Human Security has been traditionally thought as embracing two freedoms, namely, freedom from want and freedom from fear. It is believed that such efforts carry potential to significantly contribute towards a nation’s peace and development agendas.
In pursuit of such aims, the Government of Japan has implemented three projects in the North of Sri Lanka in an effort to provide impetus for efforts to bring about human security for the citizens in the area. The three projects have been implemented through three local organizations, namely, Sarvadoya, Sewalanka, and the Halo Trust.
The first project called the ‘Project for Ensuring Long Term Food Security of Resettled Communities in the Northern Province’ utilizes 16 million LKR for the rehabilitation of 60 agricultural wells, 3 irrigation channels and construction of 30 agricultural wells in Oddusan, Maritimepattu DS divisions in Mullaittivu District and Kandavalai DS division in Killinochchi.
Through the development of such infrastructure the communities in the areas are benefitted beyond the mere project cycle where the establishment of an enabling environment for over 2500 families has helped stabilize living conditions through the enhancement of access to water and improved facilities for farming.
The second project has a different focus. It empowers local communities in the start-up of livelihood options through the provision of agricultural and fishing equipment, construction and rehabilitation of 5 community centres and 55 wells in Maritimepattu and Oddusudan in Mullaittivu and Vavuniya North. This intervention called the ‘Project for Supporting the Initial Socio-Economic Needs of Resettled Communities in the Northern Province’ allocates 23 million LKR benefiting over 2500 families.
The third initiative contributes to the resettlement of over 20,000 persons in Jaffna and Killinochchi through assistance to demining projects in the communities. This is aimed to foster safer living environments so that inhabitants can dwell with stabilitiy of mind and proceed with day-to-day activities free from fear. An amount of 59 million LKR allocated under this project builds on previous demining projects for early resettlement of internally displaced persons supported by the Government of Japan amounting to 2350 million LKR to date.
Besides the above three projects that come under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects, the Government of Japan has provided 42 million LKR for a demining project implemented by DASH, a local demining organization. This has benefacted over 5000 persons in the Killinochchi district. Yet another initiative supported by the Government of Japan in the North is the improvement of central facilities of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, the construction of the Vavuniya-Killinochchi Transmission Line, and rehabilitation of resettled communities in Mannar and Jaffna districts.
These projects targeting the grassroots communities as beneficiaries have reaped immediate dividends for communities in the North of the country. Often referred to as ‘people-centred security’ or ‘security with a human face,’ human security places human beings rather than states at the focal point of security considerations. The distinguishing characteristic of human security interventions such as those described above is the emphasis on the complex relationships and oft-ignored linkages between demining, human rights, development and peace.
By Salma Yusuf