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Commission issues interim recommendations on Salawa fire

Graphic: Office of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

The Commission inquired into complaints by people affected a fire in the Army Camp in the area of Salawa, Kosgama on 5 June 2016.

The complaints lodged by groups of individuals refer to the non-payment of reasonable compensation for the damages caused to fixed and mobile assets owned by the complainants, due to the conflagration and explosion that took place in the Army Camp in the area of Salawa, Kosgama on 5 June 2016.

The following institutions are identified as respondent parties:

  • Secretary - Ministry of Disaster Management
  • Secretary - Ministry of Finance
  • Chief Valuer - Valuation Department
  • Commander - Sri Lanka Army
  • District Secretary - Colombo District Secretariat
  • Divisional Secretary - Seethawaka Divisional Secretariat

A series of problems faced by them subsequent to the disaster was put forward by the complainants and accordingly after a preliminary inquiry the following interim recommendations were made by the Commission and communicated to the respondents:

  1. to establish an Appeals Committee consisting of representatives of all respondents mentioned above;
  2. to draft a suitable appeals form by the relevant District Secretary and the Divisional Secretary for the purpose of collecting details of damages caused to fixed and mobile properties from the victims (with views and assistance obtained from the remaining respondents, if necessary);
  3. to distribute the form prepared as per 02 above among the victims in a suitable manner and maintain a register of details pertaining to the distribution of the form and the recipients thereof;
  4. to afford an opportunity also to victims in addition to those who have already appealed (and who are eligible to re-appeal) and the possibility of appeal/re appeal be given wide publicity;
  5. to collect information within 14 days of the distribution of the form;
  6. to re-compute the assessment in respect of each application so that the assessment as made for each item could be clearly and separately identified;
  7. to report back to the HRCSL as to why the payment of the monthly allowance of R.50,000.00 made as per the Cabinet decision of (for business community or other aggrieved parties) has since been discontinued;
  8. to publicize the closing date for appeals and introduce a fair system to consider such appeals; including obtaining relevant technical expertise; and
  9. to inquire into the requirements of aggrieved students and children among the victims and examine the manner in which due relief could be granted.

Respondents are required to report back with steps taken to comply with recommendation by 5 June 2017.

Date: 25 May 2017

Source: Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

Image credits

  1. Office of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka - APF