Monday, 18 November 2019

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka – the untold crisis

srilankaThis week our In Focus is devoted to Sri Lanka, the beautiful island which is now facing the challenge of overcoming its bloody past and focusing on development and stability.. As the UN Human Rights bodies consider if a full international inquiry on alleged war crimes should be launched, we look at the plight of Mariananthini and other forgotten returnees in the former rebel held northern provinces of the island where the majority of people live on one dollar a day. At the same time donors turn away since the island graduated to the status of a middle income state and because of the bad publicity of war crime allegations. Edward Mortimer finally argues why Sri Lanka matters.

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# Article Title
1 A beautiful island – its bloody past and potential future
2 Human Rights bodies to decide on full international inquiry
3 Living on a dollar a day in a “middle income nation”
4 Why Sri Lanka matters
5 The forgotten returnees
6 Norway in Sri Lanka – The peace initiative that went out the window


  • Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean, lying off the southern tip of India*

  • Population: 20.4 million (UN, 2010)*

  • Life expectancy at birth is 74.9 years **

  • There is a long-established (mainly Hindu) Tamil minority in the north and east, but the Buddhist Sinhalese community are the majority *

  • Major religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity

  • Major languages: Sinhala, Tamil, English*

  • The UN is in Sri Lanka by explicit agreement with the government***

  • Sri Lanka now leads South Asia in most developmental indicators** (It’s a medium ranked country in the UNDP 2011 Human Development Index) and has already made impressive progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals in key areas of human development such as education and health ***

  • However Sri Lanka’s impressive progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals continues to be undermined by the aftermath of 25 years of conflict.

  • The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) is an agreement between the UN and the Government of Sri Lanka for development activities from 2008-2012 ***

  • In this challenging environment the UN Country Team is still committed to delivering on the outputs agreed with the Government of Sri Lanka through the UNDAF:

        1. Interventions to improve socio-economic opportunities and services for conflict-affected communities, particularly IDPs;

        2. Interventions to increase the participation of civil society and people in the peace process; and

        3. Interventions to improve the capacity of public institutions to promote peace, human rights, and national consensus. ***


edward mortimer3 Questions to Edward Mortimer on Sri Lanka.


Edward Mortimer - interview for UNRIC "In Focus" on Sri Lanka