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1990 – 2020: Thirty years of displacement for fishermen at Neethavan IDP camp, Sri Lanka March 19,2020   |  Source: Law and Society Trust

Located off the Kankesanthurai Road in Mallakam, Jaffna, is the Neethavan camp for internally-displaced persons (IDPs), or what is conveniently referred to by authorities as the Neethavan Welfare Centre. Its residents are families who were forced to leave their homes due to the conflict, when combat between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE escalated on the peninsula in the early 1990s.

The families living here are those whose homes were located close to the northernmost coast, currently within the bounds of the Palaly High Security Zone (HSZ). Some of them were relocated to the camp at the time of displacement, while others were displaced as far as the Wanni, and returned to Jaffna in the mid 90s.

Before their displacement, their proximity to the coastline meant they engaged in traditional fishing as a means of gaining an income and providing for their families. Fishermen used the shores of Myliddy, just minutes from their homes, to moor their boats and also set them out to sea.

The HSZ has severely restricted access and movement of the people to their traditional homelands, and therefore to their means of livelihood. The Zone and the Myliddy fisheries harbor, now a commercial fishing port, means that these small-scale fishermen are forced to take up more difficult

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