Land Policies, Land-based Development Programs and the Question of Minority Rights in Eastern Sri Lanka

  •  Mohammad Agus Yusoff    
  •  Athambawa Sarjoon    
  •  Azmi Awang    
  •  Izham Hakim Hamdi    


Land has been one of the major concerning factors in escalating disputes and conflicts between ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, including the violation of minority rights. This paper examines the impact of land policies and land-based development programs on the rights of ethnic minorities in eastern Sri Lanka by analyzing selected major policies and projects. The analysis is interpretive and descriptive in nature. Secondary literature was the primary source for the analysis. The results found that the majority of land policies and programs were designed and implemented in favor of the ethnic majority - the Sinhalese - and violated the land-based rights of ethnic minorities, thereby leading to many problems and challenges. Findings further revealed that not only were these policies and projects intended to reduce the ethnic balance of the minorities in the region, but they also resulted in territorial political claims among the ethnic minorities in the region.

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