On 22 March 2019, Divaina quoted the above statement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana.
To assess this claim, we consulted information published by the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM). Exhibit 1 shows that 63,258 acres of state-owned land had been released as at 12 March 2019, as the minister stated.
Exhibit 1 also shows that the amount of state land initially occupied by the forces as at May 2009 was 88,722 acres. This is higher than the 71,172.53 acres stated by the minister. Therefore, the percentage of state land released was 71.29%. This falls well short of the 88.87% figure claimed by the minister.
The minister was correct on the number of acres released, but not about the percentage of occupied state land it represented. Therefore, we classify the minister’s statement as Partly True.
*FactCheck’s verdict is based on the most recent information that is publicly accessible. As with every fact check, if new information becomes available, FactCheck will revisit the assessment.
Exhibit 1: Occupied Land Released May 2009 – 12 March 2019 (acres)
A second source:
In addition to the SCRM data, we also consulted Sri Lanka’s most recent periodic report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) in February 2019. This report only provides data on land released from January 2015 to January 2019, and not on land released from 2009 to 2014. However, it reports the amount of state land initially occupied by the forces in May 2009 was 93,136 acres. Using this figure, the percentage of state land released falls to 67.92%. This even lower than the SCRM estimate of 71.29%.
- Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM) infographic, available at: https://www.scrm.gov.lk/infographics?lightbox=dataItem-ju87cpj5
- Sixth periodic report submitted by Sri Lanka under article 40 of the Covenant, due in 2017 to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, available at: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR%2fC%2fLKA%2f6&Lang=en