SRI LANKA

Civil War in Sri Lanka

The 26 Year Battle

Background:In Sri Lanka there were two main ethnicities—Sinhalese (majority) and Tamil (minority). When Britain ruled Sri Lanka, they favored the Tamils. But when Britain left, the Sri Lankan government wanted to make up for their majority (Sinhalese) not being favored. This is why in 1956 the Sinhala Only Act was passed making Sinhalese the official language of Sri Lanka. This caused hardships and difficulty for the Tamils. This act being passed was the first step in the civil war.

Who are the main opponents?This war was fought between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tiger Rebels. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was formed as a group who wanted to fight for their rights. After Sri Lanka was released from British rule in 1948, Tamils believed they were being discriminated towards. Riots against them were common so the LTTE wanted their own state.

Any other countries involved or concerned?The U.S was concerned about the issue but not to the point of getting involved. They stopped aiding them in 2007 because of the large amount of human rights violations.

How is this conflict being conducted (i.e., what tactics: terroristattacks, suicide bombers, drones… etc.)?The LTTE would use suicide bombers to show their rebellious actions. The first time they used this tactic was June 5, 1987 on a Sri Lankan solider housing building. Many outside countries consider the LTTE a terrorist group.

What was the cause of the conflict (as far as you can tell)?The cause of this very long and impactful conflict was when the Tamils began to feel marginalized and discriminated towards. They felt like they had no say in political events and when the riots broke out against them, that made the situation much worse.

What efforts are being taken to solve the problem non-violently?This war was very long and had many negative outcomes because of it. There was conflict from start to finish for this war. In the middle peace agreements and cease fires were attempted, but ultimately failed. I do think violence was inevitable because the peaceful way wasn't working effectively.

Include your evaluation of the effectiveness of these peacemaking efforts or suggestion for what would be more effective.The peace agreements were not effective in ending this civil war at all. The most effective act out of the 26 years of fighting was during the last years when the Sri Lankan armed forces killed the leader of the LTTE. Yes violence was ultimately the solution, but only because peaceful protest would've dragged this war on for many more years. This is a Just War because it had a just cause. Human rights were being deprived and this war was trying to solve that issue.

Comment Stream

2 years ago
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2 years ago
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Citation: "Q&A: Post-war Sri Lanka - BBC News." BBC News. BBC News, 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 03 May 2015.

2 years ago
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Citation: "The History of the Tamil Tigers." - Al Jazeera English. N.p., 28 Apr. 2009. Web. 03 May 2015.