Sri Lanka intervening during the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council in an ID with the Special Rapporteur on Right to Food and Special Rapporteur on Right to Adequate Housing on 10thMarch 2014, has said 49,488 houses have been constructed in the Northern and Eastern Provinces for the IDPs under the North East Housing Reconstruction Programme (NEHRP).
Statement by the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka 25th Session of the Human Rights Council Item 3 :ID with the Special Rapporteur on Right to Food and Special Rapporteur on Right to Adequate Housing
My delegation thanks the Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food and the Right to Adequate Housing for their Reports.
Sri Lanka takes note of the conclusion by the SR on the Right to Food that eradication of hunger and malnutrition is an achievable goal and ‘food sovereignty’ is an essential requirement for the realization of right to food. In this regard, empowering communities to enable them to address issues at hand is a positive first step as recommended by the SR. Sri Lanka also welcomes the focus on food security at the first session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on a UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas in July 2013.
With the aim of alleviating poverty and achieving social equity, the Government of Sri Lanka has launched the DiviNeguma programme encompassing livelihood development activities to, inter alia, ensure food security for each individual and family; to improve the living standards of people; to mobilize and empower people for national development; to upgrade physical and social infrastructure facilities; and to create a social security network for those who are in need of economic upliftment.
Sri Lanka has accomplished much in ensuring food availability to everyone by increasing food production and ensuring equal distribution. As a result, Sri Lanka is self-sufficient in staple food production with a surplus of rice and maize, and 85% of the population having access to improved water sources. New technology, innovations and research in agriculture have enabled the Government to increase its food production, thus ensuring nation’s food security in an eco-friendly manner.
Sri Lanka’s national policy framework to ensure food security is implemented through the National Agriculture Policy (NAP) which also aims at ensuring higher and sustainable incomes for farmers and remunerative prices for agricultural products. One significant step in this regard is assistance to farmers in reducing production costs by provision of fertiliser subsidy for all agricultural crops.
Special attention is also paid by the Government to enhance the participation of women in agriculture, including within the household. The Divi Neguma programme which promotes home gardening and urban agriculture is a case in point.
We agree with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing that that security of tenure is an integral part of the right to adequate housing and a necessary ingredient for the enjoyment of many other civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.
The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) is the national level organization established for housing development of Sri Lanka. In line with the Government’s vision of an “adequate house with basic amenities for every family”, it has implemented several programmes to support low income families in housing including concessionary loan schemes and provision of technical assistance.
The Government has taken specific measures to provide housing facilities for the IDPs of the former conflict affected areas. Under the North East Housing Reconstruction Programme (NEHRP), a total of 49,488 houses have been constructed in the Northern and Eastern Provinces at a cost of SL Rs 16,112.00 Mn. IDP housing is also constructed with the assistance of the bilateral and multilateral donor community. In line with the LLRC recommendation, the Government is also implementing the Land Commissioner General’s Special Land Circular which provides for the granting of legal ownership of land to those IDPs who have been resettled.
In conclusion, we wish both Special Rapporteurs success in their work.