Stop using Qatari funds to destroy Elephant Habitat in Sri Lanka

  • by: Rahula Gunasekera
  • target: The leader of Qatar, his Excellency Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani

We the undersigned would respectfully like to present to the leader of Qatar, his Excellency Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani,evidence that funds from Qatar (the site of the 2022 Football World Cup) are fuelling the illegal destruction of elephant habitat around Wilpattu National Park in Sri Lanka, in particular the Jassim City project (named after and funded by a charity that carries the name of the President of Qatar) (1) (2).

This destruction started shortly after high level talks between the Kingdom of Qatar and the Government of Sri Lanka (3) (4). The Prime Minister of Qatar his Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani met with both the Sri Lankan President’s brother the Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa, who incidentally also has the Ministry of Wildlife under his control, and the Minister of Trade and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen (3) (4).

There have been denials regarding the destruction of elephant habitat by Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan Minister of Wildlife Resources and Conservation Management, Gamini Vijith Vijayamuni de Zoysa as well as by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, claiming instead that these are legal resettlement of people displaced by the Sri Lanka Navy (5)(6)(7). However, evidence of the illegal nature of the settlement around Wilapattu is overwhelming and this includes satellite pictures of habitat destruction, billboard from the settlement advertising the origins of the sponsor and denials from the Sri Lanka Navy that the settlers are people displaced by the navy (1)(2)(6).

We fully understand that the Kingdom of Qatar would have been misinformed by the Government of Sri Lanka on the details of the resettlement. However, there is strong evidence that this is mostly due to the haphazard and unplanned nature of development projects in Sri Lanka, a case in point being the Mattala Airport and Hambantota Port in Southern Sri Lanka (8). Due to the evidence available of the illegal nature of this settlement, which is also creating new zones of human/elephant conflict and religious tensions (9) (10), we respectfully request the Kingdom of Qatar halt the funding of Jassim City. We also respectfully request that independent environmental impact studies be done on all projects being funded by Qatar in Sri Lanka and to take appropriate actions based on the results of these studies.

Sincerely

Concerned Citizens of the World.

  1.       http://old.dailymirror.lk/news/47048-minister-bathiudeen-re-settling-people-in-forest-reserves-environmentalists.html
  2.       http://nethfm.com/article/1707/neth
  3.       http://www.ft.lk/2011/12/14/qatar-govt-private-sector-bullish-on-sri-lankan-opportunities/
  4.       http://www.ceylontoday.lk/16-786-news-detail-qatar-sl-relations-to-increase.html
  5.       http://www.slbc.lk/index.php/newsarchives/19501-the-minister-of-wild-life-says-there-is-no-any-unauthorized-construction-in-the-wilpattu-sanctuary-.html
  6.       http://www.ceylontoday.lk/31-62670-news-detail-half-truths-cover-ups-and-confusion.html
  7.       http://www.sailanmuslim.com/news/basil-defends-wilpattu-resettlement/
  8.       http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/03/11/mahinda-percy-rajapaksas-white-elephants/
  9.       http://archives.dailynews.lk/2013/01/31/news40.asp

10. http://colombogazette.com/2014/04/23/bbs-mob-storms-rishads-ministry/

your Excellency Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani,


We the undersigned would respectfully like to present to the leader of Qatar, his Excellency Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani,evidence that funds from Qatar (the site of the 2022 Football World Cup) are fuelling the illegal destruction of elephant habitat around Wilpattu National Park in Sri Lanka, in particular the Jassim City project (named after and funded by a charity that carries the name of the President of Qatar) (1) (2).


This destruction started shortly after high level talks between the Kingdom of Qatar and the Government of Sri Lanka (3) (4). The Prime Minister of Qatar his Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani met with both the Sri Lankan President’s brother the Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa, who incidentally also has the Ministry of Wildlife under his control, and the Minister of Trade and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen (3) (4).


There have been denials regarding the destruction of elephant habitat by Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan Minister of Wildlife Resources and Conservation Management, Gamini Vijith Vijayamuni de Zoysa as well as by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, claiming instead that these are legal resettlement of people displaced by the Sri Lanka Navy (5)(6)(7). However, evidence of the illegal nature of the settlement around Wilapattu is overwhelming and this includes satellite pictures of habitat destruction, billboard from the settlement advertising the origins of the sponsor and denials from the Sri Lanka Navy that the settlers are people displaced by the navy (1)(2)(6).


We fully understand that the Kingdom of Qatar would have been misinformed by the Government of Sri Lanka on the details of the resettlement. However, there is strong evidence that this is mostly due to the haphazard and unplanned nature of development projects in Sri Lanka, a case in point being the Mattala Airport and Hambantota Port in Southern Sri Lanka (8). Due to the evidence available of the illegal nature of this settlement, which is also creating new zones of human/elephant conflict and religious tensions (9) (10), we respectfully request the Kingdom of Qatar halt the funding of Jassim City. We also respectfully request that independent environmental impact studies be done on all projects being funded by Qatar in Sri Lanka and to take appropriate actions based on the results of these studies.


Sincerely


Concerned Citizens of the World.



  1.       http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/47048-minister-bathiudeen-re-settling-people-in-forest-reserves-environmentalists.html

  2.       http://nethfm.com/article/1707/neth

  3.       http://www.ft.lk/2011/12/14/qatar-govt-private-sector-bullish-on-sri-lankan-opportunities/

  4.       http://www.ceylontoday.lk/16-786-news-detail-qatar-sl-relations-to-increase.html

  5.       http://www.slbc.lk/index.php/newsarchives/19501-the-minister-of-wild-life-says-there-is-no-any-unauthorized-construction-in-the-wilpattu-sanctuary-.html

  6.       http://www.ceylontoday.lk/31-62670-news-detail-half-truths-cover-ups-and-confusion.html

  7.       http://www.sailanmuslim.com/news/basil-defends-wilpattu-resettlement/

  8.       http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/03/11/mahinda-percy-rajapaksas-white-elephants/

  9.       http://archives.dailynews.lk/2013/01/31/news40.asp


http://colombogazette.com/2014/04/23/bbs-mob-storms-rishads-ministry/

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