the   respective  DS  for  the  area  (first  committee).   (v) If   the   documents   are   damaged   or   destroyed   for   a   particular   plot   of   land  and  no  competing  claims  are  made  for  the  land,  new  documents   will  be  issued.   (vi) If  there  are  competing  claims  for  a  particular  plot  of  land,  then  the  first   committee   must   verify   details   of   each   case   and   decide   who   has   best   claim  over  the  land.   (vii) An   observation   committee   comprising   a   minimum   of   two   persons   will   be   appointed   comprising   of   civilians   in   the   area   to   observe   proceedings   of   first   committee.   The   observation   committee   will   be   assisting  the  committee  headed  by  the  DS  and  provide  them  with  any   necessary  information  of  the  area.     (viii) A  conciliator  to  be  appointed  to  the  observation  committee.   (ix) After  the  first  committee  has  verified  claims,  a  selection  list  has  to  be   sent  to  the  Divisional  Coordinating  Committee  for  approval.   (x) After  approval,  the  list  for  each  area  will  be  displayed  locally.     3.  Appeals  Process   The   government   will   call   for   objections   within   a   period   of   a   month   regarding  any  matters  that  arise  from  the  list.   (xii) Those   who   are   unhappy   with   the   decision   can   appeal   to   a   second   committee,   which   is   to   be   headed   by   the   respective   Provincial   Land   Commissioner  (PLC)  and  include  a  representative  of  the  respective  GA   and  area  commander.   (xiii) The   observation   committee   (as   provided   above)   to   assist   the   second   committee  if  required.   (xiv) The  second  committee  will  examine  objections  and  put  out  a  list  after   their  deliberations  within  one  month.   (xv) If   there   are   disputes,   the   problems   will   be   directed   to   special   mediation  boards  that  are  to  be  constituted  to  hear  such  cases.   (xvi) The  list  will  be  then  sent  to  the  DS  who  will  forward  it  to  the  PLC  and   Land  Commissioner  as  needed.     4.  Securing  Documentation  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
6  See  process  flow  chart  on  page  10  

(i)

(iv)

(xi)

Copyright  ©  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  September  2011  

Page  |  5  

A  Short  Guide  to  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management  of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and   Eastern  Provinces’    Circular:  Issues  &  Implications  

(xvii) Annual  permits  will  be  issued  with  conditions  after  the  list  is  finalised.   (xviii) Long-­‐term   leases   will   be   issued   for   particular   projects   and   development  activities.   (xix) After  a  year  and  if  there  are  no  objections,  the  annual  permit  will  be   transferred  to  a  grant/title,  which  will  ensure  there  is  clear  title  to  the   land.  This  title  will  subsequently  come  under  the  Registration  of  Title   Act.     5.  Titling   (xx) Titling   will   be   a   parallel   process   and   with   time   will   aim   to   cover   the   entire  Northern  and  Eastern  Provinces.7     6.  Court  Cases   (xxi) Land   claims   processes   will   be   suspended   if   there   are   related   court   cases  where  the  DS  and  other  officials  are  party  to  the  case.  

 

Concerns,  Clarifications  and  Recommendations     CPA   recognizes   the   need   to   establish   a   process   to   investigate   and   resolve   disputes  with  land  claims  in  a  post-­‐war  context  in  the  North  and  East.  While  the   above-­‐mentioned  policy  initiative  is  a  step  in  the  right  direction,  there  are  many   concerns   with   the   present   process   which   need   to   be   addressed   immediately   to   avoid   creating   further   problems   and   increasing   confusion   and   apprehension   at   the  community  level.  The  concerns  are  listed  below.     I.      Prioritisation  of  particular  claimants  and  potential  for  discrimination   Preference   for   land   claims   predating   the   war:   The   Government   gives   preference   to   those   who   owned   land   in   the   North   and   East   prior   to   the   war   over   any  other  subsequent  claim.  The  preference  for  previous  owners  over  those  who   obtained  state  land  during  the  conflict  is  a  critical  point  as  the  latter  may  have  a   lesser   or   even   no   claim   over   the   land.   While   the   land   rights   of   those   displaced   need  to  be  recognised  and  protected,  efforts  should  be  taken  to  ensure  that  the   rights  and  claims  of  those  who  secured  land  during  the  course  of  the  war  are  not   ignored.     Land  distributed  under  ‘influence’  of  the  LTTE  and  other  armed  actors:  The   circular   appears   to   direct   government   officers   to   return   land   to   the   original   claimant   when   dealing   with   land   distributed   unlawfully   and   under   the   ‘influence   of  a  terrorist  group’.  While  CPA  recognises  that  the  LTTE  and  other  armed  actors   have   used   coercion   to   secure   land   from   or   for   civilians   and   that   government   officers   may   have   provided   official   sanction   and   even   documentation   for   these   land   grabs   and   re-­‐distributions,   there   is   no   simple   formula   to   address   this   problem.   Other   armed   actors,   including   non-­‐LTTE   militant   groups,   have   also   distributed  land  but  there  is  no  reference  to  the  validity  or  lack  thereof  of  these  
                                                                                                                       
7  As  provided  under  the  Registration  of  Title  Act  

Copyright  ©  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  September  2011  

Page  |  6  

A  Short  Guide  to  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management  of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and   Eastern  Provinces’    Circular:  Issues  &  Implications  

transactions  in  the  circular.  There  are  concerns  that  civilians  who  were  provided   land  by  the  LTTE  may  face  more  problems  in  comparison  to  other  cases  where   non-­‐LTTE   groups   or   even   state   actors   were   involved   in   the   illegal   distribution   of   land.  The  overt  military  presence  or  involvement  in  the  selection  of  individuals   in  the  committees  makes  this  all  the  more  problematic.  There  is  a  risk  of  certain   categories   of   land   claimants   losing   possession   of   their   land   which   could   have   grave   humanitarian,   social   and   even   political   repercussions.   CPA   recommends   that   the   authorities   examine   these   claims   on   a   case-­‐by-­‐case   basis   and   not   have   a   uniform   practice   that   may   dispossess   a   significant   population.   With   such   a   situation,   it   is   paramount   that   those   administering   and   deciding   land   claims   (the   specific   committees   and   actors   provided   in   the   circular)   are   knowledgeable   of   the   national   legal   and   administrative   framework   and   the   international   framework   related   to   land   issues   and   are   trained   and   provided   guidance   on   how   to  address  and  resolve  land  issues  and  disputes.     The   circular   does,   however,   state   that   where   permanent   houses   have   been   constructed   and   the   land   has   been   developed   “it   is   not   practicable   to   recover   such   lands”   and   therefore   alternate   state   land   should   be   found   nearby   for   the   original   claimant.   This   suggests   that   some   recognition   will   be   granted   to   the   ownership   rights   of   those   whose   claims   post-­‐date   the   outbreak   of   the   war.   As   suggested   in   the   above   paragraph,   CPA   recommends   that   the   authorities   examine  these  on  a  case-­‐by-­‐case  basis.   In  addition,  the  circular  states  all  annual  permits  issued  where  lease  rentals  have   not   been   paid   and   extended   are   suspended   and   will   not   be   extended   by   relevant   DS   or   AGA.   The   circular   also   states   that   copies   for   such   annual   permits   should   not  be  issued.  While  it  is  important  to  examine  all  land  claims  in  a  fair  and  just   manner,  unfair  restrictions  such  as  those  imposed  on  annual  permits  should  be   revised.   Due   to   the   war   thousands   were   displaced   and   affected   and   as   a   result   unable   to   renew   permits   annually.   The   authorities   should   recognise   such   impediments   and   have   a   case-­‐by-­‐case   approach   when   handling   cases   of   annual   permits.       II.      Military  involvement  in  the  process   The   circular   exacerbates   the   process   of   militarisation   by   incorporating   military   personnel  or  individuals  appointed  by  the  military  and  police  into  the  three  key   committees   outlined   in   the   circular.   For   instance,   the   circular   provides   for   an   appeals  process  in  the  case  of  objections  being  raised  with  regard  to  the  register.   The   circular   gives   prominence   to   the   defense   establishment   in   hearing   and   deciding   land   claims.   The   First   Committee   of   Inquiry   includes   an   Area   Civil   Coordinating   officer   while   the   Second   Committee   of   Inquiry   includes   a   representative  of  the  relevant  security  commander.  The  Observation  Committee   consists   of   individuals   selected   from   the   civil   committee,   formed   by   the   police   or   three   armed   forces.   These   all   raise   concerns   over   the   increasing   militarisation   of   the   civilian   administration,   and   would   further   beg   the   question   of   whether   the   various   modalities   in   the   circular   will   provide   a   fair   process   and   hearing.   It   is   important   that   processes   that   are   established   to   decide   on   land   issues   and  

Copyright  ©  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  September  2011  

Page  |  7  

A  Short  Guide  to  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management  of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and   Eastern  Provinces’    Circular:  Issues  &  Implications  

related   issues   should   be   within   the   civil   administration   and   not   have   any   involvement  of  the  security  and  police  forces.     III.      Key  Policy  Gaps   Lack   of   Reference   to   the   National   Land   Commission:   The   present   policy   initiatives   including   the   circular   were   spearheaded   by   the   Central   Government.   Although   the   Thirteenth   Amendment   to   the   Constitution   devolves   land   to   the   provinces   and   provides   for   the   establishment   of   a   National   Land   Commission   (NLC),  this  is  yet  to  be  implemented.  The  Government  should  establish  the  NLC   to   ensure   a   body   that   has   representation   from   the   provinces   can   decide   on   policies  related  to  state  land.     Lack   of   clarity   on   approach   to   mapping   out   land   issues:   There   is   a   lack   of   clarity  regarding  land  ownership  patterns  in  the  North  and  East,  which  is  a  key   element   in   the   present   day   problems   related   to   land.   A   comprehensive   examination   is   needed   to   understand   the   history   of   a   particular   land   including   previous  ownership  and  control  patterns.  In  making  an  assessment  of  the  land,  it   is   also   important   to   understand   the   situation   of   those   who   have   accepted   land   from  non-­‐state  actors,  possibly  under  duress  or  due  to  poverty,  landlessness  or   other  reasons.     IV.      Information  and  Publicity     Increased   Information:   There   appears   to   be   a   significant   level   of   confusion   relating   to   the   circular,   including   among   government   actors   who   have   to   undertake   the   process.   The   Government   should   convene   discussions   to   explain   the  use  of  the  land  circular  and  key  provisions,  especially  to  those  Government   actors  who  are  involved  in  the  process  and  the  communities  in  the  areas.     Publicity   Campaign:   A   significant   focus   should   be   on   ensuring   publicity   regarding   the   different   processes   set   out   in   the   circular   including   the   application   and  appeals  stages.  It  is  important  that  the  Government  ensures  that  its  publicity   campaign   on   the   circular   and   the   application   process   raises   awareness   among   the   public   in   the   North   and   East,   in   other   areas   of   the   country   where   residents   from  the  North  and  East  may  now  be  living  and  abroad.  It  is  imperative  that  all   the  publicity  material  and  relevant  forms  are  available  in  all  three  languages   Broader   consultations:   The   process   of   consultations   related   to   the   circular   should   be   inclusive   and   transparent,   and   not   limit   information   to   a   few   individuals  as  was  done  during  the  formulation  of  the  memo  and  the  circular.  It   would   be   beneficial   if   the   Government   takes   on   board   any   concerns   that   stakeholders  may  have  and  update  the  circular  and  any  other  initiatives.   Lack   of   clarity   regarding   who   needs   to   apply:   There   is   confusion   as   to   whether   all   land   owners   and   occupiers   need   to   make   a   claim.   Even   though   the   circular   deals   with   state   land,   it   states   that   those   “who   claim   ownership   for   state   and   private   lands,   should   complete   the   ownership   application   form.”   The   Government  should  clarify  this  issue  and  provide  guidance  to  potential  claimants   and  officials.  
Copyright  ©  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  September  2011   Page  |  8  

A  Short  Guide  to  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management  of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and   Eastern  Provinces’    Circular:  Issues  &  Implications  

  V.      Extension  of  time  periods  provided  in  the  circular   Time   period   for   applications   and   appeals:   There   should   be   more   time   provided  for  applications  and  appeals.  The  process  of  application  of  claims  is  two   months,   which   may   prove   too   short.   The   circular   states   that   objections   can   be   made   within   a   period   of   a   month   of   putting   up   the   lists   issued   by   the   first   committee.  CPA  recommends  that  more  time  be  given;  at  least  a  period  of  two-­‐ three  months,  for  the  study  of  the  list  by  affected  communities  and  so  that  filing   of   objections   will   be   provided.   Due   to   various   reasons,   many   people   from   the   North   and   East   have   migrated   to   other   parts   of   Sri   Lanka   and   overseas.   The   processes  mentioned  in  the  memo  and  circular  should  take  note  of  these  factors   and  use  modes  of  media  that  will  reach  a  wider  public.       VI.      Land  for  national  security,  development  and  housing  projects     Exemption   of   land   claims   required   to   specific   purposes:   The   circular   contains   provisions   such   as   stopping   new   land   distribution   unless   it   is   for   security   and   development   activities   (including   special   development   projects).   This   raises   the   questions   how   much   land   will   be   acquired   for   such   purposes   and   whether   processes   established   within   the   present   legal   framework   will   be   followed   including   informing   the   legal   owners   of   such   initiatives   and   providing   adequate  compensation.     Housing:   It   is   unclear   whether   special   development   projects   are   to   include   all   housing   initiatives   or   limited   to   specific   projects   such   as   the   Indian   Housing   Project,  as  per  the  memo.  It  is  important  that  the  Government  advises  the  donors   and   agencies   on   the   status   of   housing   projects   and   ensures   that   new   steps   under   the   present   circular   and   any   other   policy   directive   does   not   lead   to   future   land   disputes.   Conclusion     While  there  is  a  need  for  new  policy  initiatives  to  address  issues  related  to  land   in  a  post-­‐war  context,  there  are  many  concerns  with  the  present  process.  These   concerns   need   to   be   addressed   immediately   by   the   Government,   ensuring   that   any  process  established  to  decide  land  claims  is  fair,  just  and  equitable  and  is  not   perceived  by  communities  as  favouring  any  particular  group.  Effort  needs  to  be   made   to   ensure   that   this   policy   initiative   does   not   exacerbate   land-­‐related   tensions   and   that   solutions   are   found   to   address   land   needs   of   affected   communities.   There   is   a   likelihood   that   problems   may   come   up   in   the   future   if   such  processes  do  not  factor  in  concerns  highlighted  in  this  document.  In  moving   forward   with   the   present   process   and   any   other   land   related   initiatives,   it   is   paramount   that   the   authorities   implement   existing   constitution   and   legal   obligations,   take   on   board   the   needs   of   communities   and   be   transparent   and   inclusive  in  the  formulation  and  implementation  of  any  initiatives.        

Copyright  ©  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  September  2011  

Page  |  9  

A  Short  Guide  to  ‘Regulating  the  Activities  Regarding  Management  of  Lands  in  the  Northern  and   Eastern  Provinces’    Circular:  Issues  &  Implications  

   

Copyright  ©  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  September  2011  

Page  |  10