Praja Abhilasha Joining Hands Network with its 22 partner organizations around the country write this statement to express solidarity with the protesters of Kepapilavu, in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.
In Kepapilavu, people were displaced at the end of the war in 2009. Since then, the military has been occupying 438 acres of the peoples’ land. Subsequently, the villagers had to live in a model village built by the military. The conditions in the “Model Resettlement Village” which Kepapilavu villagers were forced to settle in 2012 after living for three years in the infamous Menik Farm Camp, remain a matter of grave concern, with restricted access to land, sea and lagoon. The villagers face enormous difficulties to maintain their traditional livelihood as farmers and fishers, which results in huge loss of income for the affected families. Only two years after their construction the houses in the “Model Resettlement Village” show already signs of deterioration.
Consequently, for over two hundred days, villagers from Kepapilavu, have been protesting at the entrance of the Security Forces Headquarters Mullaithivu. The situation in Kepapilavu is indicative of the Government of Sri Lanka’s slow progress on the release of occupied land across the North-East of Sri Lanka. Vast areas, including both private and state land remain occupied by the security forces, in some cases since over 27 years. In the Kepapilavu area, several large military camps are functioning in private land, including fertile farmland.
They have several demands from the government of Sri Lanka, including the return of their land.
Please find the statement here