At 7:30 am in Mullikulam on March 23, a group of villagers decided to begin a protest, demanding for the return of their land.
The residents of Mullikulam have been living ‘as refugees’ for 11 years, in their own words. Most of their land has been occupied by the Navy. Within 2 hours, according to a participant, the police arrived at the scene of the protest. “They asked us, do you want to protest, or do you want your land back?” he related. Undeterred, the protesters decided to continue their efforts.
Photos courtesy Mannar Social and Economical Development Organization
The residents of Mullikulam are only the latest to join a string of protests held across the North, in the run up to the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva.
On March 23, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Sri Lanka. Amounting to a technical rollover, it gave Sri Lanka two more years to fulfill the commitments made in a resolution co-sponsored in 2015.
“The very reason the people are protesting is because they have seen no progress in their cases,” human rights activist Ruki Fernando said.
“The representations made by Sri Lanka in Geneva… are completely disconnected from the lived day to day experiences of the protesters. Their perspectives and aspirations are the opposite of what the Prime Minister is saying. The Foreign Minister is not speaking about their daily experience. So they are trying to provide a counter narrative.”