Sri Lanka

Prasanna Ratnayake

Sri Lanka has a long history of armed violence and slaughter since its independence from Britain in 1948. There were ethnic riots in 1953, ‘58, ‘77, ‘83 and ‘87; two insurrections in 1971 and 1986-90; and a 30-year civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) of the North and East and Sinhalese nationalists of the South. The war ended on 19th May 2009 with the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians. By then more than 300,000 people had become internally displaced (IDPs).

The notes here concern the 10 years from the coming to power of former human rights lawyer, Mahinda Rajapakse, in November 2005 to the downfall of his regime on 9th January 2015. A mix of political parties - Sinhala Buddhist ultra-nationalists, Socialists, Marxists and the Buddhist Monks’ party - had supported Rajapakse’s candidacy. From the moment he became president, virtually over night, we entered the period of what would become a totally militarised police state. We woke up one morning to find Army checkpoints, military vehicles, police and soldiers everywhere. Cynthia Enloe has described it well, ‘Militarization is the step-by-step process by which something becomes controlled by, dependent on, or derives its value from the military as an institution or militaristic criteria.’ (Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2000.)

 

In The Broken Rifle March 2004, No. 60 which focused on dealing with the past.

Roberta Bacic

WRI had already visited Sri Lanka and had been in Batticaloa in March 2003. As a follow up of this we decided to accompany the process of dealing with the past with war affected women. Rajan Iruthayanathan organised the workshop with local organisers and activists who know well the people, history and politics of the area. The women came from two villages, where almost each family has lost somebody during the war.

It is estimated that women comprised up to 70% of Aceh's pre-tsunami population of four million people. Men fled the war or emigrated in search of work. According to a short update by Nonviolence International: "Given that more men survived the tsunami because of their physical strength and speed, a horrendous percentage of those killed probably were women and girls."

Roberta Bacic

WRI had already visited Sri Lanka and had been in Batticaloa in March 2003. As a follow up of this we decided to accompany the process of dealing with the past with war affected women. Rajan Iruthayanathan organised the workshop with local organisers and activists who know well the people, history and politics of the area. The women came from two villages, where almost each family has lost somebody during the war.

We wrote in our proposal:

Sri Lanka

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The ceasefire between Sri Lanka Security Forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has lasted now for two years though many issues have not been dealt with and tensions remain. Nevertheless people are now turning their attention from the immediate fear of direct attacks to reconstruction, rehabilitation, and resettlement of displaced and war affected communities. In addition to this some who have long-term vision want to pose questions related to the responsibility for war crimes and the remedial measures for those who under went trauma.

Sri Lanka

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25/07/1998 1 Conscription

conscription does not exist

Since 1983 a civil war has being waged between the Srilankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The civil war is being waged mainly in the northern and eastern provinces of the country.

Because of the civil war the armed forces have been considerably expanded, from 20,000 troops in the early 1980s to 115,000 in 1997.

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