See More on Facebook

Analysis

Country Profile: Sri Lanka

A cursory look at Sri Lanka and the forces that shape her going into the 21st century.


Written by

Updated: January 25, 2018

A civil war in Sri Lanka, an island nation off the southern tip of India, raged intermittently between 1983 and 2009 – fuelled in part by tensions between the ethnic majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils.

Over 1,00,000 Sri Lankans were driven out of the country as part of the anti-Tamil pogrom in the early 1980s. These refugees continue to live in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu with their state of homelessness lost on most.

The violence that started in 1983 ended in May 2009 when the government forces seized the last area controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels. The fight against the government was led by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a militant organization founded by V Prabhakaran that sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

The island nation – Ceylon as it was called then – was ruled by the Portuguese, the Dutch and then finally by the British for nearly 150 years until 1948 when the country gained its independence.

In recent years, the country’s President Maithripala Sirisena ordering the reinstatement of ban on women buying alcohol or in places where it is served. The President’s order came days after the finance minister revoked the 38-year ban in this mostly conservative Buddhist nation.

Protecting former army chief

The President was in the news in 2017 for vowing to protect a former army chief accused of crimes committed in the final phase of the country’s civil war in 2009.

“I state very clearly that I will not allow anyone in the world to touch Jagath Jayasuriya or any other military chief or any war hero in this country,” the media reported the President as saying.

Sirisena’s statement came a week after rights groups filed criminal lawsuits in South America against Jayasuriya, who served as the country’s envoy to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Suriname.

The lawsuits allege that Jayasuriya oversaw military units that attacked hospitals and killed, disappeared and tortured thousands of people.

Human Rights Violations

More than 100,000 people are believed to have been killed in Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, including 40,000 to 70,000 in the final phase. At the height of the conflict, some 800,000 people were displaced.

In a joint resolution in 2015 at the UN Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka promised, among other things, a judicial mechanism to prosecute those accused of human rights abuses.

However, little progress has been made.

Hambantota Port

Sri Lanka made headlines in 2017 when it sold a 70 percent stake of its Hambantota port, which straddles the world’s busiest east-west shipping route, for US$1.12 billion to a Chinese company.

The China Merchants Ports Holdings will run the newly-constructed port over a 99-year period. The President said the deal will help Sri Lanka tide over mounting debts and add another important link in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis

President Xi emphasizes role of Hong Kong, Macau

Both Hong Kong and Macao were told to integrate with nation’s overall development. President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the unique and irreplaceable role of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions for China’s reform and opening-up in the new era. He also called on the two regions to better integrate themselves with the nation’s overall development. Xi’s remarks came as he met with a delegation of about 210 representatives from the two SARs who were in Beijing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. The position and role of Hong Kong and Macao will only be strengthened rather than weakened, Xi said. The two regions should continue to play a leading role and enable more capital, technology and talent to take part in the country’s high-quality development and in the new round of high-level opening-up, he said. People of the two regions should continu


By China Daily
November 13, 2018

Analysis

Report of NK’s ‘undisclosed’ missile bases not new, S. Korea says

South Korea’s presidential office on Tuesday played down a new report on North Korea’s “undisclosed” missile sites. South Korea’s government said that it’s going too far to call the North’s continued activity a “great deception” given that it has no specific agreement to dismantle or disclose the facilities mentioned in the report issued by Beyond Parallel, a group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The group said it has located 13 out of an estimated 20 missile operating bases undeclared by the secretive communist regime. “The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units are combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations,” the report


By The Korea Herald
November 13, 2018

Analysis

‘Forced repatriation’ to pose security risk

International crisis warns that forced repatriation of Rohingya refugees could pose serious security risks. The International Crisis Group has warned of serious security risks of “forced repatriation” of the Rohingya, just as Myanmar and Bangladesh prepare for the November 15 return of the refugees sheltered in Bangladesh. In a statement, the Brussels-based global advocacy body said Rohingyas strongly opposed the repatriation move and would do whatever they can to resist it. “This [forced repatriation] will increase tension in the camps and could lead to confrontations between refugees and Bangladesh security forces and greatly complicate humanitarian operations. “A botched repatriation attempt could potentially set back peace and development efforts by years,” said the statement released yesterday. It comes two weeks after Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin the repatriation


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Analysis

No further dismantlement at NK missile site

North Korea’s key missile site has not been dismantled further since August, a US website monitoring the regime said Thursday. North Korea has pledged to dismantle a missile engine testing site and a launch pad in Dongchang-ri as part of its stated commitment to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. 38 North said satellite imagery from Oct. 31 indicates there has been no additional dismantlement activity since August. “Components that were previously removed remain stacked on the ground at both locations,” 38 North said in an article posted on its website. Meanwhile, the imagery shows new equipment, possibly for ventilation,


By The Korea Herald
November 9, 2018

Analysis

China Trade War Update

China has kicked off the country’s first ever international import expo in Shanghai, an event designed to boost China’s image as a market to the world. President Xi Jinping, in his opening remarks, said that the Shanghai expo isn’t simply an trade fair, rather it should be viewed as a “major policy for China to push for a new round of high-level opening-up and a major measure for China to take the initiative to open its market to the world.” The Import Expo was not initially designed as an answer to the trade war with the United States—the expo was first announced more than a year ago in May of 2017, long before the first shots of the trade war were fired—but in a way that’s what it has become. President Xi


By Quinn Libson
November 8, 2018

Analysis

Japan sets out plan to regulate IT giants more strictly

A panel set up to study the issue has recommended plans to regulate IT companies more strictly. The government needs to create tough regulations for information technology giants through measures such as forming a specialist monitoring team, according to an interim report released Monday by the government’s expert panel. Based on the report, the Fair Trade Commission will launch a large-scale investigation as early as the beginning of next year into the actual situation of business deals conducted by IT firms. The government will kick off discussions on tougher measures that would include obligating the firms to disclose the terms of their business deals. The report urged the strengthening of regulations on IT giants, called platformers in Japanese, which operate or host search engines, online shopping sites and social media sites, among other things. The panel


By The Japan News
November 7, 2018