Seven years after its civil war ended, Sri Lanka’s democratic space has reopened but strains are building from a powerful opposition, institutional overlaps and a weakened economy. To make reforms a real success, the prime minister and president should cooperate with openness and redouble efforts to tackle legacies of war like impunity, Tamil detainees and military-occupied land.
01 July 2016
UN Human Rights Chief’s 29 June report t ...
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.
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.
As the UN Human Rights Council prepares to open its 22nd session next week, the Sri Lankan government has made no meaningful progress on either reconciliation or accountability and instead has accelerated the country’s authoritarian turn, with attacks on the judiciary and political dissent that threaten long-term stability and peace.
The Sri Lankan government’s refusal to negotiate seriously with Tamil political leaders or consider reasonable forms of power sharing is heightening ethnic tensions and damaging prospects for sustainable peace.
The Sri Lankan military’s control over the political and economic life of the Northern Province is deepening the alienation and anger of northern Tamils and threatening sustainable peace.
Women in Sri Lanka’s predominantly Tamil-speaking north and east are facing a desperate lack of security in the aftermath of the long civil war.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s authoritarian and Sinhalese nationalist post-war policies are undermining prospects for reconciling Sri Lanka’s ethnic communities, weakening democracy for all Sri Lankans and increasing the risk of a return to violent conflict.
India needs to push Sri Lanka harder towards steps that will avert a return to violent conflict on the island.
Newly revealed evidence of war crimes in Sri Lanka last year makes an international inquiry essential.
For the past quarter-century the Tamil diaspora has shaped the Sri Lankan political landscape through its financial and ideological support to the military struggle for an independent Tamil state.
No matter which of the two main Sinhalese candidates wins Sri Lanka’s 26 January presidential election, the international community must take steps to ensure he addresses the marginalisation of Tamils and other minorities in the interest of peace and stability.
Sri Lanka’s judiciary is failing to protect constitutional and human rights.
Sri Lanka: Free Prominent Rights Defenders
17 March 2014
Briefing Note: Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka: UNHRC action remains crucial
28 February 2014
Sri Lanka: Government Promises, Ground Realities
1 March 2012
Statement on the Report of Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission
22 December 2011
Sri Lanka: Crisis Group Refuses to Appear Before Flawed Commission
14 October 2010
Sri Lanka: Unanswered Questions
31 May 2012: Mark Schneider, Senior Vice President and Special Advisor on Latin America, discusses the recent visit to Washington of G. L. Peiris, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, and the pressing questions that the minister left unanswered.
Sri Lanka After the War
War Crimes in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn: The Need for International Action
12 March 2013: Mark Schneider, Crisis Group's Senior Vice President, looks at Sri Lanka's trend of growing authoritarianism and what the international community can do in response.
The Limits of State Sovereignty: The Responsibility to Protect in the 21st Century
29 July 2007: Text of speech given by Gareth Evans, former President of the International Crisis Group, at the 8th annual Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture that took place at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), Colombo.
The text of this speech is also available in Sinhala.
Conflict Risk Alert: Sri Lanka
9 March 2009: We issued a Conflict Alert for Sri Lanka as the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka’s northern Wanni region rapidly became a catastrophe with an estimated 150,000 civilians trapped in a shrinking space, forcibly held back by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and exposed to indiscriminate attacks by the Sri Lankan military.
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