Research Activities
The Peace Process in Sri Lanka and the Challenges after the Tsunami Disaster
First Meeting (Group 4)
■Speaker :Prof.Hisashi Nakamura (Ryukoku University)
■Place :Common Research Room, 2nd Floor, 6th Building, Ryukoku University, Fukakusa
■Date :July 22, 2005 
■Number :05040102
On 22 February 2002, the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) signed a ceasefire agreement through the mediation of the Norwegian government. Both the Sinhalese, who form the majority in Sri Lanka, and the Tamils, who form the minority, have come to realize the preciousness of the peace that was finally realized after 20 years of civil war, and are sincerely hoping for its continuation. Following the devastation of the Tsunami disaster in December 2004, a positive mood for cooperation to carry out disaster relief and rehabilitation activities emerged among all kinds of people beyond differences of race, religion, or language. Various political parties expressed their commitment to shelving the political conflict for the time being in order to pursue the shared objective of promoting post-disaster reconstruction. In this respect, one might say that the tsunami disaster created a favorable environment for promotion of peace in the country.

In this situation, Japanese NGOs that have been involved in tsunami disaster relief and rehabilitation activities are expected to provide assistance to fishermen and fishing industries in the northeastern districts which were hard hit by the double assaults of the civil war and the tsunami. The districts most severely devastated by the tsunami are concentrated along the east coast of the country. As many fishing villages in eastern and northern districts are under the control of the LTTE, it is imperative for the Sri Lankan government to cooperate with the LTTE in order to carry out the relief and rehabilitation activities in these areas. The World Bank and other international organizations as well as foreign governments that have been involved in disaster relief activities in Sri Lanka have unanimously agreed on the importance of joint work between the two parties in order to promote the peace process, and they have strongly advocated it.

When President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s term ends in mid-November 2005, the current minority government may have a difficult time maneuvering to win over a majority of votes in the Parliament and prepare for the forthcoming presidential election. At any rate, a situation that is neither peace nor war is likely to prevail in Sri Lanka for some time to come.