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South Asia

Sri Lanka Between Elections

Asia Report N°272, 12 August 2015

Sri Lankan opposition party workers erect a cutout of their presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena in the north central town of Polonnaruwa on November 30, 2014. AFP/ Lakruwan Wanniarachchi.

Sri Lanka’s 17 August parliamentary elections will test the country’s fragile democratic opening. With the hardline Sinhala nationalism of ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa challenging the “good governance” agenda of the United National Party and President Sirisena, the outcome will affect chances for reconciliation and lasting resolution of the country’s long-running conflicts.

Recent Reports

Sri Lanka Between Elections, Asia Report N°272, 12 Aug 2015

Sri Lanka’s 17 August parliamentary elections will test the country’s fragile democratic opening. With the hardline Sinhala nationalism of ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa challenging the “good governance” agenda of the United National Party and President Sirisena, the outcome will affect chances for reconciliation and lasting resolution of the country’s long-running conflicts.

Revisiting Counter-terrorism Strategies in Pakistan: Opportunities and Pitfalls, Asia Report N°271, 22 Jul 2015

Pakistan’s six-month-old counter-terrorism strategy has failed to end the operations of violent jihadi groups, while military-led measures continue to undermine the civilian government. A winning strategy will have to include structural and governance reform, both to stop jihadis exploiting the absence of rule of law and to address the root causes of extremist violence.

The Future of the Afghan Local Police, Asia Report N°268, 4 Jun 2015

Too often, the Afghan Local Police (ALP) has preyed on those it is meant to guard. Some members are outright bandits, exacerbating conflict. Rogue units should be disbanded, and better ones integrated into the armed forces. This must be done carefully and slowly, or else insurgents will win a new military edge.

Women, Violence and Conflict in Pakistan, Asia Report N°265, 8 Apr 2015

In Pakistan, women’s security and political, social and economic status are under attack by religious extremists, undermined by discriminatory legislation and unprotected by the state. The government must stand by its pledge to end gender inequity and violence against women, especially in the conflict zones of north-western Pakistan and the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

Mapping Bangladesh’s Political Crisis, Asia Report N°264, 9 Feb 2015

Violence continues to plague the aftermath of Bangladesh’s deeply contested January 2014 elections. The country’s two main post-independence parties must turn back from a political dead end that is doing long-term damage to them both, negotiate a return to democratic rules and work towards a new all-party cabinet to oversee new elections.

Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election: Risks and Opportunities, Asia Briefing N°145, 9 Dec 2014

Sri Lanka’s upcoming presidential election promises more competition than was initially anticipated. But with that comes a great risk of violence. Long-term stability and post-war reconciliation can only be achieved through a peaceful election resulting in a government committed to serving the interests of all Sri Lankans.

Resetting Pakistan’s Relations with Afghanistan, Asia Report N°262, 28 Oct 2014

As Pakistan seeks to consolidate its fragile democracy, it should seize the moment to improve relations with its Afghan neighbour. Its biggest challenge comes from within. The civilian government has to regain control over national security and foreign policy from the military.

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Afghanistan’s Political Transition, Asia Report N°260, 16 Oct 2014

Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, inherits a government that is running out of money and losing ground to the insurgency. As foreign troops withdraw, the new government must stay united and move quickly on reforms.

Education Reform in Pakistan, Asia Report N°257, 23 Jun 2014

To combat religious extremism and sectarian violence, Pakistan must reform its education sector by boosting resources to public schools and updating the school curriculum to improve quality and remove divisive and discriminatory narratives.

Afghanistan’s Insurgency after the Transition, Asia Report N°256, 12 May 2014

To contain a growing, increasingly confident insurgency as NATO troops withdraw, Afghanistan needs continued international support, including military, and the new government in Kabul will need to reinvigorate the state’s commitment to the rule of law.

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