National Action Plan:
Blueprint for unity and prosperity
A brighter future awaits Northern children
The Action Plan for the implementation of LLRC recommendations
published last week is continued below. The Sunday Observer carried the
proposals in the Action Plan under the themes ‘International
Humanitarian Law issues’ and ‘Human Rights’. Today the actions to be
implemented under ‘Land Return and Resettlement’ and
‘Restitution/Compensatory Relief’ will be published.Land Return and
Resettlement Upholding the LLRC recommendation 9.124 that ‘any citizen
of Sri Lanka has the right to acquire land in any part of the country,
in accordance with its laws and regulations, and reside in any area of
his/her choice without any restrictions or limitations’, the Action plan
has directed a study by the Ministry of Lands, with specific reference
to North and the East, to ascertain whether current practices infringe
on legal rights to acquire land with a view to clear if any.
It has also suggested effective implementations of the policy on land
use with the aim of identifying state land for settlements.
The Ministry of Lands have also been entrusted with formulating a
policy to deal with the issue of settlements to endorse the LLRC
recommendation that private lands would not be utilized for settlements
by any Government agency.
Terms of Reference
To ensure that the land policy of the Government is not an instrument
to effect unnatural changes in the demographic pattern of a given
Province, the Action plan has suggested the establishment of 4th Land
Commission to recommend policy to address existing issues. Previously
Land Commissions were appointed in 1927, 1936 and 1985. The 4th Land
Commission will also be governed by the same Terms of Reference.
The 4th Land Commission has been tasked with considering
thefeasibility of implementing the following recommendations of the LLRC
and implement the activities in keeping with the findings of the
Commission within 24 months.
Recommendation 9.126 which refers to conducting a publicity campaign
to assure returning IDPs that the program to be implemented, seek to
give land to returnees as soon as possible, and is not a substitute for
recourse to the courts of law where people are in possession of valid
legal proof of their claim to the land in question. The key responsible
agency is the Ministry of Lands.
Another recommendation is to supervise civil administration officers
tasked with the implementation of the Program by respective Government
Agents and monitor implementation quality at the national level by the
Land Commissioner General. (recmm 9.129)Organize a well-planned media
seminar enable the Media to project an accurate and clear view of the
Program (9.131)Confine the participation of security forces officers to
expediting the release of maximum extents of lands being utilized for
security purposes (9.134)Organize and hold a ‘Community Consultation
Meeting’ in each District Secretariat area prior to the launch of the
First Committee investigation process, giving it wide coverage to ensure
maximum participation from members of the community.
Establish a mechanism to rapidly consider constructive suggestions
made through this process (9.135, 136)The Ministry of Lands have also
been directed to ensure strictenforcement of the ministry circular
provisions that preventalienation of state land other than for IDPs,
until a proposed program is implemented.In response to the
recommendation 9.141, ‘actively seek thecooperation of a development
partner to support the Programme, based on the understanding that
Government of Sri Lanka will be responsible for Programme policy,
decision making, and implementation’ the action plan has directed to
evaluate the need for the support of an external partner and secure
assistance as appropriate, if feasible.
Resettlement is being completed in the Northern Province
Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Resettlement and Department of
National Planning has been entrusted with formulating a report with a
project proposal, if needed within three months.The recommendation 9.142
which call on the Government to ‘review the 2 existing HSZs in Palaly
and Trincomalee-Sampur, as well as small extents of private land
currently utilized for security purposes, with a view to release more
land while keeping national security needs in perspective.
As for completing the provision of alternate lands and or payment of
compensation within a specific time frame’, a review has already been
completed. Ministries of Defence and Lands have been directed to release
lands to the owners where possible and take steps to re-locate (within 6
months) or to pay compensation acting under applicable Statutes (Land
Acquisition Act) within three years.On the LLRC recommendation to
expedite work on National Land Commission, the Action plan directs
Presidential Secretariat and the Lands Ministry to include this in the
Terms of Reference of the PSC with a view to receive recommendations.
The timeline is to be confirmed in due course.In reference to the
recommendation 9.151 - develop a land use plan for each district in the
North and East with the participation of district and national experts
drawn from various relevant disciplines to guide the district
administration in land conservation and alienation, the Action Plan says
necessary resources should be provided to the Ministry of Lands to carry
out the proposal that is to see completion within 36 months.
The key responsible agencies are Ministry of Finance and Ministry of
Public Administration and Ministry of Lands.
The above recommendation strives to ensure the protection of
environment and bio-diversity, sustainable economic development, leisure
and recreational standards, religious, cultural, and archaeological
sites with a view to improving the quality of life of the present and
The Land Use Plan for the North and East is to be developed in line
with the Land Use Policy adopted in 2007.For the recommendation 9.155 -
Review the role and capacity ofRehabilitation of Persons, Properties and
Industries Authority(REPPIA) with a view to streamlining and augmenting
its role andresources in undertaking post-conflict requirements [for
The Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms is to examine the
issues that affect the effective implementation of the REPIA and take
appropriate action to deal with issues identified.
In order to ensure LLRC recommendation ‘funding to clear the backlog
of cases and prevent delays and no payment in future due to lack of
funds, set a time limit for completion of payments’ is met, Finance and
Planning Ministry has been directed to provide funds for payment of
compensation based on an acceptable victim identification process.
The Ministry of Resettlement and Presidential Task Force for N & E
will continue with the ongoing Government program for therehabilitation
and re-integration of ex-combatants and thereconciliation program for
the next of kin to ensure recommendation 9.164 which says to ‘take a
decision on compensatory relief for death and injury for those involved
with the LTTE’ is met. The program grants relief to those next of kin
affected by death or injury as a direct result of the conflict. This
process is to be completed within 24 months.
Next week: Reconciliation