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Tamilnation > Tamilnation Library> Conflict Resolution > International Dimensions of the Conflict in Sri Lanka
TAMIL NATION LIBRARY: Conflict Resolution
On 17th June 2007, the Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD) in partnership with Transcend International held a seminar in Luzerne, Switzerland to explore the international dimensions of the conflict in Sri Lanka.
CJPD is an action research centre working towards a peaceful resolution to the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. It was founded in 2004 to formalize pre-existing networks of activists and academics in the Tamil Diaspora and beyond who have worked to bring about a just peace in Sri Lanka. CJPD works with all communities to promote a just peace.
Transcend International is a peace and development network for conflict transformation by peaceful means. It was founded in 1993 by Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung and comprises today about 300 invited academics and practitioners in the field of peace-building from 80 different countries.
International involvement in the conflict between the Sinhala dominated Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil people can be traced to the early 1980's and had over the years involved several international actors-India, Western powers, China and Pakistan.
The primary purpose of the seminar was to understand the international framework in order to discern the motives of the international actors. Whereas statements made by international actors in the course of public diplomacy implied altruism to be the main factor driving the actions of the international actors, there has emerged strong evidence that the intervention is driven by strategic and economic interests of the international actors.
It is not surprising that the conflict in Sri Lanka should receive international attention given its proximity to India, China's increased presence in the Indian Ocean and Sri Lanka's strategic location in respect of the sea routes through the Malacca Strait into the South China Sea.
But there is not only reluctance on the part of the international actors to openly state what precisely those interests are but a strong inclination to deny the existence of such interests.
In 2006, Jonathan Goodhand, a British academic noted that that the "Sri Lankan conflict is not, and has never been an 'introverted' civil war and the international and regional dimensions have always been crucial."'
Mounting evidence of the extent of international involvement has led to the assertion that in Sri Lanka there are two conflicts underway-the first, the armed conflict between the main protagonists- Government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil people; the second between various international actors.
Research papers were submitted by academics and activists from Sri Lanka, the Tamil Diaspora and the international community explaining/exploring the rationale for international intervention.
The seminar commenced with three key note speakers providing their perspectives on the international dimensions. This was followed by a brief presentation of the papers submitted.
The matters covered by the key note speakers and the papers submitted were discussed at some length at sessions where the Chatham House Rules' were invoked to enable a free and frank exchange of views..
The researchers were given the opportunity to revise their papers to incorporate insights gained during these discussions. In addition, written submissions were received from two other participants at these discussions.
This publication comprises 5 sections.
Section 1-Perspectives by key note speakers.
Section 2 -Papers submitted.
Section 3 -Discussions
Section 4 -Information Sheets
Section 5-Contributor profiles
The Centre for Just Peace and Democracy envisages further exploring the theme of international dimensions of the conflict in Sri Lanka through seminars, conferences and publications.
Professor A.M. Navaratna-Bandara
Professor Sumantra Bose