• No. 57, 1st Lane Mada Walikada Road, Rajagiriya Sri Lanka.
  • +94 11 2870369/ +94 11 3355981
  • monlar@sltnet.lk,

OUR HISTORY

Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) was formed as a network of farmer organizations, NGOs and people’s organizations in other sectors at the beginning of 1990, in response to the serious socio-political and economic crisis that emerged in Sri Lanka at the end of 1980s.

MONLAR started with a dialogue. This dialogue was one where we tried to find answers to questions that were extremely serious. The youth uprising of 1988-90 had resulted in around 60,000 disappearances, (as estimated by the European Parliamentary Delegation that visited Sri Lanka in 1991) making Sri Lanka one of the most violent countries in the world. In this uprising around thirty of our activists connected with the All Lanka Peasant Congress were assassinated. They were killed for their support of the devolution of power to the Tamil people and not because they joined the insurrection.

There were previous experiences of two uprisings, one in the South in 1971 and the other in the North beginning in 1976 which ended up in a long war for over 30 years. Why were these happening? What understandings did the responsible leaders of society have and what solutions did they have?

A group of people who worked with the All Lanka Peasant Congress (ALPC) and the Peasant Information Centre (PIC), Ibbagamuwa, made a submission on this to the Presidential Commission on Youth in 1990, (Ref: Youth Uprisings and Social Responsibility) and decided that these questions needed to be discussed with people island-wide. A similar submission was made to the Presidential Task Force for Land Distribution and Utilization appointed by then President R. Premadasa.

It was necessary to analyze the reasons and discuss them widely with ordinary people in the country who had suffered, and were continuing to suffer, and therefore would want to find genuine solutions. From this time onwards MONLAR’s process was one of trying to analyze society, how our situations are linked and influenced by global trends and to develop responses to effectively influence the changes in the country in relation to such efforts globally. When people have the right analysis of problems they can create right solutions. This search and dialogue had to be made as wide as possible among people who suffered the consequences. We have continued this dialogue consistently over the last 25 years.

  • Key milestone events
    1984 – Campaign against water tax and peasant struggle in Wellassa against mass land grabbing for sugar cultivation
    1987 – Formation of Peasant Information Centre
    1989 – Submission of the proposals for land reforms
    1990 – Formation of Committee for National Land and Agricultural Reforms
    1992 – Breaking civil laws against making the country a single economic zone
    1993 – Initiation of the Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform
    1993 – Initiation of the National Movement Mother’s to Combat Malnutrition
    1994 – Signing the petition against WB
    1994 – Struggle to demand solutions for farmer suicides due to indebtedness
    1996 – Start of the Sandeshaya (The Message) news bulleting (Official publication of the movement)
    1996 – “Hour of Truth” campaign to awareness building of the people on international loan traps
    1997 – Initiation of the campaign to protect Eppawala Phosphate deposit
    2000 – Signing the petition of Jubilee 2000 to demand debt cancelation
    2000 – Polonnrauwa farmers hunger strike to demand better price for paddy
    2001 – Campaign against water privatization
    2001 – Campaign of the Peoples Movement to Reduce Milk Prices
    2002 – National Movement Against Highways
    2003 – Campaign series against the “Regaining Sri Lanka: Connecting to Growth” structural adjustment policies
    2003 – Formation of National Movement for the Protection of Human Rights and Natural Resources
    2005 – Formation of the People’s Planning Commission after the Tsunami disaster
    2005 – Campaign series against WTO
    2006 – Campaign against Norochcholai Coal Power Plants
    2007 – Public March to Protect Paddy Farmers
    2007 – Formation of National Movement of Milk Farmers
    2007 – Campaigns against the attempts of Sugar plantations in Bibile
    2008 – Initiation of public campaigns of the solutions for food sovereignty
    2009 – Campaign against the war
    2009 – Campaign against media suppression, forced disappearances and killings
    2010 – Initiation of the Panama land struggle
    2012 – Formation of People’s Planning Forums at Provincial level
    2012 – Initiation of the People’s Movement for the Plantation Communities’ Land Rights
    2012 – Initiation of collaborative programs with Department of Agriculture to promote ecological agriculture
    2013- Formation of the National Movement to Protect Seed Rights
    2014 – Initiation of the annual People’s Caravan for Food Sovereignty
    2014 – Collaborative action with “Street Protest” movement to defeat dictatorship regime
    2015 – Presenting the people’s proposals for agricultural reforms