Sri Lanka’s Post-Conflict Strategy: Restorative Justice for Rebels and Rebuilding of Conflict-affected Communities

Iromi Dharmawardhane


Following the Sri Lankan Government’s military defeat of the internationally proscribed terrorist organisation, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009, Sri Lanka embarked on an essential and long-term twofold post-conflict strategy: (i) rehabilitation and reintegration of former LTTE combatants, and (ii) the rebuilding of the conflict-affected Tamil communities of the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The rehabilitation program was by many counts a success, with demonstrated cognitive transformation in attitudes and behaviour of most of the (formerly) radicalised combatants. Reconciliation initiatives were implemented to fulfill the urgent social, political, and economic needs of the conflict-affected communities of the North and East. These reconciliation efforts continue to be implemented and comprise different measures taken in: (1) resettlement and humanitarian assistance, (2) reconstruction of key transport, economic, health, and social infrastructure for reintegration, (3) political engagement, and (4) various types of peace-building work. Sri Lanka’s post-conflict strategy adopts a holistic approach, seeking the contribution of the public sector, private sector, community organisations, international organisations, NGOs, and private individuals from different segments of society in Sri Lanka. However, despite the many effective state-led and other reconciliation efforts undertaken by Sri Lanka, the author is able to present a number of recommendations to the government of Sri Lanka to overcome shortcomings in the rehabilitation and reconciliation programs adopted, as well as other challenges faced by Sri Lanka, such as the relentless disinformation campaign against the Sri Lankan state pursued by the remnant LTTE cells surviving internationally. To understand the complex nature of the Sri Lankan conflict and the skillful disinformation campaign pursued against the Sri Lankan state by the LTTE’s transnational network, a comprehensive introduction is provided as a part of this article.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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