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IDPs imprisoned, land sold to investors

September 23, 2009

Sri Lankan government opens up captured territory for investors

Since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May, the Sri Lankan government has pressed ahead with extensive plans to attract foreign investors and set up Special Economic Zones inside captured rebel territory. The pattern in the “liberated” northern areas follows similar developments in the Eastern Province, which was brought under army control in 2007.

In its final offensives, the military depopulated large swathes of land stretching from Mannar in the northwest to Mullaithivu in the northeast. Thousands of civilians were killed in indiscriminate aerial bombing and artillery barrages. Most of the remaining civilian population—around 280,000 people—were herded into squalid internment camps, where they are being held indefinitely.

Since May, the government has announced the Uthuru Wasanthaya (Spring of the North) program, which follows on from the previous Nagenahira Navodaya (Reawakening of the East). These plans are not aimed at providing ordinary people with housing, schools, hospitals and services, but at opening up these areas for investors.

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