From Rotary Peace Wiki
/* Myth or Reality? Reconciliation in Sri Lanka */
<small>''Effective dialogue is required to regain trust among communities in Sri Lanka. After the war with the LTTE in 2009, there is a need to close ethnic divisions, improve social inclusion and to build social capital. Drivers of conflict include the scarcity of resources, lack of social cohesion and the lack of political stability. The impact of decades of armed conflict has also led to resentment among state and non-state actors. Furthermore, core problems of ethic division and grievances of the Tamil minority have not been fully addressed. A likely outcome is the presence of low-intensity conflict that could result in a humanitarian crisis because of increasing mistrust between the Sinhalese and Tamils that exacerbates the potential for conflict. It is critical to prevent a “stalemate” situation in its society where ethnic divisions remain stagnant and when there is potential for further deepening and alienation of communities. In this paper, conflict analysis is conducted with a discussion of possible scenarios. Broad recommendations are also proposed on to develop peace initiatives.''</small>
'''Scarcity of Resources'''. There are significant risks of renewed conflict especially when resources are scarce and when its economy – is growing stronger. According to The World Bank, the Sri Lankan economy grew strongly in 2011 (about 8 %) due to the post-conflict rebound.<ref>The World Bank, “Sri Lanka Overview”.</ref> With a lack of security and a growing economy, it is highly likely that a competition for resources would lead to increased conflict at both the political or ground-levels. In addition, with distrust from communities coupled with fluid political and a lack of democratic culture within the governmental levels, the potential for competition for resources is expected to be high.
'''Lack of Social Inclusion'''. There has been prolonged conflict in Sri Lanka which has led to slower social inclusion. Participation from civil society in decision-making and intra-party dialogues and joint mechanisms is not a common practice. In addition, the government’s efforts to address grievances at the minority communities – that is vital for sustainable peace – is not effective thus far. The LLRC set up to investigate the final phase of the war is not deemed reliable as well. Much of the politics has been revolved around the LTTE. There has been little emphasis on ensuring building social capital and cohesion which has led to a regressive society that is built on suspicion, rather than cooperation. Among other things, the lack of social inclusion has undermined prospects for peace and stability.
Lack of Political Stability. There is an increasing politicized environment at the government levels after the defeat of the LTTE. Sri Lanka’s former army chief, 4-Star General Fonseka, one of the key figures who fought LTTE in the past years is now released from prison.<ref>Fonseka was jailed by its current president, Mahinda Rakapaksa, for engaging in politics while he was still serving in the military. He was jailed for irregularities found in military procurements, and was charged on several counts (but was pardoned). However, he was imprisoned for harboring army deserters.</ref> He is now out of jail and has a large pool of supporters that could upset the current security situation due to his ambitions to regain power and lead the country. Separately, the “effects of the war” in the acknowledgement of war crimes has led to the worsening of ties with India as it recently announced its support for the US on the American sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council. This could have profound implications on the security environment in South Asia as the “balance of power” is likely to tilt in favor of the US after it pulls out of Afghanistan. Moreover, India is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner, which makes their diplomatic ties more complicated.
'''Peace Drivers'''. Cultural practices in hospitality, local traditions and “song and dance” are key drivers for peace that could uplift the current situation because such activities could strengthen the social fabric of Sri Lanka particularly in a reintegration phase. The effects of such community-bonding activities could enhance the outcome of the peace process. Such cultural practices have existed since ancient times and they form the social and religious spheres of the Sri Lanka society. Proactive participation by International Non-Profit Organizations such as Amnesty International and the UN often underscore key development issues and conduct “check-and-balances” especially on national development and justice.