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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 […]

Muslim IDPs when returning and reclaiming their lands

The Secretariat for Muslims intends to lobby with the government to address the issues surrounding internally displaced persons, especially the Muslim IDPs, in order to provide an enabling environment for them to return to their original lands, and commence their livelihoods.

 

Since the forcible eviction of approximately 72,000 Muslims in 1990, from the Northern Districts of Mannar, Vavuniya, Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi by the LTTE within a span of 24 hours, Muslim IDPs like the others have also been displaced multiple times in some cases. There have also been successive displacements in the Eastern Province due to the armed conflict.

 

Since the end of hostilities in 2009, Muslim families too have been slowly returning to their original homes and lands, but due to several reasons they have been hampered in the recovery of their lands. In some instances, owners of lands who had allowed temporary occupation of their lands by tenants on mutually agreed terms prior to displacement, are now unable reclaim them, the loss of land ownership documents during displacement, the blurring of boundaries and the lack of knowledge of how to reclaim their lands, exacerbate the problems of the returning Muslim IDPs.

 

It has also been found that there are systemic challenges that prove to be very discouraging and de-motivating for the returning population. The lack of a transparent policy in respect of the return and reintegration of Muslim IDPs is also a deterrent to those wishing to return and reclaim their lands and recommence their livelihood activities.