Sri Lankan solution not good for other countries, says expert
by RG Alama
Davao City (7 September) -- The way Sri Lanka attained peace after their long civil war is not an applicable model for nations seeking peace.
Sri Lankan peace advocate Amal Jayawardane said during the discussions shared at the Learning Sessions of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)-International Steering Group Meeting held last September 30 at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao.
Jayawardane, the Executive Director of the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS) based in Colombo, Sri Lanka said that the conflict ended neither as a military victory or a successful peace agreement.
Answering to the question posed by of Initiatives for International Dialogue executive director Gus Miclat, if what has happened in Sri Lanka could be used as a model for peace. Jayawardane said that the Sri Lankan solution cannot be a model for other nations seeking to achieve peace and would not endorse it.
The Government of Sri Lanka declared victory in May this year over the secessionists Tamil Tigers when they captured the last remaining Tamil Tiger stronghold. Tamil Tiger founder and leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran was also killed in the battle thus ending decades of bloody civil war.
The military campaign to defeat the Tigers has sparked a massive humanitarian crisis brought about by displaced Sri Lankan Tamils.
According to Jayawardane there were other factors that contributed to the 'desirable' outcome of the civil war. The geographical position of Sri Lanka being an island was cited as a great advantage.
Part of the Tiger defeat was attributed to increase patrols by the Sri Lankan and Indian Navies that prevented arm shipments from Tamil Indians into reaching the Tigers in the island, crackdowns across Europe, Canada and the US on overseas fundraising for the rebels also further isolated the Tiger's cause.
Another factor to the government's victory was increased defense spending for the Sri Lankan military in which the country is struggling to pay mounting debts from loans taken to purchase weapons and other military hardware.
The Learning Session was attended by participants from Burma, South Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, East Timor and Vietnam. Also the GPPAC West Balkans and the European Centre for Conflict Prevention (ECCP) also took part in the session along with the members of the Mindanao Peaceweavers, an organization of civil society groups in Mindanao active in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
GPPAC is a world-wide civil society network that works to promote the importance of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The Davao-based Initiatives for International Dialogue is the regional initiator of GPPAC in Southeast Asia. It is also part of the International Steering Group which governs GPPAC.
The GPPAC-ISG meeting in Davao was held from September 30 to October 5. (PIA XI) [top]