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

How governments can manage the risks of digitalisation without hindering innovation

The world is moving towards an algorithmic economy, which depends largely on data and data-driven innovation. The United States Embassy in Hà Nội yesterday held a discussion on data mobilisation and how authorities can manage the risks of digitalisation without hindering innovation. The speaker of the event, Daniel Castro, vice president at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and director of ITIF’s Center for Data Innovation, said in the past 10 years, the world had been shifting to a data-based economy. “The economy has been focused on mobile technologies, big data analytics technologies, and social networks,” Castro said. In the latest trend, the world is now moving towards an algorithmic economy with new technologies such as AI, the Internet of Things, blockchain, etc. In this stage, the economy depends largely on data and data-driven innovation, whi


By Viet Nam News
October 11, 2019

Analysis

Which way are Sino-US ties headed?

The US has listed China as a strategic competitor and the Sino-US economic/trade conflict is a clear manifestation of this categorization. Bidding farewell to 40 years of friendship, some in the United States want to replace cooperation with competition as the tone of Sino-US ties in future. At present, with right-wing conservatism and nationalism peaking, the US has listed China as a strategic competitor, and the recent Sino-US economic and trade conflict is a clear manifestation of this accusation. The US has adopted a flurry of radical and inappropriate policies and measures to counter China, exposing Washington’s short-term overanxiety. Whenever the US calms down, Beijing and Washington will return to seeking rational major power relations, but it will take time. The US should not hold the unrealistic expectation that trade negotiations can resolve all major issues and concerns between the


By China Daily
October 9, 2019

Analysis

Securing the future of quality journalism

Credible content that audiences value and new sources of revenue needed to sustain newsrooms. The poster boy for robust health in the media industry used to have decidedly Indian features. Even as their counterparts elsewhere languished, Indian media houses were once busy launching new titles, snapping up journalists and boosting orders for newsprint, bucking global trends several years ago. Today, sadly, a pall appears to have settled over many of these newsrooms. “We need to change… we are playing catch-up now,” one top Indian editor told me at a dinner on the sidelines of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers’ (Wan-Ifra) India Conference last Wednesday. Lacklustre advertising during recent festive seasons has taken a toll on print advertising revenues, as circulations slide, he says. Like many others, he laments


By Asia News Network
September 23, 2019

Analysis

Challenges loom for Asia’s digital landscape

An overview of digital strategies across Asia in light of the first ever annual Digital Economy Report released by UNCTAD last week. Last week, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released its first ever annual Digital Economy Report (2019). It came at a time when countries across Asia have been grappling with a complex digital future. Digital technologies help cut costs, enable delivery of services without leakages, reduce opportunities for graft, promote ease of doing business, leverage an increasingly non-tactile world, grow economies, have the potential to create millions of new jobs and, it appears, even help fight fake news. On the flip side, there are concerns of the cost of the emerging digital economy in terms of loss of traditional employment sectors, eroding the right to privacy, abetting authoritarian state-control of citizens’ lives, causing a s


By Ishan Joshi
September 19, 2019

Analysis

South Korea and Japan have more in common than they think

Republished with permission for Asia News Network members by The Brookings Institution. With South Korea’s decision to scrap the 2016 military intelligence sharing agreement with Japan, the two sides have dramatically aggravated their fraught relationship. Bilateral ties had never been great, but in the past several weeks, a trade spat has snowballed into a confrontation that apparently has yet to reach rock bottom. Last month, Tokyo decided to remove South Korea from its list of favored trading partners, which includes the United States, Germany, France, and two dozen other countries, placing export curbs on industrial and high-tech p


By Asia News Network
September 16, 2019

Analysis

Can Global Exchanges work?

Andrew Sheng for Asia News Network. HKEx’s (0388.HK) audacious $32 billion bid for London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L) raised quite a few eyebrows on 9/11.   Three immediate questions were raised by the bid.   First, does the bid make sense for shareholders on a commercial basis?  Second, what are the strategic considerations for Hong Kong and global financial markets?  Third, what are the regulatory and geopolitical hurdles? My own policy is never to make any predictions on the prices or viability of any commercial deal but to let facts speak for themselves.   At present prices, HKEx is the third largest listed exchange in the world with a market cap of $40 billion, larger than the LSE ($31 billion) but smaller than the CME Group ($77 billion) and the Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE, $53 billion).   The fact that the LSE share price rose slightly after the bid announcement but remained lower th


By Asia News Network
September 16, 2019