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TAMIL NATION LIBRARY: Conflict Resolution

  • International Dimensions of the Conflict in Sri Lanka
    - Centre for Just Peace & Democracy, First Published 2008
    215 pages, ISBN:3-9523172-3-3

Request for copies or further information may be made to Centre for Just Peace and Democracy, Bahnof Strasse 13, 6020 Emmenbrucke, Switzerland, email: [email protected]

[see also Geopolitics shape Sri Lanka�s conflict - study - TamilNet, Monday, 12 May 2008 - "Politics between powerful states have always been integral to the dynamics of war and peace in Sri Lanka, several contributors to a collected volume exploring the international dimensions of the island�s protracted conflict say. The study by the Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD) published this year comprises papers presented by academics and analysts at a conference held in Switzerland last June along with extracts of the subsequent discussions. Among the papers published in the CJPD book titled �International Dimensions of the Conflict in Sri Lanka� include the keynote presentations by Prof. Johan Galtung, a leading conflict and peace studies expert, Prof. Sumantra Bose, a scholar of nationalism, and Mr. Nadesan Satyendra, a former negotiator with the Tamil delegation at the Thimpu talks in 1985 and writer of 25 years on the Sri Lankan conflict. more]

International Dimensions of the Conflict in Sri Lanka"..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..."

Table of Contents
Contributor Profiles

[see also generally Conflict Resolution: Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka ]


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.

Conference Co-Chairs : Gudrun Kramer, Transcend International
and Ana Pararajasingham, CJPD

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 InternationalTranscend 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.


Section 1: Addresses by Keynote Speakers

The International Framework - Professor Johan Galtung

India - Professor Sumantra Bose

Indian Ocean - Mr Nadesan Satyendra

Section2: Papers Presented

Ethnic Crisis in Sri Lanka- Indian Involvement- Early Stages: - Dr. S.Chandrasekharan

Indo-Sri Lanka Relations in the Context of Sri Lanka's Ethno-political Conflict: Towards an Integrationist Perspective - Dr Sumanasiri Liyanage

The Indian factor and the external interventions in the 2002 peace process in Sri Lanka - Dr A.M Navratna-Bandara

India, China, the World Community and Eelam - Professor M. Sornarajah

International Dimensions of Internal War: Sri Lanka - Professor John P. Neelsen

International Engagement in the Sri Lankan Peace Process - Dr Jonathan Goodhand and Mr Oliver Walton

The Civil War in Sri Lanka and the Role and Influence of the United Kingdom - Dr Chris Smith

The United states' role in Sri Lanka's peace process 2002-2006 - Ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead

International Dimensions of the Tamil National Movement - Dr. Sachithanandam Sathananthan

Section 3: Discussions


Section 4: Information Papers

Information Sheet 1: The Indian Ocean Region

Information Sheet 2: Defence Agreement between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and the Government of Ceylon, 4 February 1948

Information Sheet 3: Exchange of Letters between UK and Australia concerning Defence Agreement between UK and Ceylon, 1947

Information Sheet 4:  Note on Ceylon - UK Defence Agreement and Ceylon's Delayed Admission to United Nations

Information Sheet 5: Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace (1971)

Information Sheet 6: On Indira Gandhi and India's Motivations in 1981-83

Information Sheet 7: Annexure C Proposals, 1983

Information Sheet 8: Exchange of letters, the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord and Annexure to the Agreement

Information Sheet 9: US Intervention in Sri Lanka-Tamil Eelam Conflict, 1979 Proclamation of Eelam Day. Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Information Sheet 10: US Intervention in Sri Lanka-Tamil Eelam Conflict, 1980 US Congressional Record, Proceedings And Debates of the 96th Congress.

Information Sheet 11: US Intervention in Sri Lanka-Tamil Eelam Conflict, 1981, Resolution Memorialising the President and the Congress to Recognize the Right of Self Determination by the Tamil people of Tamil Eelam.

Information Sheet 12: US Intervention in Sri Lanka-Tamil Eelam Conflict, 1981, Proclamation by Mayor of Somerville of Eelam Day, 22 June 1981

Information Sheet 13:  US Strategic Interests in Sri Lanka by Dharmaratnam Sivaram

Information Sheet 14: 'China, a benign and sincere friend of Sri Lanka'

Information Sheet 15: String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China's Rising Power Across the Asian Littoral by Lt.Col. Christopher J. Pehrson.

Information Sheet 16: The International Community (Section 8) of the CJPD Publication titled " Sri Lanka's Endangered Peace Process and the Way Forward", February 2007

Section 5: Contributor Profiles

Professor A.M. Navaratna-Bandara

Professor A M Navaratna-Bandara, B.A. (Ceylon), M.A. (Peradeniya), D. Phil (York), teaches political science, public policy and public administration at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka since 1974. At present he is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, University of Peradeniya. In 2001, 2004 & 2005 he served as the Director of the National Integration Programme Unit (NIPU), a project funded by the Royal Norwegian Government, affiliated to the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration. Since 1993 he has been engaged in civil society campaigns for political solutions to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. He has several academic publications to his credit including Management of Ethnic Secessionist Conflict; The Big Neighbour syndrome, Dartmouth Publishing Company Ltd., Aldershot, England, (1995) and "The Peace Process and the Real Losers", in Jayadeva Uyangoda and Maurine Perera (eds.), Sri Lanka's Peace Process-2002, Critical Perspectives, Social Scientists, Association, Colombo, (144-148)(2003)

Professor Sumantra Bose

Professor Sumantra Bose is Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His books include Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus, and Sri Lanka States, Nations, Sovereignty: Sri Lanka, India and the Tamil Eelam Movement (Sage Publications, 1994). He is also the author of Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace Bosnia after Dayton: Nationalist Partition and International InterventionDr. S.Chandrasekharan

Dr. S.Chandrasekharan is currently the director of the South Asia Analysis Group, a private think tank in New Delhi. He holds a Ph.D. in International Water Resources and specializes in South Asian regions, security, architecture and non proliferation. Previously, he held a senior position with the Indian Government.

Dr. Jonathan Goodhand

Dr. Jonathan Goodhand studied at the Universities of Birmingham and Manchester, with qualifications in education as well as development. He worked for some years managing humanitarian and development programmes in conflict situations in Afghanistan/Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and has extensive experience as a researcher and advisor in South and Central Asia for a range of NGOs and aid agencies, including DFID, SDC, ILO and UNDP. His research interests include the political economy of aid and conflict, NGOs and peacebuilding and 'post conflict' reconstruction. He is currently a Lecturer in Development Practice at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He helped develop DFID's Strategic Conflict Assessment methodology and has published widely on the political economy of conflict, peacebuilding and international assistance. He has been working in or on Sri Lanka since 1992. He was a co-author of Aid, Conflict & Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka 2000 - 2005, a strategic conflict assessment published by the Asia Foundation in 2005

Professor Johan Galtung

Professor Johan Galtung is a Norwegian professor, founder and co-director of TRANSCEND. He is seen as a pioneer of peace and conflict research and founded the International Peace Research Institute (PRIO) in Oslo. He has participated as mediator in over 40 conflicts all over the world including Sri Lanka. In 1964 he founded the Journal of Peace Research. He was the first professor of peace and conflict research in Scandinavia, employed at the University of Oslo. He has published more than 1000 articles covering a wide-range of fields, including peaceful conflict transformation, deep culture, peace pedagogy, reconciliation, development, peace building and empowerment, global governance, direct structural and cultural peace/violence, peace journalism, and reflections on current events, and more than 100 books translated into dozens of languages. Since 2004 he is member of the Advisory Council of the Committee for a Democratic UN.

Dr. Sumanasiri Liyanage

Dr. Sumanasiri Liyanage teaches political economy at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. His principal research interests include social movements, social justice and critical social theory. He is a critical participant of Sri Lankan civil society initiatives for peace and conflict transformation and a regular columnist for Sinhala and English newspapers.

Ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead

Ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead is Assistant Vice President of International Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. He served in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1977 to 2006, and was U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka from August 2003 to July 2006.

Professor John P. Neelsen

Professor John P. Neelsen (1943 Berlin/Germany), M.A., Ph.D. is a Professor in the Dept of Sociology, Tuebingen University/Germany. Teaching experience: Banaras (India), Zurich (Switzerland), Nancy (France) and different universities in Germany (Berlin, Bremen, etc.) Member Scientific Board: World Centre for Peace, Freedom and Human Rights, Verdun/France. ATTAC/Germany. Rosa-LuxemburgFoundation, Berlin/Germany. Research and publications on: North-South Relations; Sociology of Development; Human Rights; Social Inequality; Case studies on India and Sri Lanka. Six years research and field experience in South Asia.

Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan

Dr. Sathananthan was born in Jaffna and holds a Ph D degree from the University of Cambridge. He was Visiting Research Scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University School of Inteernational Studies (1999-2000) Assistant Director, Marga Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka (1986-1989). His research interests cover national movements in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Dr. Sathananthan is a filmmaker. Among others, he explores the cultural roots of Sindhi nationalism in Pakistan, and 'Suicide Warriors' (1996) on women cadre of the LTTE. His feature film `Khamosh Pani' ('Silent Waters') won the Golden Leopard for Best Film at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland, 2003. He has co-directed and produced a documentary film on Pakistan constructed around a dinner discussion with President Pervez Musharraf.

Mr Nadesan Satyendra

Mr Nadesan Satyendra serves as Adviser to the Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD).

Dr Chris Smith

Dr. Chris Smith is an Associate Fellow with the International Security Programme at Chatham House. He is also Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the International Policy Research, King's College, London; a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Governance at the University of Bristol; Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Innovation Management (CENTRIM) and; Visiting Fellow at the Cambridge Security Programme. He was the founder director of the Conflict, Security and Development Group, which works closely with leading policy researchers in developing countries. He has published widely on South Asian defence and security issues, light weapons proliferation, the military utility of landmines and security sector transformation. He is currently working as a freelance consultant. His main area of work at present involves preparing expert witness reports for the British courts on Sri Lankan asylum seekers in the UK.

Professor M. Sornarajah

Professor M Sornarajah studied law at the University of Ceylon, Yale Law School and the University of London. He has taught law at the University of Ceylon, the University of Tasmania (Australia), the University of Dundee (Scotland), the American University at Washington (USA) and the National University of Singapore. He was a Sterling Fellow at the Yale Law School. He was research fellow at the Centre for International Law of the University of Cambridge and at the Max Planck Institute for International Law at Heidelberg, Germany. He is Professorial of the University of Dundee. He is the author of the The International Law on Foreign Investment The Settlement of Foreign Investment DisputesMr Oliver Walton

Oliver Walton is a PhD Candidate at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He has worked on Sri Lanka for a number of years and worked for a national humanitarian NGO between 2003 and 2005. He is currently undertaking research focusing on the politics of NGO peacebuilding in Sri Lanka. He holds an MA in History from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from SOAS. His research interests include NGO legitimacy and strategizing, NGO peacebuilding and the Sri Lankan conflict.


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