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Press Release -The Recommendations of ITE: Case of eviction for tourism development in Panaama Village, Sri Lanka

The International Tribunal on Evictions has considered proven violations of human rights, urges authorities of Sri Lanka to stop evictions and to return land to displaced people of Panaama Village, and calls for the military to get out and cease commercial activities.

The Jury of the 6th Session of the International Tribunal on Evictions (ITE), held in Venice, Italy, from 28 to 30 September 2017, listened for two days to the testimonies, reports and recommendations of inhabitants and communities from 5 continents who are affected by evictions and human rights violations caused by abusive tourism development. The 6th Session of the ITE marks the beginning of World Zero Evictions Days, a global convergence of local initiatives for the right to housing that will take place throughout October 2017.

The Tribunal opened with an inaugural message from Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. She underlined the relevance and the legal obligations of states to comply in particular with Article 11: International Covenant Economic Social and Cultural Rights and confirmed her acknowledgment of and support for the International Tribunal on Evictions.

Special attention was given to the case of Panaama village, Sri Lanka, where 1,400 people were violently evicted in 2010. On their lands, the Sri Lankan Navy built a hotel, the Malima Lagoone Cabanas, while the Air Force is building the International Relations Centre. The villagers, peasants and fishermen who were evicted are struggling to recover the confiscated land, but so far they have not obtained justice.

The ITE Jury, composed of concerned experts and representatives from international and local organisations specialising in human rights and tourism, has proven the evidence that tourism development that puts profits before local communities and their well-being, leads to violations of national laws and human rights legally recognized by the countries that have ratified the International Covenants. Analysis of the cases shows that the loss of local residents’ shelter, housing and land, as well as loss of access to resources upon which their livelihood depends upon, triggers additional human right violations.

The case of Panaama Village highlights a clear lack of Free, Prior and Informed Consent and meaningful consultation of the local community with regards to tourism development and land right issues resulting in violations of national and international regulations.

In light of that, the 6th Session of International Tribunal on Evictions has issued and sent to the Authorities of Sri Lanka  specific Recommendations related to the Paanama Village case.

The ITE is committed to implementing these Recommendations, through the mobilisation of social organisations and international networks, involving the UN System, and carrying out monitoring in March and October 2018.


The Jury of the International Tribunal of Evictions

Augustin Territoriale,  lawyer and a specialist in housing, University of Buenos Aires, coordinates Public Defender's Office Argentina, Argentina

Cesare Ottolini,  former member Advisory Group of Forced Evictions of UN-Habitat, global Coordinator of International Alliance of Inhabitants and Unione Inquilini Italy

Giulia Diletta Bertazzo,  attorney at the Legal Office of the Unione Inquilini, Venice, Italy

Laura Jaeger, project officer for tourism and development at Bread for the World foundation and Tourism Watch, Germany

Medha Patkar,  founder of Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Campaign) and of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), India

Rose Bridger,   co-founder and coordinator of the Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM), United Kingdom

Venice, December 26th  2017

For further informations:

International Tribunal on Evictions - Session on tourism - 28-30 September 2017  

International Tribunal on Tourism-Related Evictions  

Transforming Tourism initiative  


Soha Ben Slama, Coordinator of the International Tribunal on Evictions (ITE), ITE2017@habitants.org  

Cesare Ottolini, International Alliance of Inhabitants (IAI), global.coordinator.iai@habitants.org  

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