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One Sri Lankan soldier for every two civilians in Mullaitivu – ACPR/PEARL report

File photo: Sri Lankan troops in Mullaitivu in August 2017.

There is at least one Sri Lankan soldier for every two civilians living in the Mullaitivu, finds a new report by the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR) and People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), detailing the intense militarisation in the northern district.

The report, entitled ‘Normalising the Abnormal: The Militarisation of Mullaitivu District’, accompanies an interactive online map illustrating the extent of militarisation in the district by documenting military structures and Buddhist viharas.

It found that there was a Sri Lankan military presence of at least 60,000 personnel among just over 130,322 civilians.

The figures indicate that 25% of the Sri Lankan Army is currently occupying a district with only 0.6% of the population of Sri Lanka, said a joint press release.

An interactive online map illustrating the extent of militarisation in Mullaitivu District.

In addition to the massive military presence in the region, the military is occupying approximately 30,000 acres of land it added.

“The military’s intrusion into all aspects of civilian life, including running pre-schools and farms and becoming one of the area’s biggest employers, ensures continued fear, harassment and repression of civic activism,” continued the press release.

“The shadow cast by the military in Mullaitivu District has become so engrained in the Tamil conscience that it has normalised this abnormal occupation and caused Tamil communities to internalise oppression from the security forces.”

“Only a serious and genuine effort at security sector reform and demilitarisation will lead to sustainable peace and stability,” the report concludes.

Read the full text of the report here.