The governance of land and its social, political and economic relations is in many ways amongst the ‘original’ pre-occupations of law. Be it measures like land reform or legal principles like eminent domain, the law is central to the governance of land itself. The law is also integral both to processes of accumulation and dispossession and to struggles of those on the margins to assert claims and secure rights to natural resources, livelihoods, and ways of life.
Discussing the status of urban evictees, Iromi Perera, Ermiza Tegal and Deanne Uyangoda highlight how the concept of eminent domain privileges the power of the State over land, and is predisposed against concepts of justice, fairness and equity; while undergraduates Nillasi Liyanage and Sindhu Ratnarajan, discuss the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project and highlight the importance of adhering to principles of administrative law. Dr. Nalani Hennayake calls for more critical geography scholarship that challenges dominant representations of ‘development’, and calls for greater emphasis on how development projects affect communities. Bhavani Fonseka discusses the concept of land reparations in light of Sri Lanka’s transitional justice commitments, and stresses the importance of addressing these issues in the context of the Government’s promises of reforms on devolution of power and human rights protection. The Issue also carries a position paper by the People’s Alliance for Right to Land (PARL) discussing the proposed Land Bank and implications for the rural and urban poor.
Additionally, Andi Schubert writes a response to Zainab Ibrahim and Jayanthi Kuru-Uthumpala’s review of the movie ‘Maya’ carried in the previous Issue, and focuses on the queer masculinity of the straight main character.