Current situation in Sri Lanka


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Current situation in Sri Lanka - Presentation given at workshop in Ottawa, Canada - June 2006

Published in: Travel, News & Politics

Current situation in Sri Lanka

  1. 1. Sri Lanka Sanjana Hattotuwa Senior Researcher, Centre for Policy Alternatives
  2. 2. Current state of affairs <ul><li>Government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Committed to peace talks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No real strategy of engagement / No roadmap for CT, Human Security or Reconciliation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of capacity in the negotiations team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trying best it can to respond to the deterioration of the peace process / increase of violence </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Civil Society & NGOs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Under fire from the JVP, JHU and certain segments of the Government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of collaboration on peace, human security and governance initiatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual voices weak in the face of those calling for war </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Private sector </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Large business committed to peace but no CSR in support of peace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sri Lanka First Initiative dormant, though some signs of resurrection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Investment climate negative / higher insurance surcharges / tourism collapse / no FDI </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>First and only two-pronged media & civil society project in Sri Lanka </li></ul><ul><li>Attempts to bridge the lack of communication within and between media and civil society </li></ul><ul><li>National and provincial / grassroots </li></ul><ul><li>Building national, provincial and local capacity for dialogues on democracy, rights and peace. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Questions <ul><li>Can international bans work? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Little leverage before ban / Less leverage after ban? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LTTE - Rat in the corner versus more open to dialogue? EU ban according to Thamilchelvan is the last nail in the coffin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bans + ? {Need for a coherent, multi-stakeholder, long term plan for rights based initiatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement vs. disengagement – modes of dialogue with belligerents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for coordinated approach after bans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for permanent representatives of Co-Chairs in Sri Lanka (special envoy model) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Questions <ul><li>Why is there a need to build capacity and political awareness of options for a final solution? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagements with spoilers in the South JVP, JHU and LTTE necessary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No military solution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to sensitize the Southern constituency on power-sharing and federalism </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So why is engaging civil society important now ? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Voice of moderation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bulwark against extremist nationalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Civil society under threat, need to strengthen initiatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CSO initiatives strengthen human security, governance and democracy </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Questions <ul><li>Why pressure on the Govt of SL regarding governance and Human Rights is important for Canada now? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EU ban quite clearly states the responsibilities of the SL State regarding HR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need unified foreign policy directives aimed at strengthening HS / HR as with recent co-chairs statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of HR emphasis by the State heightens the legitimacy of the LTTE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Southern political consensus needed for transformation of conflict – Political Parties suspect in their commitment to HR </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The Federal Idea <ul><li>Why initiatives to support federalism needs to continue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dual transformation – GoSL / State & LTTE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No military solution to the conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State transformation - language rights, access to governance & justice, rights based development, gender mainstreaming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sensitizing the South - Politicians need to support federalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involve more voices – judiciary, public servants, clergy, Universities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing a comprehensive federal constitution as a foundation for progressive debate – go beyond the gridlock of tired debates on the CFA </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Ripe moment vs. process orientation <ul><li>No ripe moment for peace </li></ul><ul><li>Conditions and drivers for peace can exist parallel to violent conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing violence on the ground strengthens the case for greater civil society activism </li></ul><ul><li>War does not negate efforts at peacebuilding – CT and democratisation is seen as a long term process as in the case of Nepal </li></ul><ul><li>Peace talks part of peace process – The collapse of talks is not the collapse of the process </li></ul>
  9. 9. Engaging diasporas <ul><li>The Tamil community is the fastest growing population group in Canada as it grew by 38 % between 1996 and 2001. </li></ul><ul><li>What can be done by the diaspora communities to support the peace process? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying skilled members of the diaspora for pro-democracy , development and human security initiatives in Sri Lanka , and providing opportunities for a time limited engagement, particularly in the former conflict areas. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying and supporting governmental and civil society initiatives in Canada on the level of communal or inter-communal social, cultural and political (pro-peace) activities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the internet and web to facilitate knowledge capital and knowledge transfers </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Thank you