Welcome to Crisis Group’s blog, “Sri Lanka’s Search for Lasting Peace”.
Since the country’s civil war ended in 2009, it has been hard to find accurate information about what happened in the final months of the conflict and how the country has been faring since. This is largely because of the government’s formidable propaganda machine and often violent intolerance of dissent, which have become only more entrenched with its victory over the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Many of the insurgents’ former supporters, in turn, continue to take a similarly reckless approach to the truth. Such an atmosphere is hardly conducive to reconciliation.
Based on Crisis Group’s detailed reporting over the years, it is clear that lasting peace will not return to the island until the government begins to repair the damage done to its democratic institutions after decades of political violence, actively seeks to address the grievances of the country’s ethnic minority through power-sharing and more inclusive policies and puts an end to chronic impunity for human rights violations suffered by all its communities.
Crisis Group continues to believe that a necessary part of any reconciliation process is an independent, international inquiry into the final months of the war. To date, the government of Sri Lanka has taken no credible steps to ensure accountability for the grave allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity identified in the April 2011 report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka.
Instead, the government’s post-war agenda has been to further centralise power, expand the role of the military (especially in the Tamil-majority northern province), undermine local civilian authorities and politicise the institutions that should uphold the rule of law and combat impunity. The risk of an eventual return to violence is growing again.
This blog is intended to help highlight that risk by assisting the ongoing process of uncovering the truth about the last phases of the war and Sri Lanka’s post-war development through incisive and unbiased observations and commentary.
For more, see Sri Lanka: Post-War Progress Report, 12 September 2011