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Sri Lanka: Civil War

SARID Original Articles
Current Scenario
Peace Strategies

Reports & Research Papers
- political crisis in Sri Lanka, November 2003




MapZones: geographical map of Sri Lanka with principal towns

Lonely Planet: Sri Lanka

University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Map Archive: Political Map of Sri Lanka

University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Map Archive: Ethnic/Population/Land and Economic Maps of Sri Lanka

University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Map Archive: Jaffna Peninsula Map

Sri Lanka Airforce: Order of Battle Map


SARID Original Articles

Contributions to the Conflict Zone: Sri Lanka by SARID staff and visitors.
SARID invites interested individuals to submit relevant articles. Please see SUBMISSIONS to offer your contribution.

Soma Thero and Christmas
by V.K. Moonesinghe, Sri Lanka
The demise of the Venerable Gangodawila Soma, a ‘Television Cleric’, a champion of the Sinhala-Buddhist (as opposed to the pristine Buddhist) cause, has seen an unprecedented (in the case of a clergyman) public display of emotion. (With links)


Current Scenario

As good as it gets? The Economist, UK, October 14, 2004
FOR a year and a half, Sri Lanka's peace process has been locked in an ugly stalemate. “No peace, no war” may be better than the alternative.

Sri Lanka gives peace another chance, Asia Times, May 5, 2004
Sri Lanka has begun a brand new chapter in the resolution of its 21-year-old civil war by inviting Norway back to broker a peace accord with the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE), even if under "seriously redefined parameters, [which] included a much shorter leash".

LTTE rules out Indian role in talks, Hindustan Times, May 12, 2004
Even if India was not able to recognize the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamil people, the LTTE condition for participation in the Sri Lankan peace talks, it could help the Tamils reconstruct the war-ravaged Tamil North Eastern Province, says Balasingham.

Ceasefire back on track, BBC, UK, April 15, 2004
Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan army have agreed to uphold a two-year-old ceasefire.

A mandate for economic issues rather than peace process, The Hindu, Chennai, April 05, 2004
The victory of the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), led by the Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, is a clear indicator that economic issues took precedence over the peace process initiated by the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP).

Elections in Sri Lanka, The Hindu, Chennai, February 11, 2004
As Sri Lanka marches to its third parliamentary election in four years, the crucial questions are whether a stable government will emerge and how the electoral outcome will affect the Norway-assisted peace process.

Tiger, Tiger, Daily News, Colombo, February 06, 2004
The Tamil Tigers are not happy with how the UNF government has gone about the peace process.



Roots of the regional conflict - Sri Lanka,, USA
Encyclopædia Britannica's Worlds Apart section examines the role that ethnic rivalries have played in Sri Lanka and offers insights into the issues, the people involved, and the prospects for peace. Overview with timeline & weblinks.

Time Line Sri Lanka, BBC, UK
Short chronology of key events in Sri Lankan history. Regularly updated.

Sri Lanka: A nation divided CNN, USA
In-depth report with latest news, timeline & links.

Sri Lanka conflict - background, The Economist, UK
Brief overview, Updated regularly.

Sri Lanka - fighting for peace, InterPress Service, 2002
A look at peace negotiations & key events in the conflict.

Timeline of the Tamil conflict, BBC, September 2000
Brief chronology of key events in the conflict from 1972-2000

Ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, University of Southern Maine, USA, 2000
A Case Study.

Sri Lanka: How ethnic tensions grew, BBC,UK, January 1998
Brief guide to ethnic groups, historical origins of tensions, grievances & recent events

Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka & Regional Security, Lacnet, Colombo, 1987
Extensive examination of the conflict by Kumari Jayawardhana




Tamil Tigers a law unto themselves, November 06, 2003
Sri Lankan guerillas abolish the death penalty from their legal system, writes Christopher Kremmer.

A maximal proposal, Outlook India, New Delhi, November 04, 2003
The surprise was not that the LTTE did, in fact, make maximalist demands. The surprise is that they did it so well. By clearly refraining from frontally addressing emotive issues, they've prevented immediate red flags.

Nothing federal about this, The Hindu, Chennai, November 04, 2003
The proposals by the LTTE for an "Interim Self-Governing Authority for the North-East of the Island of Sri Lanka" passed on to the Sri Lankan Government make one thing plain. Federalism, the essence of which is the division of legislative, executive and judicial power between the Centre and the States or Provinces, is the last thing the Tigers have on their mind. The proposals, through which the LTTE seeks "plenary" control of the region in all aspects of governance, are a blueprint for a separate state.

Small arms threaten Sri Lanka's stability, Reuters Alertnet, USA, September 30, 2003
Humanitarian groups are concerned small arms and light weapons could have a negative impact on the peace process and human development. By undermining the safety and security of communities, threatening livelihoods, and destroying social networks, they at best hold back and at worst contribute to the reversal of hard-won development gains,

Sri Lanka's Child soldiers, BBC, UK, January 31, 2003
The UN children's agency is trying to find out what Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels are doing about their child soldiers. The issue is casting a shadow over peace talks.



Peace Strategies

Full Text: Tamil Tiger proposals, BBC, UK, November 01, 2003
The proposal by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on behalf of the Tamil people for an agreement to establish an interim self-governing authority for the north-east of the island of Sri Lanka.

Peace process: the international dimension, Daily News, Colombo, September 29, 2003
In a landmark address to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe assured the international community that the government "will do everything in its power to keep the peace process moving forward to a successful conclusion".

Japan's role in Sri Lanka's peace process, Asia Times, March 19, 2003
In his policy speech in January, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi emphasized Japan's determination to support the Sri Lankan peace process. The emergence of Japan as a leading player in the negotiations to end nearly 20 years of civil war and in the post-war reconstruction plans is underscored by a decision by Tokyo last month to provide a aid package worth US$270 million.

Negotiator says global support key, New York Times, USA, November 19, 2002
It's not the cash but the signal you send by giving it. That was the message from Sri Lanka's top peace negotiator Tuesday, ahead of an aid conference in Oslo next week where the government and Tamil Tiger rebels hope for support to underpin a peace bid aimed at ending 19 years of ethnic war.

Chandrika proposes panel for ethnic reconciliation, The Hindu, November 13, 2002
The Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, today proposed the setting up of a National Commission for Ethnic Reconciliation and Sustainable Peace, with the participation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to resolve the decades-long ethnic conflict.

Sri Lanka: Development is key to continued peace, says PM, IPS, September 20, 2002
Economic development in parts of the country devastated by 20 years of bloody civil war will be key to maintaining harmony as peace talks continue, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told reporters Friday.
The leader visited the United Nations in New York two days after the highly successful first stage of peace talks between the government and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Rights Safeguards Key to Sri Lanka Peace, Human Rights Watch, July 03, 2002
Human Rights abuses by both the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have fueled the conflict and must be directly addressed in the peace process, Human Rights Watch said today. Both parties should agree on human rights safeguards to help resolve two decades of bitter conflict over political control of the island's Tamil-dominated north and east.

Sri Lanka's long war, Foreign Policy in Focus, Volume 5, Number 35, October 2000
Sri Lanka’s troubles will only be solved through a political settlement guaranteeing the fundamental freedom and human dignity of all Sri Lanka’s citizens, regardless of their ethnic or religious identity. The U.S. needs to make stronger efforts to encourage the government in that direction, while discouraging the military option.

Looking for Peace in Sri Lanka, Serendipity, issue no. 2, December 1993
Bob Tellander's Political Sociology Class at Sonoma State Univerity examines the problem and suggests some options.



Reports & Research Papers

Political crisis in Sri Lanka, November 2003
Report with timeline & views from the South Asian & International press.

Sri Lanka Virtual Library

Sri Lanka: Human Rights & The Peace process, Human Rights Watch, July 2002
Briefing Paper

Human Rights Watch World Report 2002: Sri Lanka

US Committee for Refugees 2002, Country Report Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Assesment 2002, SATP

U.S. Department of State, Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 2002: Sri Lanka

Ecological consequences of the war in the Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka, PICTNSPSL, Ottawa, Canada 1999
Paper by T Saverimuttu, N Sriskandarajah, VIS Jayapalan in the Proceedings of the International Conference On Tamil Nationhood & Search for Peace in Sri Lanka.




Heed the lesson from Sri Lanka, Rediff.Com, India, November 10, 2003
President Chandrika Kumaratunga did both herself and her country a disservice by attempting a very constitutional coup against Prime Minister Ranil Wickramsinghe and declaring, what turned out to be, a very gentle and short-lived Emergency.

The tiger's claw, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, November 08, 2003
This week's constitutional coup in Sri Lanka has jeopardised a promising dialogue between the Government and Tamil rebels.

Implications of the LTTE proposals, The Independent, Dhaka, November 06, 2003
Tiger rebel leader Velupillai Prabakaran wants to rule Sri Lanka's North-East, two-thirds of the island nation's landmass, and four-fifths of the seacoast for five years.

A glimmer of Hope for Lanka, Deccan Herald, Bangalore, November 05, 2003
The counter-proposals submitted by the LTTE to the Sri Lankan Government since it broke off peace talks last April offer a glimmer of hope for an eventual peaceful resolution of the ethnic conflict. The alarmists may call it a blueprint for a de facto Eelam, an independent State for which the rebel group has been waging an armed struggle for over two decades now.

Farewell to arms? Khaleej Times, UAE, November 03, 2003
THE good news from Sri Lanka is that the Tamil Tigers have announced they will end their eight-month boycott of peace talks and, at the same time, invited the Colombo government to resume negotiations after a civil conflict that has lasted almost 20 years and claimed more than 60,000 lives.

Tamil Tigers step back into talks, Sydney Morning Herald, November 03, 2003
THE good news from Sri Lanka is that the Tamil Tigers have announced they will end their eight-month boycott of peace talks and, at the same time, invited the Colombo government to resume negotiations after a civil conflict that has lasted almost 20 years and claimed more than 60,000 lives.

Sri Lanka - rescuing the peace, The Economist, UK, July 10, 2003
Once again the Sri Lankan government has turned to Norway to try to rescue its endangered peace deal with the Tamil Tigers. Norway brought the two sides together 18 months ago, getting them to agree to a truce in the civil war in which more than 65,000 people have died in some two decades of fighting.

US muddies the waters, Asia Times, Hong Kong, April 17, 2003
The Sri Lankan peace process seems to have hit choppy waters. While the threat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to pull out of a crucial donor meet scheduled for June in Tokyo has set alarm bells ringing, it is the international community's declining interest in the peace process that is perhaps reason for greater concern.

Muslims caught between Sinhalese & Tamils, Sunday Times, Colombo, November, 2002

Hope and promise, The Kathmandu Post, November 2002

Peace in Sri Lanka: Heartening breakthrough, The Daily Star, Dhaka, November 2002

Colombo-LTTE talks focus on eastern Sri Lanka, The Hindu, Chennai, November 01, 2002
The second round of direct talks between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which started here today, focussed on issues relating to the disturbing security situation in eastern Sri Lanka.

Prabakaran's conviction - an ominous sign? The Hindu, Chennai, November 01, 2003
The sentencing of the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, V. Prabakaran, to 200 years of rigorous imprisonment by a Sri Lankan court, has come as an ominous sign at the commencement of the second round of talks between the rebels and Colombo here.

Sri Lanka's 'Muslim question', BBC, UK, October 31, 2002
The violence between Sinhalese and Muslim mobs in the Sri Lankan capital on Wednesday was the first of its kind in Colombo for decades.The clashes point to the underlying social, political and economic tensions dividing the Muslims from other communities in the country.

Sri Lanka: dimensions of a crisis, The Hindu, Chennai, October 2001
Government-Opposition polarisation has always provided space for the LTTE to intervene, decisively and dramatically, often forcing the Colombo-based political forces to react in panic. In early July, the LTTE struck - a dramatic, high-visibility attack on the Katunayaka Airport - with unprecedented economic costs, says Jayadeva Uyangoda.

The road to peace in Sri Lanka, BBC, UK, September 16, 2002
This is the fifth attempt at negotiations between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tigers, but only the third face-to-face talks, ever since the ethnic conflict erupted in the early 1980's.

Exhausted by war, Sri Lanka ponders peace, Christian Science Monitor, September 16, 2002
After seven years of stony silence, Sri Lanka's rival factions are ready to talk. The Sri Lankan government will begin peace talks Monday with the Tamil Tigers, an ethnic guerrilla force that has waged a separatist war on the island for almost two decades.

To Thailand in hope, But what will life be like if the Tamils win their homeland? The Economist, September 05, 2002
It could be “the best news to come out of South Asia in a long time.” So says a diplomat of the peace talks between Sri Lanka's government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that are scheduled to begin in Thailand on September 16th.

Sri Lanka: Spirit of inclusion augurs well for peace talks, IPS, September 2002
The presence of Rauff Hakeem, leader of Sri Lanka's largest Muslim political party, among the negotiators at the talks between Colombo and separatist Tamil rebels here places this round of peace negotiations in a league of its own.

Sri Lanka's uneasy peace, BBC, UK, August 14, 2002
Charles Haviland goes to Sri Lanka and meets Sinhalese people who are crossing into land that's been enemy territory for the last two decades.Thousands make this journey in the shade of the current ceasefire.

War-weary Sri Lankans yearn for lasting peace, San Francisco Chronicle, July 06, 2002
F or the first time in many years, a tempered optimism exists that peace is at hand in one of Asia's longest wars. Both sides agreed to a cease-fire in February, but such truces have dissolved in the past. Talks brokered by Norway are scheduled to begin sometime this summer in Thailand.

Sri Lanka: Costly peace, Hindu Business Line, Chennai, May 06, 2002
For the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mr Ranil Wickremesighe's Government, the peace process is running up a huge bill, not only in political terms but also the economic cost of keeping the process going.

Hidden legacy of Sri Lanka's war, BBC, UK, February 04, 2002
Tamil Tiger rebels who control large portions of northern Sri Lanka say they estimate there are up to two million unexploded landmines in their territory. They say so far they have had no international assistance whatsoever in the dangerous task of clearing them.

Quaint feel to epicentre of Sri Lankan conflict, Yahoo India News, April 22, 2001
The town of about 50,000 in the northern Jaffna peninsula wears all the scars and pockmarks that result from having been occupied by three different armies during the last two decades.
But as hopes grow of peace talks between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels, Jaffna has a rustic air with street commerce booming and people living an apparently normal life.

The war the world is missing, The Economist, UK, October 05, 2000
The Tamil Tigers’ struggle in Sri Lanka is one of the longest-running wars. But as the island prepares to go to the polls, both sides are losing interest in suing for peace.

Rebels without a childhood in Sri Lanka war, New York Times, September 11, 2000
Renuka, a 13-year-old wisp of a girl, said she is afraid she will be scolded because she chose not to swallow her cyanide capsule. Recruited at age 11 by ethnic Tamil rebels to fight for a separate state, she lay wounded on the front lines of Sri Lanka's civil war six days ago, surrounded by the blasted bodies of three other insurgents who were on duty with her when mortar fire hit their sentry post.

Conflict Resolution in Sri Lanka: problems, prospects, Ilankai Tamil Sangam, August 2000
President Kumaratunga's blow-hot-blow-cold approach to the Tamil national movement has served to strengthen both the Buddhist clergy and the army: two major obstacles to the peaceful resolution of the conflicts around the multiple national movements in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka - growing cost of war, The Economist, UK, July 13, 2000
The Tigers are being held in check, but at a price. Although the war remains affordable, at least in financial terms, there are signs of strains in the economy as a result of a surge in the fighting in recent months.

Sri Lanka women at war; Tamil rebel group is now one-third female, IHT, March 2000

Stalemate in Sri Lanka, World Confrontation Now, January 2000

The New Woman in Sri Lanka: Living in a conflict zone, Oxfam Community Aid Abroad, October 1999
Forced by a brutal war the women in the conflict regions in Sri Lanka are breaking the traditional barriers and assuming new roles.

Sri Lanka - civil war without end, The Economist, UK, December 03, 1998
Opinions differ over when the conflict started. Those with long memories say August 1972, when Mr Prabhakaran threw some bombs at a carnival in Jaffna, the main city of northern Sri Lanka, where the Tamils live - Tamil Eelam, as they call it.

A continuing ethnic war tarnishes the pearl of the Indian Ocean, National Geographic, January 1997
Sri Lanka is a world of modern comforts and complexities, a nation of 18 million people gathered from waves of conquest , trade , and colonization , a nation still struggling to find unity. For the past 13 years it has been wracked with ethnic violence and social insurrection in which some 100,000 islanders have died or simply disappeared.

Conflict in Sri Lanka & international response, The Bergen Conference 1996
Lacnet Article.


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