We demand for #LandRightsNow
20,000 signatures calling for justice to Paanama
In continuation of the global campaign #LandRightsNow launched in calling for the release of Paanama lands back to its people, the Paanama people handed over a petition of over 20,000 local and international signatures to the Presidential Secretariat office on 14th June 2017 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In 2010, 350 families of farmers and fisher folk living in Paanama, a coastal village in the east of Sri Lanka, were forcibly and violently evicted from lands they had cultivated and lived on for over forty years. These lands were taken over by the military to establish camps, and they are now being used to promote tourism. People's Alliance for Right to Land (PARL) calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately act on the decision to release these lands back to the community who depend on them for their livelihoods and food.
Undeterred by threats, intimidation and legal action taken against them, the people of Paanama have worked together in unison in the struggle to win their lands back. Despite these dangers, the community refuses to give up. In 2015, the government finally agreed to return the land, recognising the community’s rights. But the government has yet to keep its promise. The community is still waiting for their land and their home back. A gathering of Paanama community members, civil society representatives, journalists and activists convened outside the Presidential Secretariat office (June 14th) to hand over the aforementioned petition in demand of justice, calling for the release of Paanama lands.