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Tamilnation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution - Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD) > Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD) - 2007 Annual Report
Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD)
Contents [also full report
1. From the Management Team
The Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD) was founded in 2004 to formalise 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.
In 2007, with the support of the Berghof Foundation and the Norwegian Government, this network was given an institutional form and a hub in Switzerland.
Since then the management team have taken on a heavy workload combining intuition-building and project work. Highlights include:
Since 2004 CJPD has engaged more than one hundred academics, activists and intellectuals in the Tamil diaspora and in host countries with the expertise and knowledge necessary for us to deliver our work programme. Of these, more than sixty have already participated in CJPD projects, and we are committed to growing this network of people who can bring about a lasting solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka.
Whilst the above is a significant achievement, CJPD’s faced a number of challenges as we sought to establish the organization:
The ‘Humanitarian Action in the Undeclared War in Sri Lanka’ project highlighted how the political and security situation in Sri Lanka impinged on CJPD’s programme. A number of participants were concerned about the repercussion of speaking out on this topic and CJPD wished to acknowledge the courage of all participants, especially those who came from Sri Lanka to speak on such an important issue.
Following the Norwegian Government’s commitment of funds, CJPD is developing long term work plans and has already recruited a new project manager to commence in February 2008.
Following a strategy meeting in December 2007 attended by the management team, advisory board members and staff from the Berghof Foundation, CJPD is developing standardised operating procedures to further entrench a culture of professionalism and academic rigour.
The management team wishes to acknowledge the generous support and assistance from the CJPD Advisory Board, the Berghof Foundation, our project partners – TRANSCEND International, IMADR and LIDLIP, the Federal Government of Switzerland, Government of Germany, Government of Norway, the Swiss Tamil diaspora -for their logistical support of CJPD events, and the wider Tamil diaspora who continue to stimulate us with their ideas and enthusiasm.
This annual report provides a snapshot of CJPD’s activities in 2007, financial statements and future plans for 2008 and beyond. This publication is one part of our commitment to maintaining the highest levels of transparency and accountability to all stakeholders.
We are acutely aware that our work is shaped by people: people in the island of Sri Lanka, in the diaspora and in the countries where the diaspora is settled. It is people that turn our plans into action, our ideas into policy and our struggle into a just peace. CJPD is committed to engaging a wide spectrum of people to achieve our aims. 2008 promises to be an exciting one as we consolidate this emerging institution and build on its strong foundations, we hope you will join us in this most important undertaking.
The Management Team.
The creation of CJPD is an ambitious undertaking for the Tamil diaspora. With one in four Sri Lankan Tamils now living in the diaspora, they have historically played an important role in the conflict in Sri Lanka. But this is the first time that activists, intellectuals and academics - who have campaigned for decades on their own time and from their own houses – now have the opportunity to work in a full-time professional environment to analyse the causes, effects and possible outcomes of the conflict in Sri Lanka.
Taking a largely voluntary network based on goodwill and volunteerism and transforming it into an organisational unit guided by the principles of analytical rigour and professionalism, is no easy task. CJPD’s ability to meet its ambitious future plans hinge on its ability to grow in a sustainable manner that engages the broadest possible spectrum of individuals who have an commitment to resolving the conflict. To this end it is crucial that the transition from community activism to policy thinktank is managed in a way that balances short term goals with longer team strategies.
This process of sustainable growth has both external and internal elements. Externally, CJPD has worked to build relationships with foreign governments, funding agencies, Sri Lankan and international conflict resolution think-tanks and NGOs, UN agencies, and diaspora groups.
Internally, we have worked to build organisational capacity and adopted policies and procedures that will allow us to maintain the highest levels of professionalism, transparency and accountability.
The culmination of these efforts was CJPD’s ability to secure institutional funding from the Norwegian Government.
3.Project: International Dimensions of the Conflict in Sri Lanka
On 17th June 2007, CJPD in partnership with Transcend International held a seminar in Lucerne, Switzerland to explore the international dimensions of the conflict in Sri Lanka. Transcend International is a network for conflict transformation founded in 1993 by Professor Johan Galtung and comprises today about 300 academics and practitioners in the field of peace-building from 80 different countries.
The objective of the seminar was to explore the geo-political framework and suggest ways in which a negotiated and just peace could be forged between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam while taking into consideration the international dimensions.
In keeping with CJPD's policy of broad participation, seminar participants included activists and academics from Sri Lanka, the Tamil Diaspora and the wider international community. As such the seminar provided a forum for a range of views on the international dimensions of the conflict to be heard.
The seminar comprised three key note speakers providing their perspectives. The key note speakers were Professor Johan Galtung, Founder Transcend International and the International Peace Research Institute (PRIO) in Oslo, Professor Sumantra Bose Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Mr. Nadesan Satyendra, Adviser to CJPD.
The key note speakers were followed by a brief presentation of nine papers which addressed various aspects of the international framework. The matters covered by the key note speakers and the papers submitted were then discussed at sessions where the Chatham House Rules were invoked to enable a free and frank exchange of views.
The research papers presented at the seminar and a summary of matters discussed will be available on the CJPD website and in book format in early 2008. The seminar was jointly chaired by Ms. Gudrun Kramer, Transcend International and Mr. Ana Pararajasingham, CJPD
On 22 September 2007 we collaborated with the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), Sri Lanka and the International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples (LIDLIP), Switzerland to host a seminar in Geneva, Switzerland on “Humanitarian Action in the Undeclared War in Sri Lanka”.
This seminar brought together local and international activists, UN agencies, Geneva-based ECOSOC NGOs and other actors involved in humanitarian work to discuss the present ground situation in Sri Lanka and explore ways to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population. In all forty-five people participated in the round table discussion.
The presenters and participants brought a range of micro and macro level perspectives to the issue and were able to illuminate some of the underlying structural factors that have caused the present humanitarian crisis. The forum was organised with a view to creating a space that would facilitate an exchange of views and experiences in an environment of openness and dialogue. It brought together people who have very differing political views, allowing them to put aside their differences to discuss the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Sri Lanka.
Following a keynote address by Professor Bertie Ramcharan formerly Director of the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, and Director of the Office of the Special Representative for the Former Yugoslavia in charge of UNPROFOR, papers were presented by a range of speakers from Sri Lanka, the Tamil diaspora and the international community:
» Mr. Kasinather Sivapalan, Deputy President, Northeast Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR) and Local nominee to SLMM Trincomalee; Ms. Sunila Abeysekera, Executive Director, INFORM; Mr. David Rampton, Visiting Lecturer at the Development Studies and Politics Departments, SOAS; Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA); Ms. Karen Parker, J.D., International Educational Development; Mr. Arjunan Ethirveerasingham, Media Relations Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (Colombo); Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Bernard, Director, CEPAHRC, Jaffna.
Additionally, papers were also submitted by Mr. Jeevan Thiagarajah, Executive Director, The Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) and a Jaffna-based human rights defender who wished to remain anonymous due to security concerns.
The meeting was co-chaired by Ms. Verena Graf, Secretary General, LIDLIP, Ms. Nimalka Ferdando, President, IMADR and Mr. Prasanna Chandrakumar, Programme Coordinator, CJPD.
The seminar discussed:
When organising this forum we were mindful of creating a space that would facilitate an exchange of views and experiences in an environment of openness and dialogue. People who have very differing political views were able to put aside their differences to discuss the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Sri Lanka. A seminar report including papers presented and a reflection of the discussions was published in November 2007.
5. Project: Resistance/Liberation Movements and Transitions to Politics : Building a Network of Experience
CJPD collaborated with Berghof Foundation on the LTTE component of a case study based examination of armed resistance/liberation movements and transitions from war to peace. This case study considered the substantial non-military activities of the LTTE since the internationally-backed Norwegian peace process began in 2002 against the wider theoretical foil of transition from war to peace. In particular, the study sought to go beyond a historical narrative and critically examine the ontological and epistemological bases for inquiries into accepted notions of conflict transformation.
The study argued that the LTTE has engaged in substantive and multi-faceted nonviolent political activities whose transformative potential has been insufficiently examined and engaged with by international actors as a result of the prevailing overly narrow focus on electoral politics as political transformation. The study was guided by the principle that a nuanced understanding of the LTTE-that goes well beyond the non-descript label of ‘armed group’ or ‘non-state actor’- as well as the wider dynamics of the conflict in Sri Lanka, is essential to promoting peace in the island.
6. Publication: Sri Lanka's Endangered Peace Process and the Way Forward
In February 2007, this publication was released to mark the 5th Anniversary of the Cease-Fire Agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The paper traced the reasons for the collapse of the Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA) and recommended that the way forward required addressing the concerns of all parties (local and international), who have a stake in the outcome.
Following the commitment of funds from the Norwegian Government, CJPD’s medium term financial viability is guaranteed. However, this institutional funding only allows CJPD to pursue a modest work programme. If CJPD is to achieve its ambitious goals it will have to seek further funding for individual projects. To this end we have identified a number of projects for 2008 and beyond:
The CJPD Advisory Board had its inaugural meeting at CJPD’s premises in Lucerne on 15 June 2007. The meeting was attended by Advisory Board members: Prof M. Sornarajah, Ms Vinothini Kanapathipillai, Mr Viraj Mendis, Dr Rev A.J.V. Chandrakanthan, Mr Suthaharan Nadarajah, Mr Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, and Mr. Nadesan Satyendra. Also present were: Hon. Gajen Ponnambalam MP, Ms. Luxshi Vimalarajah, Ms. Christina Williams, Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham, and George Arulanantham
The meeting covered a broad range of topics including CJPD’s links to the diaspora and beyond, current and future projects, possible collaboration with other institutions including universities and possible sources of funding. The range of views expressed and the lively debate around the table were a testament to the diversity of experiences and expertise that members of the Advisor Board bring to the table. The Management Team found it particularly useful to get an international perspective on how best to engage with the diaspora communities, academic institutions and funding agencies located in the countries from which the board members hailed.
As this was the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Board we were particularly pleased that more that half the members were able to travel to Switzerland to share their thoughts with the Management Team.