Sri Lanka today marks the 4th anniversary of the humanitarian operation that led to liberate the country after nearly three decades of terrorism.
On May 18, 2009, due to unwavering political leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the extraordinary commitment and determination, professionalism and noble sacrifices of the Armed Forces, the Police and the Civil Defence Department, Sri Lanka became the first country in the modern world to wipe out terrorism from its soil.
Operation Mavil Aru
The closure of the sluice-gates of Mavil Aru by the LTTE on July 26, 2006 was a crucial turning point in the battle between the security forces and the LTTE. The Mavil Aru provided both drinking and irrigation supplies to families in the Eastern Province.
When the government's appeal to restore the water supply failed to evoke any reaction, the security forces launched the military operations against the LTTE with an air attack in August, 2006. The army eventually took control of the sluice gates of the reservoir in Mavil Aru, the strategic area to commence the battle against LTTE.
The Security Forces regained the control of Mawil Aru in August, Sampoor in September 2006, Vakarai and Thoppigala in January 2007.
Security Forces then shifted its operations to the north in 2007.
On January 2, 2008 the government formally announced its withdrawal from the Ceasefire Agreement, which the LTTE was.... breach.
Security forces took the control of Silawathurai in September 2007, Madhu Church, Devil Point, Pooneryn, Mankulam and Kokavil in 2008, Paranthan, Kilinochchi, Elephant Pass, Iranamadu, Mullaitivu, Puthukudiyiruppu, Pudumatahlan and Vellamullivaikkal in 2009.
On May 18, the Security Forces carried out the task of liberating Sri Lanka from the terrorism of the LTTE.
During the last four years following the end of the Humanitarian Operation Sri Lanka has gained vast post-conflict progress.
Sri Lanka succeeded in resettling all the IDPs who arrived to the government’s relief villages during the final battle between the armed forces and LTTE terrorists, in just over one year. Indeed, it is significant that the government could resettle them so soon in their places of origin.
Nearly 300, 000 IDPs arrived in government controlled areas by May 2009 and the number reduced to 242, 318 by August the same year due to the government’s programme to help them join with their relatives living in different parts of the country.
The rest of IDPs who were sheltered in relief villages in Menik Farm in Vavuniya and in Jaffna were resettled, especially in the districts of Vavuniya, Mannar and Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara.
The last batch of Internally Displaced Persons were resettled in Kombavil in September 2012 until the completion of ongoing de-mining process in Putukuduirruppu and Meritimepattu.
Accordingly 1,186 people belonged to 361 families left the Manik Farm.
The government has spent US$ 360 million to resettle IDPs housed in various welfare centers at the end of May 2009.
In addition to the government's spending, UN agencies and other donor partners have provided assistance regularly to complement the government's efforts.
For those who resettled the government donated food rations worth Rs. 3,500 per month along with certain tools to re-establish livelihoods.
Only 96 square kilometers of land, out of 2064 square kilometers remain to be de-mined at present.
In June 2009, the Government with the support of donor communities such as, Australia, Japan, China, India, EU, USA,etc, UNDP, UNICEF, national and international mine action operators implemented a comprehensive and rapid de-mining Programme to clear those lands estimated to 2064 square kilometers as Confirmed Hazardous Areas (CHA) where contaminated with mines, booby traps and Unexploded Ordnance (UXOs).
When the three-decade long conflict ended in May 2009, around 11,800 ex-LTTE cadres surrendered to the Sri Lankan security forces.
The government has so far rehabilitated over 10, 375 ex- LTTE carders and the remaining are being rehabilitated in camps. These cadres most of them who were hard core members are undergoing rehabilitation following chargers filed against them in courts.
The government has introduced a scheme through a State Bank to provide loans up to a maximum of Rs.250,000 to the rehabilitated cadres for self-employment purposes.
The former LTTE cadres undergoing rehabilitation receive vocational training during their rehabilitation program to learn skills that could find them employment once they are reintegrated into the society.
Over 50 percent of the rehabilitated ex-combatants had successfully completed the GCE Ordinary Level examination last December.
Meanwhile, the special committee appointed to study the cases of detained LTTE suspects and expedite legal actions where necessary, began its work in January 2011.
With the defeat of terrorism Sri Lanka now has an opportunity to create a multi-ethnic, democratic and peaceful future for all Sri Lankans. To support the drive towards national unity and reconciliation after decades of division, in May 2010, President Rajapaksa appointed the eight-member Commission to report on the lessons to be learnt from the events in the period, Feb 2002 to May 2009, their attendant concerns and to recommend measures to ensure that there will be no recurrence of such a situation.
The Commission is chaired by the former Attorney General Chitta Ranjan de Silva.
The Commission is part of an ambitious wider package of measures taken by the Sri Lankan government to drive the process of reconciliation and create the basis for a stable, prosperous future. Other measures include rolling back emergency legislation; nearly 75% of those regulations now are been removed, an accelerated programme of resettlement; rehabilitation and retraining programmes for former combatants, including child soldiers; and sustained investment the north and east of the country to create the economic basis for unity and integration.
The government initiated a mega development drive to develop the Northern Province parallel to the resettling of people.
Under this programme funds have been allocated to development of all spheres including housing, education, health, transportation, irrigation, fisheries, agriculture and livelihoods facilities.
Under the “Negenahira Navodaya” Programme major development projects have commenced and some completed in all three districts of the Eastern Province. The programme aims to promote de-militarization, development, democratization and devolution in the East.