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Religious Unrest Continues in Sri Lanka

An attack was launched by a Buddhist mob against a Mosque in Colombo on Saturday August 10th 2013, just one day after Muslims celebrated “Eid Ul Fitr”. At least 12 people were injured in scuffles that broke out during the siege. The reason for the attack was based on the claim that the new three-storey structure on […]

IDP Resettlement and Land Issues

The SFM wrapped up its assistance to the resettlement of the Muslims IDPs and land settlement in May 2013. The SFM organised two consultations, one in the Northern Province and the second was in the Eastern Province. The purpose of these consultations was to study the process of resettlement and its prevailing issues and bottlenecks in these two provinces. They were also mini-regional workshops on land settlement and disputes to ensure a representative view of the land and resettlement issues from those directly affected.

 

A considerable number of Muslims have expressed their willingness to return to the north and many have already begun moving towards the northern districts. There is no procedure or mechanism to facilitate smoother and safer resettlement of the Muslim IDPs upon returning to their places of origin, after 20 years.

 

Although it has been a common problem for all communities who were displaced during the conflict, Muslims in particular face multiple problems. The difficulties in obtaining relief from international agencies, the attitude of the local communities, their lands being either encroached upon or occupied by strangers and resource allocation by the state and non-state actors were cited as some of the reasons.

 

The SFM has been in regular contact with the participants to assess the progress/success with implementing the land dispute resolution strategies discussed at the consultations back in their communities. As a follow-up to the consultations the SFM has been engaged with the Jaffna Kilinochchi Muslim Federation (JKMF) to support their efforts to resettle the displaced Muslims back in Jaffna. The SFM supported the JKMF in raising awareness of the Indian Housing Scheme among the IDPs living in Puttalam and Negombo, followed by visiting Jaffna to support further.