Sri Lanka: Statement at 6th Session of the UN's Forum on Minority issues
6th Session of the UN’s Forum on Minority Issues (26-27 November 2013)
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak. My name is Suhood Fasleem and I am speaking on behalf of the Muslim Community, a religious minority in minority who was forcibly expelled from Northern Province of Srilanka by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 1990.
One of the most pressing concerns for the community is regarding numbers 51, 52 and 53 of the Draft Recommendation relating to the effects of forcible evictions.
Over 75000 Muslim persons expelled from their native districts of Northern Srilanka by the LTTE within a short period of time in October 1990. Within the context of the 26 year conflict in Srilanka, the expulsion of these people by the LTTE stands out one of the major human rights violations and the durable solution remains one of the key post conflict challenges. The Muslim community is met with massive losses in terms of human rights due to the forcible eviction. In the post war-context, return to the area of origin has become possible for internally displaced persons in 2009. The resettlement issue of the Northern Muslim community still remains unresolved. Resettlement of the community must ensure that they have equal access to resources, land, employment, housing opportunities and the protection of their rights in all aspects while building reconciliation and trust among ethnicities in Northern Srilanka.
While we appreciate the government’s special projects and practices to develop the North, we strongly emphasize that durable solutions could be achieved through a presidential commission on the issues of forcible eviction and resettlement process of Northern Muslims to end its protracted displacement. We also corroborate the recommendation of the Lesson Learned Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which was created by Srilankan Government, that “Durable solutions could be achieved through the creation of a uniform state policy aimed at resettlement of Muslim IDPs and/or integrating them into the host community’’.
We would like the UN, development agencies, Muslim Diaspora and other Muslim development organizations to deeply realize the problems of a forcibly evicted Muslim community and make a valuable contribution on their resettlement process.
We also welcome a meaningful contribution of the International community to defeat the communal mindset and to build up national harmony among the ethnicities in Srilanka.
Finally, then, we would like Draft recommendation number 51, 52 and 53 to better reflect the experience of a forcibly evicted community related to conflict.
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