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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 10/30/2009, 00.00

    SRI LANKA

    Fisher families going hungry in Batticaloa because of illegal fishing and drought

    Melani Manel Perera

    Law enforcement is doing nothing to stop illegal fishing methods and punish offenders. Earnings drop from 2,000 to 50 rupees a day.
    Batticaloa (AsiaNews) – Small-scale fishermen in the Batticaloa lagoon area will go soon hungry. Drought and illegal fishing, tolerated by local authorities, are wiping out their already meagre earnings.

    For months, the coastal area of the North-Eastern Province has not had a drop of rain, and the water level in the lagoon is so low that bottom rocks are starting to surface making fishing impossible.

    But a fickle nature is not the only thing making it hard for the 70 or so fishing families that live in the area. Authorities turning a blind eye to law breaking is another aggravating factor.  

    “The main problem is the use of illegal gear by some locals,” Mattakkali Co-operative Fisheries Organisation secretary Nagarasa Sivanesharasaa told AsiaNews. Disco nets and other destructive gear are devastating on the environment, both plant and animal life.

    The first ban on destructive gear came into effect in 1996, but since 21 July of this year, the rule applies to the whole country.

    Yet in the district of Batticaloa, illegality is widespread. And fishermen blame the authorities for looking away. For the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), this “is a clear example of why we need democracy in the country. The law should be upheld again.”

    Nalliya Yoganayagam, a local fisherman and father of four, is devastated. “Last year I made about 2,000 rupees a day (US$ 16), but yesterday I only earned about 500 and today 50.

    “There are about 500 fishermen who use illegal fishing gear, which the Fisheries Department had banned, but with the support of police and the army they continue to using them, untroubled,” said some fishermen from the area between Kalladi and Navalladi.

    Afraid of possible retaliation, they withheld their name or refused to be photographed.

    “Bans do not apply to friends of the authorities,” they said. “Nine fishermen were stopped last week for destructive fishing gear. They were even taken to court but no action was taken against them.”

    Everything is scooped up as a result of illegal fishing in the high seas; little is left for those who respect the rules and remain within the four-kilometre zone.

    “All we need is to have this illegal fishing stopped and the ban enforced,” said NAFSO secretary Herman Kumara. Sadly, what is happening in Batticaloa “is another example of the state of the rule of law in our country.”

    In view of what the Supreme Court ruled (see Melani Manel Perera, “Sri Lanka, fishermen win the war: invasive techniques banned,” in AsiaNews, 24 July 2009), offenders should be reported to the police, which should then proceed against them.

    “When you see police violate the law, how can we have trust and report them to the same authority,” he said.

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    See also

    16/07/2010 SRI LANKA
    Eleven People’s Tribunals for Sri Lanka’s landless to move the government
    The government is derelict in its duty to help hundreds of thousands of people who are landless and homeless. An NGO, Praja Abhilasha, is setting up people’s tribunals to collect evidence about the abuses inflicted upon civilians. One of the organisers, Herman Kumara, says the goal is to mobilise public opinion, create a movement and rewrite the constitution so that “land is a fundamental right”.

    12/01/2009 SRI LANKA
    Aid for northern fishermen who fled the war between Tamil Tigers and the army
    The National Fisheries Solidarity Movement donates engines, nets and other gear. The distribution was carried out by Fr Seemanpillai Jayabalan, local co-ordinator for an IDP aid organisation in Nanattan, where 102 farming and fishing families of live.

    21/07/2009 SRI LANKA
    IMF to provide a US$ 2.5 billion loan, but government forgets the poor
    The loan is set to finance post-war reconstruction and cushion the impact of the global economic crisis. However, government policies are negatively impacting broad segments of the population through higher taxes and disincentives to production. Women and small scale economic operators like fishermen are the hardest hit.

    06/08/2010 SRI LANKA
    Villages destroyed, residents driven out to develop tourist sector
    On 17 July, masked men wielding weapons destroyed the homes of residents in Panama and Ragamvila, two coastal villages in northeastern Sri Lanka. Police and troops who now occupy the area have prevented residents from coming back. Locals accuse the government of taking their land to promote tourist development.

    21/01/2008 SRI LANKA
    Urgent need to create safer working conditions for fishermen
    Two fishermen organisations, the World Forum for Fisher People and the National Fisheries Solidarity, are pushing for changes. For the past month they have been trying to locate three fishermen who went missing out at sea. The latter’s families say the situation is due to the authorities’ failure to act and their continued indifference vis-à-vis the men’s fate.



    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    Vatican silence over Shanghai’s Mgr Ma Daqin causing confusion and controversy

    Bernardo Cervellera

    For some, Mgr Ma’s blog post praising the Patriotic Association and acknowledging his mistakes is nothing but “dirt”. For others, he chose humiliation for the “sake of his diocese”. Many wonder why the Holy See has remained silent about the article’s content and the bishop’s persecution. Some suspect the Vatican views the episode in positive terms. Yet, the Ma Daqin affair raises a major question. Has Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics (which describes the Patriotic Association as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine”) been abolished? If it has, who did it? A journey of compromises without truth is full of risks.


    CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Ma Daqin: the text of his “confession”

    Mons. Taddeo Ma Daqin

    Four years after quitting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the bishop of Shanghai “admits” his faults on his blog, praising the organisation that controls the Church. We publish his article, almost in its entirety. Translation by AsiaNews.


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