Re-displacement of Menik Farm inmates to Kombavil (Mullativu)


On 20th September 2011 the Government of Sri Lanka had announced that Menik Farm, hosting 7394 persons (2097 families) will be closed down.[i] The solution imposed on these people has been to send them to Kombavil, an interior village in the Mullativu district.

Although the government claims the people are not allowed to go back due to landmines, the latest Joint Humanitarian Update[ii] has stated that “8.5 Grama Niladhari Divisions (GNDs) that currently remain closed due to continued military occupation and thus, remain inaccessible for humanitarian mine action and resettlement”.[1]

It is people living in these areas that are being forced to go to Kombavil.

Kombavil is a remote area, in the interiors of Puthukudiruppu, in middle of overgrown shrub jungle. When we were there, we observed that houses were very small and appear very basic. Workers confirmed that these houses would standard size of 12 feet by 15 feet, irrespective of family needs. The government had decided to send a first batch of 100 families to Kombavil on 5th October, but workers in Kombavil said it would be difficult to complete even the basic semi permanent shelters and toilets before 5th October.

When we visited Kombavil, it was clear that no infrastructure was in place. Fisherfolk would certainly face serious problems if they are compelled to live there. Infact, the people of Kombavil told us that even many of villagers from Kombavil have not yet been allowed to return after displacement.

The people are unhappy that after two and half years, instead of being allowed to go back to their own villages, they are being sent to an area they have never been to or known. Widows have expressed concerns about security and difficulties they would face in such an unknown area in rebuilding their lives and establishing livelihoods without support of men. Fears have also been expressed that no possibilities for fishing and farming exist in the proposed area and that no facilities exist for schools, places of worship, water etc.

There had been “come and tell visit” in which officials had briefed people about the plans to send them to Kombavil instead of their home villages. There had also been a “go and see visit” in which people to be sent to Kombavil were taken to see Kombavil. However, it is clear that these were just to present information after decisions had been taken, and not occasions where people affected could discuss options and alternatives.

Essentially, this is a decision imposed on these people, without any consultation and certainly not voluntary.  In a petition submitted to the IDP Project Office for the Vavuniya district of the National Human Rights Commission on 29th Sept. 2011, people concerned have stated that “we want to go to our own homes and resettled”.

 

 

  • luxmy

    The last batch of detainees from Menik Farm(the biggest IDP camp in the world) are forcibly settled in a jungle and not allowed to go back to their villages:
    http://groundviews.org/2011/10/03/re-displacement-of-menik-farm-inmates-to-kombavil-mullativu/
    Re-displacement of Menik Farm inmates to Kombavil (Mullativu), 3 October 2011: ”In a petition submitted to the IDP Project Office for the Vavuniya district of the National Human Rights Commission on 29 Sept. 2011, people concerned have stated that “we want to go to our own homes and resettle.”

    This has been happening earlier too:
    http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/10/young_religious_visit_their_ow.html#more
    Young religious visit their own suffering brothers and sisters in Northern Sri Lanka, Rev.Fr.Lasantha de Abrew, 25 October 2010: ”We had an opportunity to visit Sannar in the District Mannar where the people are living in temporary huts donated by the UNHCR. They were told that they would be resettled in their own land but they are relocated in a jungle as their own land has been named a High Security Zone under the Sri Lankan Army.’’

    http://www.groundviews.org/2009/08/01/forcible-resettlements-in-east/
    Forcible resettlements in East, Ruki, 1 August 2009: ‘’Government has started to dump displaced people in the East into remote jungle areas infested with wild elephants, against the wishes of the concerned people’’

    • http://Asyouyourselfproclaimedthatyouareunabletograspwhat“ordinarylankan”says,itcouldbreakdownintothesecondofthosereasonsalone; yapa

      Dear luxmi;

      Screeching from the bottom of your throat is not equivalent to justification or providing evidence and facts. Try your best, God bless you!

      Thanks!

      • luxmy

        Many people around this world have not been having any chance against many oppressors over man’s history:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzGj2hYoymo&feature=youtube_gdata

      • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

        @yapa

        How can you say that Luxmi is screeching from the bottom of her throat, when all she has done is to state her views in 3 typed paragraphs with links?

        ps. Have you ever wondered how you would have felt if you had been born a Tamil, and had to spend your life in a “Welfare Holiday Camp” like Menik Farm?

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Luxmy,

        Quote – Many people around this world have not been having any chance against many oppressors over man’s history: (Luxmy)

        Prabahkaran included or excluded?

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Luxmy,

      Quote “The agents of LTTE in the Tamil diaspora also shed a lot of crocodile tears about the 300,000 IDPs. They described the IDP camps as concentration camps. Knowing the general conditions under which Sri Lankans live I can assure you that the conditions of the Tamils, particularly in the  in the IDP camps, were far superior to the slums of Colombo or even the conditions of the Sinhala villagers and hill country Tamils in remote areas.

      Even the Tamil MPs of Tamil Nadu and Indian journalists who visited the camps were convinced that the Sri Lankan authorities had done a very good job under trying conditions”

      Dr Noel Nadeson, Editor of 14 years, of the Tamil Newspaper Uthayam
      http://print.dailymirror.lk/opinion1/49984.html

  • justitia

    People must be allowed to go back to their own homes.This is a fundamental right of internally displaced persons.
    The ‘high security zones’ too are a violation of this right.
    It appears that the Military Regime is misappropriating formerly populated areas/villages for other purposes.

  • joker

    It would be interesting to note if there was any evidence that de-mining has been complete in the area where these people have their homes.

    the undertones of this article, while being informative is misleading. One should ask would the people prefer to be in an area closer to their actual homes or would the prefer to be at Manik Farm?

    Like the government, the author assumes for the IDPs that they prefer to live at Manik Farm.

    the ideal should be that the people should be give the chance to return to their own land. but did the author make a genuine attempt to investigate weather the land’s were HSZ or not de-mined? a footnote from NGOs don’t really hold credibility do they?

    • Watchdog

      Response to Joker:

      One area people are not allowed to go and already demined is an area i personally visited – this is where War Museum is located and run by military – with infor centre, weapons used by LTTE etc. – thousands of people visit this place, so it is easily verifiable by anyone!

      other areas where people are not allowed to go, military didnt allow the author to check when the author tried – neither is any independent agency able to go and verify – so we have to depend on govts version. But the heavy presence of military – military personnel admitted to author that there are military camps in these areas – this indicates (not confirms) that at least some of the areas people are not allowed to go, are demined

      the people have clearly stated their preference is to be in their own village

      the writers position is that people should be consulted and their views taken into consideration about alternatives – alternatives should not be imposed without their will

      nowhere do we say people prefer to stay in menik farm – such an interpretation is wrong and misleading

  • wijayapala

    Dear PresiDunce

    Have you ever wondered how you would have felt if you had been born a Tamil, and had to spend your life in a “Welfare Holiday Camp” like Menik Farm?

    Have you ever wondered how you would have felt if you had been born a non-diaspora Tamil and was forced to serve as a 15-yr old soldier for “Tamil Liberation” and flag-waver entertainment?

    • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

      @wijayapala

      If majorities and minorities and everyone else in between had been treated equally after ‘IndepenDunce’…would there ever have been such a large number of Diaspora Tamils…and for some 15-yr old non-diaspora Tamils having to be forced to fight for Tamil Liberation? Don’t forget that there were also young Tamils who fought without having to be forced.

      “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”
      -Newtons Third law-

      As a Buddhist you also must be knowing about ’cause and effect.’There was never ever a need for a 30 year war. Prabahakaran did not wake up one fine day and decide that he must form a liberation organisation to liberate the Tamils. Nelson Mandela might have spent his life as an unknown lawyer if there had never been apartheid in South Africa.The same goes for Gandhi…(I’m not trying to equate Mandela or Gandhi with Praba…just giving an example of how in certain oppressive situations people rise to the occasion)

      If you read http://groundviews.org/2011/10/05/a-z-of-sri-lankan-english-l-is-for-link-language/ You will see how Sinhala and Tamil were defined in the Constitution.
      http://www.priu.gov.lk/Cons/1978Constitution/Chapter_04_Amd.html#3#3

      The logical way would have been like this…
      18. (1) The Official Languages of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala and Tamil and these 2 languages shall also be National Languages of Sri Lanka.
      (2) English shall be the link language.

      …instead of that we get the arrogant Sinhalese trying to show their dominance by saying
      18. (1) The Official Language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala.
      (2) Tamil shall also be an official language.
      (3) English shall be the link language.

      …this is just one example of how the shit kept hitting the fan since ‘IndepenDunce’ and finally culminated in a 30 year humanitarian operation of zero casualties. :D

      ps. please don’t ask me how I know you are a Buddhist.

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear PresiDunce,

        Quote
        “If majorities and minorities and everyone else in between had been treated equally after ‘IndepenDunce’” (PresiDunce)

        Oh why was such foresight absent from those who held Administrative power during the 200 years before independence !!!

        Then the reaction to that 200 years of Domination would have been non existent.

        Hindsight is no replacement for Foresight………. !!!

        Corollary of Newton’s third Law
        No action, no opposing reaction.

        How come there are such a large number of diaspora Tamils far away in the West where cultural, religious, language and genetic differences were so disparate when safety was within a few hours reach in a land with an identical culture, language, religion and a population with a closer genetic make up?

        Fear for life or Opportunism?

        Quote
        and for some 15-yr old non-diaspora Tamils having to be forced to fight for Tamil Liberation? Don’t forget that there were also young Tamils who fought without having to be forced. (PresiDunce)

        If that is an excuse for stealing the childhood of 10 and 7 year olds and sending them to their death, it is downright despicable and would mean that your tears are that of a Crocodile.

        It was the expendable poor Wanni children that died not the rich diaspora children was it? How many willing Diaspora Youth joined in the fight even when the LTTE was short of man power and forcing civilians to the war front? Was staging Death Fasts while tucking in to Fast food the best that the Diaspora could do by way of sacrifice?

        Quote from you
        The logical way would have been like this…
        18. (1) The Official Languages of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala and Tamil and these 2 languages shall also be National Languages of Sri Lanka.
        (2) English shall be the link language.
        (PresiDunce)

        Here I agree with you without reservation.

      • wijayapala

        Dear PresiDunce

        As a Buddhist you also must be knowing about ’cause and effect.

        Since you phrased it like that, shall we conclude that as a non-Buddhist you are not be knowing about cause and effect?

        If majorities and minorities and everyone else in between had been treated equally after ‘IndepenDunce’…would there ever have been such a large number of Diaspora Tamils…and for some 15-yr old non-diaspora Tamils having to be forced to fight for Tamil Liberation?

        I am not blaming any Tamil for leaving Sri Lanka and certainly not for trying to escape the war. My only problem is with those individuals who fled the war **but supported it from abroad while countless number of their brethren were suffering and getting killed.**

        Prabahakaran did not wake up one fine day and decide that he must form a liberation organisation to liberate the Tamils.

        The problem with your argument is that Thalaivar was not the only other Tamil militant. There were others such as Padmanabha and Sri Sabaratnam who also formed “liberation organisations.” Were they killed by Sinhala oppressors?

  • http://yahoo Sandy

    Those of us who never had to live in a camp will not ever know what it was for them who had to..

    It would be good to get in to their shoes and take an imaginary walk.

  • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

    @Sandy

    Click the link below to see who is taking an imaginary walk. :D

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/caption-story/13949-state-sector-physical-fitness-programme.html

  • luxmy

    I hope teachers, teacher trainers and curriculum specialists visit these websites to see how they should improve education in our country.

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