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Monday, January 24, 2022

Joint appeal to President by Eastern Sinhalese, Muslims & Tamils on Human Rights Day – “Sopping activities that threaten right to life of the people!”

On the occasion of International Human Rights day (10.12.2021) a vehicle procession(Parade) has been commenced from Sarvodya center in Trincomalee District and went up to Eastern Province Governors’ Office, thereafter a petition to be sent to the honorable president has been handed over at the Governors ‘office.

On this occasion at the Trincomalee district Sarvodaya Center 401 persons representing Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim communities of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara Districts had participated and conveyed there problems concerning their rights through carrying placards and oral.

Today people representing all three communities joined together and freed white pigeon as a simple to attain peace and harmony.

The peoples’ procession held today, started from Trincomalee Sarvodaya (via Nilavelli road and reached 3rd mile post area and went again to Kandy Road and went via Abayapuram junction and Linga Nagar and reached Orr’s hill  area and finally arrived at the Eastern Province Governors’ office.

The people, who went there, handed over the petition to the Planning Officer, as requested by the Governor to be sent to the honorable President in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages.

Particularly, due to the Covid infection we (AHRC) arranged for the participation of 100 persons representing all three communities.  However as organized by our social activists there were 401 persons (76 Sinhala, 120 Muslim and 205 Tamil people) had participated.

These people commenced their activities requesting for their rights to unable to obtain their food, to stop the increased the rise of prices to important materials, government taking over of their living and incoming generated lands, the Sri Lanka government should ensure to safeguard their basic rights, to immediately stop all violence against women and the SriLanka state to ensure the prevailing of harmony amongst all communities.

The event was organised by the AHAM HUMANITARIAN RESOURCE CENTER(AHRC).

 

To the attention of His Excellency the President!

Ensure people’s right to basic food by stopping activities that question the right to life of the people!

At the special event of the International Human Rights Day to be held on December 10, 2021 at the Sarvodaya Complex, Trincomalee, the people of the Eastern Province, who are of all ethnic communities bring on their united demands to your contentious consideration.

His excellency, the effects of the war of the past, the tsunami catastrophe and the devastating Covid disease have left our livelihoods, self-employment, agriculture and fisheries completely lost, and violence against women has escalated and our livelihoods in question. At a time when we are in the process of rebuilding the lost economy, constraints and commodity prices have become a major issue, especially due to the global impact of the Covid epidemic. Many factors such as lack of capital to carry out production, lack of facilities for modern technology, non-permanent political decisions, and extraordinary circumstances that arise from time to time in the country are obstacles to sustainable food production in the country.

Rising prices for essential commodities have disrupted the lives of many families, as people are unable to produce enough food for them and are fueling the fires of poverty.The debt burden, which has been a constant burden of the government for a long time, has also tightened the avenues for borrowing to provide even emergency relief to the poor.

If the consumer goods of strong high-income earners looking for alternatives in the economy are luxury goods, then only high-income families will be affected. On the contrary, rising prices of our essential commodities such as rice, pulses, mangoes, sugar, hazelnuts, bread, eggs and meat have led to people living with hunger every day. (Prices of commodities have increased by about 30s – 40s over the last 1 year.

For instance: Rice (country) which was 95.00 rupees in 2020 has now increased to 139.00 rupees. The price of sugar which was 122.00 rupees has now increased to 154.00 rupees. The price of dhal which was Rs. 248.00 has now increased to Rs.260.00. The price of 400g milk powder has increased from Rs 380.00 to Rs 480.00 and from Rs 698 to 01 kg of Dry Sprat has  now increased  to Rs 800.00 today.

The fact is that high prices of essential commodities are pushing the grassroots people further down and starving them. We would like to remind you that in its Constitution, Sri Lanka is committed to equitable distribution of resources to all people and to the well-being of equals.

As well as the fact that our agricultural lands have not been fully liberated and the government has not taken a number of healthy measures to facilitate fishing and agro-industrial endeavors and provide relief; It has affected our right to life and it seems to us that the state is forgetting the principles of state policy.

In addition, several thousand acres of agricultural land and residential land, especially in the Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara districts, have been demarcated as forest areas, archeological sites, development areas, conservation areas, tourist sites and places of worship. We feel that these are disrupting the equality of the people and causing rifts between the races.

We would like to point out that this will prevent the population in our districts from being able to carry out full-fledged livelihood activities.Therefore, we humbly request on this day that the lands of the people should be returned to the same people and arrangements should be made for them to carry out planning activities for an independent livelihood.

As well as endangering our lives due to the harassment of wild elephants and crop lands are being completely destroyed. To date we do not have a formal plan for this. Humans have been killed and many acres of farmland destroyed. There are reports that an average of 50 human lives are killed by wild elephants in Sri Lanka every year.

Not only that, there is not enough pasture for livestock today which plays an important role in our livelihood (for example, in the Trincomalee district Morawewa, Kinniya, Thambalagama, Muttur South, Muttur East and especially the Batticaloa district, in the Madhavana area). Also, illegal fishing is still practiced in the Trincomalee district. Thus the fisheries of our district are declining. As well as out-of-district fishermen overfishing in the waters belonging to our fishermen. As a result, the livelihood of our fishermen continues to suffer.

Due to lack of proper water management among us, agriculture is affected due to high floods in rainy seasons and high temperatures in summer. Complete relief is not provided to farmers affected by natural disasters by borrowing and cultivating crops. Farmers are not provided with fixed pricing during the harvest season. There is a high price for production and a low price for yield. For the above reasons we are facing the problems mentioned below on a daily basis

  • There is a problem in getting daily food.
  • Being forced into a situation where students are unable to carry out their academic activities
  • Susceptibility of girls and boys to domestic violence
  • We are pushed to the point of not being able to meet the essential needs.
  • Famine death in the future
  • Non-performing loans
  • Unity, harmony and communion between races are less common.
  • Death
  • Family Division
  • Illegal activities prevail
  • Increase the chance of theft and suicide will take place

Therefore, we hope that those who lost their livelihoods due to the tsunami devastation, Covid  epidemic and war in the past will accept our concerns for food and live our future lives in prosperity and inter-ethnic harmony through their action.

Requests: –

  • The right to food is a human right and is enshrined in the Constitution as the chief duty of the State in the principles of state policy. We therefore urge you to take immediate steps to reduce the prices of essential food items.
  • The Government to take steps to release the lands acquired from the people in our districts along with the lands acquired by the people in various ways and to kindly stop the land grabbing which is still going on.
  • We believe that lasting measures must be taken urgently to ensure reconciliation and inter-ethnic harmony in our country, especially in Eastern Province.
  • To expand the laws to end violence against women in Sri Lanka, to make appropriate amendments to the laws to create a new legal framework for the full implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Sri Lanka.
  • To introduce to the country a plan to expedite the crackdown on drug abuse and illicit alcohol production in the country, and to take action to tighten the existing laws on these matters.
  • To take prompt legal action against sexual abuse of women and girls and to create mechanisms to provide justice to the victims.
  • Sri Lanka, which has a long history, has most recently failed to set the prices of essential commodities to be given prominence in its 2022 budget and has failed to ensure the right to life of the people at this critical juncture. This has led to the exodus of more youth, intellectuals, and educated communities from the country, paving the way for the destabilization of the country’s human resources. We urge them to be more concerned about this.
  • To pay more attention to the human rights issues enshrined in the United Nations Convention on Human Rights, and especially to strengthen the mechanisms for the protection of fundamental rights enshrined in Chapter 03 of the Sri Lankan Constitution and to take appropriate action to ensure the equitable enjoyment of fundamental rights by all.

We therefore humbly request that the livelihoods of the people of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka who are experiencing these hardships be enriched, food shortages be eliminated and a way be established for reconciliation and durable peace.

Thanks

People from Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara Districts.

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