Wanniyala-Aetto issue appeal

July 1, 2004

This page was created in 2004 and may contain language which is now outdated.

The Wanniyala-Aetto (Veddah) people of Sri Lanka have appealed to their country's government to allow them to return to their land. One Veddah man told a Survival researcher, 'Living in the jungle, we had everything we needed. We can't get these things here in the village. We want to go back to our jungle.' Until 1983, the Veddah lived in the forests of eastern Sri Lanka, by hunting, gathering and shifting cultivation. They were forced to leave their land when the government of Sri Lanka turned it into the Maduru Oya National Park. They now live in government resettlement areas outside the park, and are banned from hunting and gathering on their land. They are routinely fined and imprisoned for continuing to hunt.