UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE Simulation on Sri Lanka:Setting the Agenda for Peace

Simulation on Sri Lanka:
Setting the Agenda for Peace

National Unity Alliance (NUA)
Muslims are dispersed throughout the island but have a sizeable concentration in the Northern
and Eastern Province, and Colombo. Economically, they present a diverse picture. The Colombo
Muslims are a rich business community, especially prominent in gem trading, whereas the
Eastern Muslims are mostly in agriculture. There is a distinct gap between the North-East
Muslims and the Colombo Muslims. In the violent atmosphere of the North and East, it was
realized that the Colombo Muslims were not adequately addressing their grievances. Talks on
devolution heightened their fear of being reduced to a ‘minority within a minority’.
You represent the National Unity Alliance which is a Muslim party within the government coalition.
Your main concern is the security and welfare of the large number of Muslims who live in the
areas demarcated by the LTTE as constituting a separate Tamil state. You should be wary of
decentralization proposals that sacrifice the interests these Muslims in order to settle the
grievances of the Tamils. Your job is to make sure that the issue of the Muslims is included in any
framework for peace talks. If possible you want to brief all mediators on the countless human
rights abuses committed by the LTTE towards Muslims.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You support the idea of peace talks with the LTTE. However, you should try to determine whether
the LTTE is serious about the peace talks. You should try to get the LTTE to publicly admit to the
grievances it has caused to the Muslims while trying to secede, as a precondition of your
participation/approval to the peace talks. You have to make sure that any agenda for peace talks
includes the issue of the Muslims in the north and the east. You want to take a hard line with
respect to the LTTE as you do not want them control any future political system in the north and
especially the east. Therefore, you ask that the LTTE be disbanded as a military group before it
can enter the political process. You can also request that the northern and eastern areas be
administered separately. Muslims are a majority in the east and hence your party has a favorable
chance to play a dominant role in any future administrative system there. However, uniting the
north and the east might weaken this possibility, given that Tamils form an overwhelming majority
in the north.
You do not want India to play an important role in the mediation role given that elements within
the Indian may still be sympathetic to the LTTE. In addition, the stance towards the Muslims of
India does not give you a great deal of confidence about India’s potential role in the mediation
process. You want to push for the EU to play a major role as it can exert considerable pressure
on the LTTE by impeding their fundraising in Europe. Additionally, you want to make sure any
mediator understands that the safety of the Muslims is as important as the safety of the Tamils.
You could lobby the UN to recognize the issue of the Muslims.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
India – Minister of External Affairs
Sri Lanka and India share ethnic as well as historical ties. The southern state of Tamil-Nadu is
majority ethnic Tamil. Sri Lankan Tamils number 3.5 million, or 18 % of the island’s population.
In the early 1980’s the Indian government, under pressure from their Tamil population, gave
sanctuary to Tamil guerrillas (the LTTE), and supported training camps. The guerrillas operated
from these camps across the Palk Strait into Sri Lanka. In 1987, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
tried to mediate a settlement between the two parties, but when no headway was made, the Sri
Lankan government sought to create a solution by using military force. India, fearing a hostile
response from Tamil Nadu, air-dropped supplies to besieged Tamil separatists. Rajiv Gandhi and
Sri-Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene made an agreement through secret negotiations giving
the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) the right to enter into Sri Lanka. Neither Sinhalese
nationalists nor the LTTE were in agreement with the accord, and the IPKF was soon fighting the
guerrillas. The forces were ordered out of the country in 1989, but the India’s presence in Sri
Lanka had not come without price; over 1100 Indian soldiers were killed and 2800 wounded.
Later India was to receive yet another wound from its involvement in Sri Lanka; its Prime Minister,
Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated by Sri Lankan Tamil separatists.
Currently India and Sri Lanka share a healthy diplomatic relationship, with frequent visits between
the two governments. In addition, the economic relationship between the two is very important.
Sri Lanka’s exports to India have steadily increased over the last five years, and according to
statistics, over 50% of Indian joint ventures and wholly owned subsidiaries in the SAARC (South
Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) region are located in Sri Lanka.1 These close ties
have caused the two countries to agree to establish a Free Trade Area between India and Sri
India’s official position on Sri Lanka is to “[maintain] close, cordial and co-operative relations with
that country, building on the considerable legacy of historic links, common culture, shared
commitment to democracy and a general orientation towards non-alignment in foreign policy. The
Indian government’s policy toward Sri Lanka consists of a three-fold commitment:
(a) to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka;
(b) to the restoration of lasting peace in Sri Lanka;
(c) to a peaceful, political process being the only means of achieving a lasting peace, through
a negotiated settlement which would meet the aspirations of all communities.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You are interested in strengthening bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka, especially the
economic sector and political area. A resolution of the conflict is important to you due to both the
influx of over 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees in India and the mounting pressure from ethnic Tamils
in the state of Tamil-Nadu. Tamil-Nadu has made several calls for political autonomy from India,
and you do not want political upheaval from the peoples in Tamil-Nadu.
The recent troubles in Sri Lanka have caused you a great deal of concern. You are closely
monitoring the evolving situation and have offered your services to mediate between the disputing
parties. As you see the situation, there are four approaches you support to help resolve the
conflicts in Sri Lanka. First is an absolute commitment to the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka and
full respect for the aspirations of the Tamil minority. Second, you believe that a political objective
can only be achieved through negotiations between Colombo and the LTTE. Third, based on past
bitter experiences, you do not support putting India’s troops in harm’s way once more in Sri
Lanka. Finally, you believe that there is no room for military or political intervention by other
international powers in the Sri Lankan conflict.

1 http://www.indiagov.org/foreign/sl.htm
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
Balancing the position of trying to foster a peaceful solution in Sri Lanka and responding to the
pressures in Tamil-Nadu will be a challenge. During the discussions, it is important that you are
supportive of the peace process yet attentive to the voices in southern India.
As the discussions unfold, you would like to see an immediate cease-fire between the warring
factions. You recognize that a devolution of some of the government’s power to local levels would
allow some degree of autonomy to the Tamils. You may not advocate for this during open
discussions, however you privately believe this may be one way to preserve the Sri Lankan state.
In addition to these items, you have India’s best interests at heart. A timeline for the return of
refugees from India to Sri Lanka is crucial. Also, any agreement that is reached must preserve
Tamil-Nadu as an entity of India. The territory can not, in any way, be incorporated into a Tamil
Eelam state. Keep in mind that you are not entirely supportive of intervening outside powers,
such as Norway, the EU, or the US. You are willing to mediate between parties or groups to
resolve conflict and promote India’s interests.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is committed to fight for a Socialist revolution in Sri
Lanka. The JVP has operated as both an electoral political party as well as an underground
organization. Appealing to the youth of Colombo University in particular, the JVP came to
limelight in April 1971 when it decided to capture state power by attacking police stations in the
country. Between 1977 and 1983, the JVP became a fast-growing political force in Sri Lanka.
The JVP launched a reinvigorated underground movement that surfaced from 1987 to 1989 in
reaction to the occupation of northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka by the Indian
Peacekeeping Force. The change of strategy from a “Socialist revolution through class struggle
to a Socialist revolution through patriotic struggle” marked a recourse to violence, as uprising
pockmarked the countryside of western Sri Lanka and brought the country to a virtual standstill
and paralyzed the ability of government forces to control Tamil rebels.
As the JVP has adopted new strategies “in tune with the changes in the Socialist world,” the party
remains a threat to once again emerge a formidable military force should it decide to revert back
to earlier militant strategies.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
As the JVP representative you believe that in order to solve the Sri Lanka conflict, it is essential to
understand the problem correctly. Tamil diversionists believe it is making them free from the
pressure of the Sinhala the bigger national or obtaining right of making self-decisions. According
to nationalists it is merely a terrorist movement. All these are not the total truth. According to
foreign mediators and the government, this is an ethnic problem. You do not consider the
problems as “ethnic” in nature. Truthfully there is no ethnic problem, in Sri Lanka. You assert that
there is a “national problem.” It is a problem of not having equal opportunities and democratic
rights for all.
Therefore, any method for solving this national problem and establishing national peace and unity
should be based on granting equal rights to all the nationalities and strengthening democracy.
The government has a diverging policy—one face is shown to international powers; the other face
is shown to the people of Sri Lanka. In addition, the government has attempted to further split
Tamil groups from the Sinhalese and have denied equal rights to each group. It is evident,
therefore, that the ruling People’s Alliance is a puppet of international actors who bring ulterior
motives to any negotiation for settlement of the otherwise internal conflict.
You would like to restrict any foreign intervention in the resolution of the conflict or maintenance
of peace. This includes the United Nations, India, the European Union, the United States, and
Norway. Furthermore, you question the motives of the delegation from Norway for their voluntary
mediation of the settlement. In general, you reject the Constitutional Reforms Bill and wish to
emphasize the importance of equal rights for all citizens of Sri Lanka (particularly the Sinhalese
majority). As for the future of the country, you encourage the development of nationwide state-run
enterprises in the rejuvenation of the Sri Lankan economy.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
European Union
The European Union is built on an institutional system which is the only one of its kind in the
world. It is a result of a process of cooperation and integration which began in 1951 between six
countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands). After nearly fifty
years, the EU today has fifteen Member States. The Member States delegate sovereignty for
certain matters to independent institutions which represent the interests of the Union as a whole,
its member countries and its citizens. Democracy and the rule of law are therefore the
cornerstones of the structure.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
Given the potential you have to influence both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government, you
could be an ideal mediator in the process. You can withhold aid to the government and
crackdown on LTTE funding from activities in Europe. The Sri Lankan situation also gives you an
opportunity to establish your role as an important player in the international arena. Your
involvement in the Sri Lankan situation is motivated primarily by two factors: One, this represents
a good venue to exercise your capabilities as an emerging global force, and two, there has been
a recent backlash in Europe against asylum seekers. The influx of asylum seekers has raised the
costs of providing welfare services in your countries.
You believe that decentralization should be the focal point of any negotiations. You should
persuade the parties to the conflict to agree to negotiate on the specifics of a decentralized
government. The LTTE so far has rejected the devolution proposals forwarded by the
government. However, they do not seem to be completely opposed to the idea of
decentralization. Your task is to mediate between both of the parties so that an agenda for
discussing decentralization can be drawn up. You have the power and resources to oversee the
implementation of any settlement. This window of opportunity is unprecedented and is not likely
to be repeated in the near future. Therefore, you want to take advantage of it to find a solution to
Sri Lanka’s problem. Beware, all parties may not find your mediation efforts acceptable. This may
cause to find other ways of exerting your influence or to create a coalition of mediators.
You believe that Norway has so far been an ineffective mediator in the conflict. India too has
failed in its mediation efforts and, as you see it, too be preoccupied by its internal interest in the
conflict. However, India is an important player because of its regional stature, and any agreement
should have its blessing. Therefore you need to persuade the Indian government to support your
mediation efforts. India is also important as it still exercises some influence over the leadership of
the LTTE. You may want to offer special incentives, maybe even in conjunction with the World
Bank or business councils, to give Indian exports special privileges in the EU market.
During discussions be alert to any disagreement among members of the LTTE and the
government. You may be able to make more progress with some representatives over others in
the same party.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
Throughout the history of the independent state of Sri Lanka the UNP has remained an extremely
important factor in the determination of government domestic and foreign policy. It may be
argued that the UNP occupies a position, though not the ruling party, of primary significance. As
the major opposition party to the People’s Alliance, the United National Party has the flexibility to
accept or deny peace efforts made by the ruling PA government in the form of alliance or a “no
confidence” vote, respectively.
Although the base of support for the UNP has existed primarily in Sinhalese central, western, and
southern areas of Sri Lanka, the party has not been [tacitly identified as a Sinhalese-chauvinist
organization in the same vein as the SLFP.?] Maintaining its status as a party from the moderate
right, the UNP has the capacity to simultaneously work with the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress, the
JVP, and the LTTE.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You are currently involved in a complex set of alliance building measures in anticipation of the
agenda setting discussion. Primarily you would like to create a strong opposition to the PA
leaders and fill their posts with members of the UNP. In strong opposition to the provisions of the
Constitution Reform Bill, the UNP has successfully attracted peripheral members of the PA and
garnered support for a vote of “no confidence” against the current Administration.
The UNP is strengthened with every dissension and fracture from the People’s Alliance, with the
understanding that no peace negotiations can prove ultimately successful without your
endorsement. As the discussions proceed, it is important that you do not antagonize any parties
that might swing away from the People’s Alliance. In doing so, you may need to have an
agreeable position with all parties or representatives that you encounter. Subtle attempts to
undermine the consensus of the People’s Alliance are encouraged, and opportunities for party realignment
may arise.
During the agenda setting sessions, your position must be played with a great deal of care. You
must appear to have the best options for peace without being too sympathetic to the LTTE. You
may argue that the government makes too many concessions and the LTTE is not giving enough.
You should lean toward advocating for peace in the broadest terms. If the Constitution Reform Bill
is discussed, you may see it as “inadequate” and recommend that other steps be taken in
advance of any attempts to address devolution (i.e. economic rejuvenation, eliminating fascism
from the People’s Alliance, free and fair elections, etc.) In your quest to further your ideas, you
may need to feel out members of the PA to see if they are sympathetic to you ideas. This may be
one way of subtly working your way into the party ranks. Look to the EU, Quakers, or US to
support your objectives or mediate your position with hard to reach opponents.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
The Sarvodaya interpret their name as “sharing of time, thoughts, and energy for the awakening
of all.” Throughout its history, the paradigm that has shaped the movement is the introduction of
Buddhist values into development work. The founder of the movement, Ariyaratne, went to a poor
village with a group of colleagues and students to do eleven days of development work as part of
a program designed to provide the urban upper class with insight as to the actual living conditions
of their fellow citizens. By 1966, Ariyaratne had decided to carry out a “Gramodaya Programme”
(village awakening) in one hundred selected villages in Sri Lanka.
Ten fundamental human needs have been identified by the Sarvodaya movement as principal
features of and factors for meaningful peace: A clean and beautiful environment; Adequate
supply of clean water; Minimal supplies of clothing; An adequate supply of food; A modest house;
Basic health care; Basic communication facilities; A minimal supply of energy; Holistic education;
and, Spiritual and cultural needs.
The concept of social development advocated by the Sarvodaya Movement defines development
as a task to be undertaken across all sectors: cultural, economic, social, ecological, and political.
Today, the movement is active in more than 15,000 villages in Sri Lanka and has developed
short- and long-term plans for the mediation and amelioration of violence on the island.
Analysts within the Sarvodaya Movement have asserted, “The problem is not LTTE or the
Government. The problem is violence and the conditions that nurture and support it. The
Sarvodaya goal is to eliminate war and violence from our consciousness: to make war
unthinkable.” To this end, Sarvodaya operations focus on peace issues including Shanti Sena,
which organizes over 77,000 youth into “Peace Brigades” and “Amity Camps.” In addition, the
Sarvodaya Legal Services provide legal advice to Sri Lankan citizens in conjunction with massive
efforts toward peace mediation and training to more than 215,000 Sri Lankans.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You believe that the external war cannot be “won.” The government cannot “win” the war. The
LTTE cannot “win” the war. All they can do is continue it. This war cannot be won; it can only be
transcended. Sarvodaya can help Sri Lankans transcend the war. In order to have an authentic
peace, we must recognize that violence arises from deep conflicts within a society. These
conflicts must be healed. The roots of violence must be eradicated for real peace to be achieved.
Military-style “peacekeepers” cannot bring peace. We must envision a true post-conflict society.”
In order to “transcend” war, you advocate for a transformation of the economy. You believe that
poverty breeds violence. The biggest force driving the war is the continued poverty that haunts
the Sri Lankan island. First, peace mediation must take place to remove the war from the hearts
and thoughts of the populace of Sri Lanka. Next, all of the victims of the war—including the
combatants, their families, civilians, and children—must be healed in a climate of peace.
Emotional healing must take place, and bridges must be built between the Sinhalese and Tamil
people. These ties may be established at the village level—through inter-community work,
thoughtful discussion, and the identification of the universal “ten basic needs” of all Sri Lankans.
Finally, a national conversation on the future of Sri Lanka must take place, and must include
every village, town, and city on the island, erecting the basis for a new, inclusive Constitution.
During the discussions you would like to see a complete and unconditional ceasefire by all
parties. Efforts toward economic rejuvenation at the level of villages, towns, and cities are
essential. While you are in favor of some World Bank policies to end poverty, you are critical of
programs that take away the community bonds and spirit. A restructuring of the Constitution
toward further inclusion of all ethnic groups and minorities is also important to you. You would like
to see a commitment to programs which help individuals disabled by war (including physical,
emotional, psychological, and spiritual disabilities). In addition, the rehabilitation of Sri Lankan
youth and re-integration into the civilian population as participants in a nationwide village re-
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
awakening programme would help ensure a lasting peace. You may want to explore the
possibility of building a coalition with other like-minded organizations or finding a mediator to
further your ideas.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)
The DMK is the major political party in Tamil-Nadu, one of India’s southernmost states containing
a large Tamil population which supports Tamil militants in Sri Lanka. They are among the most
vocal of the parties crying for more autonomy from India. The position of the DMK is that they
would like Indian controls limited to defense, foreign affairs, interstate communication and
currency. In 1991 the DMK government of Tamil Nadu was dismissed by the prime minister for
failing to control the activities of the Sri Lankan Tamil militants.
In the early 1980’s the Indian government, under pressure from their Tamil population, gave
sanctuary to Tamil guerrillas (the LTTE), and supported training camps. The guerrillas operated
from these camps across the Palk Strait into Sri Lanka. In 1987, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
tried to mediate a settlement between the two parties, but when no headway was made, the Sri
Lankan government sought to create a solution using military force.
India, fearing a hostile response from Tamil Nadu, air-dropped supplies to besieged Tamil
separatists. Rajiv Gandhi and Sri-Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene made an agreement
through secret negotiations giving the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) the right to enter into
Sri Lanka. Neither Sinhalese nationalists nor the LTTE were in agreement with the accord, and
the IPKF was soon fighting the guerrillas. The forces were ordered out of the country in 1989, but
the Indians presence in Sri Lanka had not come without price; over 1100 Indian soldiers were
killed and 2800 wounded. Later India was to receive yet another wound from its involvement in
Sri Lanka, its Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated by Sri Lankan Tamil separatists.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
During the discussions you should defend the unanimous opinion of the people of Tamil Nadu
that India should neither send its troops nor supply arms to help the Sri Lankan Government.
India should not lend itself to the massacre of Tamils in Sri Lanka. That being stated, you have
supported the LTTE in its efforts to secure independence, in the hopes of creating a unified Tamil
Nadu/Eelam state.
Since you are supportive of your Tamil brothers in Sri Lanka and their quest for a separate Tamil
State, you will want to meet with the LTTE and find out how to help them meet their quest for a
separate state. You do not have a preference on how a separate state is created, and will be
happy if the LTTE get Tamil Eelam through negotiations or armed conflict. By no means do you
support any move by the LTTE on Indian soil. Furthermore, the Indian government will not allow
the LTTE to use Tamil Nadu as a base to conduct its activities. You must walk a fine line between
the appeasement the Indian government and supporting the LTTE cause.
Other items of importance to you include a removal of the ban on assistance to LTTE. In your
efforts to feel out the PA representatives to see if you have any support. You may suggest
meeting with the government on behalf of the LTTE. If the government will not agree to meet with
you, they may accept a meeting with another interested party, such as the Quaker representative,
on your behalf.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
National Sangha Council
The National Sangha Council is the most influential group of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka. The
monks wield enormous influence in the nation, where 76 percent of the citizens are Buddhists.
The Sangha are highly respected and closely integrated into the life of the Sinhalese community,
especially at the village level. With the division of the country traditionally beyond comprehension,
the Sangha have played a major role in the politics of Sri Lanka and in shaping opposition to
Tamil self-determination. In particular, the war is seen as a struggle to preserve the Theravada
strain of Buddhism, which thinks of Buddha as the “World Sovereign.” Though Buddhists
worldwide recognize the principle of “ahisma” – not harming living creatures through thought or
deed, the Buddhists feel that the conflict in Sri Lanka threatens their very existence. As such, the
monks have been at the forefront of the movement to defeat the LTTE militarily.
In recent years, the Sangha’s cultural power has been attenuated by universal modern education
and an open market economy. Contemporary politicians exploit as much as defer to their
influence. With the publication of the PA government’s peace package in 1997, a significant
number of monks came out in favor of devolution. This break from tradition caused
unprecedented debate and disagreement among the Sangha, though the majority of the clergy is
staunchly opposed to devolution.
The rationale for fighting the LTTE derives primarily from cultural and historical reasons.
Because Sri Lanka is the most prominent country in the world for Orthodox Buddhism, the
country’s territorial integrity is of primary importance to Buddhists all over the globe, offering free
Buddhist education and dispatching missionaries.
Historically, the National Sangha Council has been known to seek support from any group that
would help crush the Tamil resistance. In May 2000, the NSC met with the Indian government to
seek military assistance in suppressing the rebellion, and specifically sought air and naval
support for government troops. Though the Indian government refused to provide support, the
monks have still sought their support repeatedly.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You consistently and loudly oppose any proposal that might grant the LTTE political autonomy. In
a letter published in The Island your Sanga stated that “It is our conviction that what prevails in
our country is a Tamil racist policy of terrorism and not an ‘ethnic’ problem. The only solution is to
use the power of the State to crush terrorism and firmly establish the writ of the government and
law and order throughout the country.”
You believe that the government must fight the LTTE until they surrender. In addition, you remain
deeply suspicious of Norway’s attempts to broker peace between the two parties. In particular,
you feel that the involvement of Norway will serve only as a precursor to an intervention of foreign
armies into internal affairs, leading to destabilization of the country and the entire South Asian
Your hard-line Buddhist compatriots have also opposed the government’s move to grant
citizenship to several thousand Tamils of Indian origin, who to this point have no rights. In effect,
the monks feel that by granting political rights and autonomy to the Tamils, the political power of
the monks will be diluted. To express your views, you have led numerous demonstrations against
the peace talks and have initiated student sit-downs, hunger strikes, and some members have
even resorted to lighting themselves on fire as a way to draw attention to their cause.
Your demand is simple: a renewed commitment by the Sri Lankan government and the major
political parties to eradicating the LTTE. You stand firm on your belief that the conflict is the
primary fault of the LTTE and their refusal to abide by the constitution. You feel that it is in the
best interests of the Sri Lankan government to resist any peace agreement due to the feared
foreign interventions (excluding India) and the potential reduction of political and cultural power.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
On the agenda you would like to see an international condemnation (including NGO’s) of the acts
of aggression by the LTTE terrorists. You do not want any members of the LTTE involved with
politics or affiliated with the government in any way. The Sri Lankan state should be preserved
without partition. Given that India is committed to a unified Sri Lanka, you may wish to further
your position by meeting, or forming a coalition, with other like-minded representatives. Keep in
mind that you can approach other people present at the discussions to serve as a mediator or
advocate your position.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
World Bank
The World Bank is the world’s largest source of development assistance, providing nearly $16
billion in loans annually to its client countries. It uses its financial resources, highly trained staff,
and extensive knowledge base to help each developing country onto a path of stable,
sustainable, and equitable growth in the fight against poverty.
Since joining the World Bank group in 1950, Sri Lanka has received $2.5 billion in support of
development. The continuing conflict between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government poses
the single largest obstacle to long-term economic prosperity. The direct costs of the conflict such
as budget commitments for military campaigns, infrastructure replacements and pension plans
have dictated the spending initiatives of the government. Coupled with these expenses are the
indirect costs resulting from distortions to labor markets, disruptions to commerce, and the lower
foreign investment and tourism that have resulted from the instability of the conflict.
Sri Lanka is South Asia’s most open economy, and its per capita income ranks second in the
region. Economic growth has been relatively healthy due to good macroeconomic management,
and progress in trade liberalization, privatization, and financial sector reform.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You realize that Sri Lanka’s enormous potential will first require an end to the war. Your research
on the situation in Sri Lanka shows that peace would set the stage for a sustained economic
boom if accompanied by sound developmental policies and programs. As the World Bank
representative, you advocate for the following policies: 1) strengthening macroeconomic
management within Sri Lanka and with other regional organizations; 2) promoting private activity
through improvements in the incentive and legal frameworks, and by policy reforms in agriculture,
the financial sector, and infrastructure; and 3) raising the efficiency and implementing the capacity
of the public sector.
Your goal is to help design a self-sustainable economy. You are not so much interested in the
“winners” and “losers” in the conflict, but that the war is resolved and the money invested in Sri
Lanka should be utilized effectively. The peace negotiations should be used as a pretext for
economic reforms in the country.
While you do not openly support one side or another, you seek to use the situation of the peace
talks to urge the Sri Lankan government to implement various structural and governmental
reforms which would aid the economic development of the nation. Should the government
introduce constitutional reforms, the World Bank would look favorably upon them, provided that
the mechanisms increase the efficiency of the government. Furthermore, there is a growing
realization that the government is under-utilizing the funds provided by the international
community as evidenced by the fact that while once on par with Korea, Malaysia and Singapore
in terms of per capita income in the 1960’s, the Sri Lankan economy has continued to stagnate.
You are in a unique position in that you can offer economic incentives to both the LTTE and the
government in exchange for good faith efforts toward peace. You can also work with the NGO’s
to finance and implement programs that foster economic development. During the discussions
you would like to see items that contribute toward maintaining macroeconomic stability and
strengthening public institutions in Sri Lanka. You may recommend to others that an increased
privatization among national industries especially telecommunications would be especially
beneficial in Sri Lanka. The current poverty reformation has left the poor and disadvantages very
vulnerable to political changes, which has failed to provide an adequate standard of living for the
poor. You may want to collaborate with Human Rights Watch, the ICRC, and the members of the
business council to ensure your interests are represented on the agenda.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is the largest human rights organization based in the United States. Human
Rights Watch researchers conduct fact-finding investigations into human rights abuses in all
regions of the world and then publish those findings in dozens of books and reports, generating
local and international attention to the issues. This publicity provides an awareness of abusive
practices for oppressed peoples as well as citizens around the world. Human Rights Watch will
meet with government officials to urge changes in policies and practices — at the United Nations,
the European Union, in Washington and in capitals around the world. In extreme circumstances,
Human Rights Watch presses for the withdrawal of military and economic support from
governments that egregiously violate human rights. In moments of crisis, Human Rights Watch
provides up-to-the-minute information about conflicts while they are underway. Refugee
accounts, which were collected, synthesized and cross-corroborated by researchers, helped to
shape the responses of the international community to recent wars in Kosovo and Chechnya.
During the course of the Sri Lankan conflict, human rights defenders campaigned against political
violence. Trade unions and media free groups joined them in opposing censorship and other
emergency measures. At the end of January, two hundred participants from around the world
commemorated the life and work of Neelan Tiruchelvan, a renowned Tamil human rights activist
who was killed in a LTTE suicide bombing in 1999. The gathering launched the Neelan
Tiruchelvan Memorial Fund, dedicated to the promotion of human rights, minority rights, and the
resolution of ethnic conflict.
Renewed fighting between Sri Lankan government forces and the separatist Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has overshadowed other developments and generated serious abuses.
Although the government has continued to press for constitutional changes aimed at a political
resolution to the conflict, it has failed to secure the necessary parliamentary support.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You are deeply concerned for the safety of Sri Lankan citizens as military operations proceed and
possibly escalate. During past offensives, combatants on both sides of the war have committed
gross human rights abuses against civilians and engaged in indiscriminate attacks on residential
areas. Since 1983, security personnel have been allowed to arrest and detain suspects, restrict
basic freedoms, and have censored the media. The government has taken some steps to
address past human rights violations by the security forces, including exhuming the remains of 15
people who were reported to have “disappeared” in mid-1996. Members of the LTTE were
responsible for deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians, torture, hostage-taking and abductions.
The government announced an end to the practice of automatic commutation of death sentences
in force since 1976.
The armed conflict has been described as a “no mercy war”, given the number of combatants on
both sides who appeared to have been deliberately killed on the battlefield instead of being
arrested. This practice appeared to continue throughout 1999. There was concern about
violations of humanitarian principles by both sides. The killing of 23 civilian in a bombing raid by
the Air Force in the Puthukkudiyiruppu area of Mullaittivu district in September indicated a lack of
precautions to avoid harming civilians. The government claimed it had hit an LTTE camp,
whereas independent sources confirmed that all those killed were civilians.
You are very concerned with the current struggle for control of key territory in the northern part of
the island. These battles have claimed scores of civilian lives and displaced some 250,000
people, bringing the estimated number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) nationwide to more
than one million. The LTTE in particular has been implicated in a series of suicide bombings that
have killed and injured hundreds of civilians. Another priority for you is the LTTE practice of
recruiting and deploying child soldiers and the physical attacks to intimidate critics of the LTTE.

You would like to see both the Sri Lankan government and its opposition, especially the LTTE,
agree to respect international standards on the conduct of warfare. You are particularly interested
in the rules designed to protect the people who are victims of the conflict and not actively involved
in its continuation. You believe that the international standards of human rights apply to all people
equally, and that sharp vigilance and timely protest can prevent the tragedies of the twentieth
century from recurring. You are intent on making sure that the warring factions devise a peaceful
solution to the conflict that includes a requirement of both parties to follow the international
standards of human rights. This specifically includes a moratorium on the use of child soldiers,
an agreement to attack military rather than civilian targets, and the allowance of observers to
investigate and document any alleged human rights abuses.
Much to your chagrin, Human Rights Watch has been portrayed has an organization lacking in
leadership and resources. You hope to dispel these perceptions while promoting the grave
human rights abuses taking place in Sri Lanka. Not only are you seeking to shed light on the
terrible atrocities taking place, you are representing all other local and state human rights
organizations in Sri Lanka.
During the discussions you would like to see a commitment to abolishing human rights violations
through a negotiated end to the use of child soldiers by both sides, an agreement to suspend
violence against civilian targets, international investigations of human rights abuses, disarmament
of military forces, and a guarantee by Sri Lanka/LTTE of equal rights for all citizens. You may
wish to create an alliance with like-minded organizations such as the ICRC or ask the Quaker
representative to help promote your interests. You should be wary of motives from governments
or business representatives that put economic interests above human rights.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established by the United Nations
General Assembly in 1950 — one of several attempts by the international community during the
20th century to provide protection and assistance to refugees. Today, UNHCR is one of the
world’s principal humanitarian agencies. During its half century of work, the agency provided
assistance to at least 50 million people, earning two Nobel Peace Prizes in 1954 and 1981.
Refugees are legally defined as people who are outside their countries because of a well-founded
fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a
particular social group, and who cannot or do not want to return home. As a humanitarian, nonpolitical
organization, UNHCR has two basic and closely related aims — to protect refugees and
to seek ways to help them restart their lives in a normal environment.
The intensification of conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and the separatist LTTE
since late 1999 has led to the renewed displacement of over 200,000 people in the northern
Jaffna Peninsula and in the Vanni region. By September 2000, some 13,000 displaced persons
remained in the UNHCR-supported Madhu Open Relief Centre. At the same time, in the districts
of Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Mannar, conditions in government-controlled areas have permitted
the return and relocation of some 3,000 people. In the districts of Killinochchi and Mullaitivu,
some 15,000 people have also been able to return to their homes following a geographical shift in
the area of conflict. The flight of refugees to India has continued; recently some 1,605 people
have arrived in the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu. G F I G U R E S
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
To ensure safety and facilitate freedom of movement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), you
wish to maintain a regular dialogue with the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE, and intervene
as necessary. You want to maintain your presence in both government-controlled and LTTEdominated
areas. You try to keep informed on the refugee situation by monitoring conditions at
the government housing centers for displaced people. UNHCR intercedes with the authorities on
issues such as freedom of movement and the issuance of travel passes. You will continue to
support the Sri Lankan authorities and other agencies, helping them to build up the resources and
expertise necessary to protect the displaced in emergency situations. This involves raising
awareness of UNHCR’s mandate among the military, the civilian population, government officials
and the LTTE. You also promote the UN’s ‘Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement’ as a
normative framework for defense of the rights of the IDPs, including the right to return to their
homes. You provide legal assistance to IDPs regarding documentation, land and other matters
pertaining to their basic rights and the attainment of durable solutions.
Your continuous presence in both the government-controlled and LTTE-dominated areas, as well
as ongoing dialogue with both sides, will improve access to national protection and humanitarian
assistance for IDPs and alleviate the consequences of displacement. Improved coordination will
ensure coherence of humanitarian action by various agencies and duplication will be avoided.
UNHCR’s support for reintegration will not only increase economic opportunities for those who
have returned or resettled, but also contribute to social cohesion. UNHCR will ensure that
impediments to respect for basic rights, or to the attainment of durable solutions, will be
During discussions you would like to see items related to improved access to national protection
and humanitarian assistance for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the north and northeast of
Sri Lanka. The parties should make efforts to minimize internal displacement and facilitate the
return and reintegration of displaced populations. You may wish to establish an alliance with
Human Rights Watch or the ICRC to aid in your goal of extending the capacity of the
Government, NGOs, people who have been detained without cause, and displaced communities
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
to bring about lasting solutions. The Indian Government, Quaker representative, and others, may
be interested in helping you place these items on the agenda.
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent
organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims
of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance. It directs and coordinates the
international relief activities conducted by the Movement in situations of conflict. It also endeavors
to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian
During armed conflicts the ICRC, based on the Geneva Conventions, provides the following
services: bringing relief to wounded and sick; visiting prisoners of war; taking action in behalf of
the civilian populations; ensuring that civilians within the territory of parties to the conflict or in
occupied territories are treated according to the law; aiding displaced persons and refugees;
undertaking relief operations; and, visiting persons detained in connection with the armed conflict.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
In the other violent situations less intense than armed conflicts – internal disturbances for instance
– the ICRC bases its action on the Statutes of the Movement, which grant it a right of initiative in
humanitarian matters. It may in fact offer its services in any situation which requires the presence
of a specifically neutral and independent intermediary.
Taken together, all these rights constitute the permanent mandate assigned to you by the
international community. They endorse the initiatives you have taken to bring aid to the victims of
war and disturbances. To date all of your efforts made to obtain access to the north (Jaffna
peninsula), where fighting continues, have failed since no agreement could be reached with the
parties to the conflict. You have therefore been unable to provide an undetermined number of
civilians who are stranded in the area with protection and assistance.
Grave human rights abuses were reported in the context of the protracted armed conflict between
the security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the main armed opposition
group fighting for an independent state, Eelam, in the north and east of the country. Hundreds of
thousands of civilians were displaced as a result of the conflict creating a refugee problem in
India. You are very concerned with the current struggle for control of key territory in the northern
part of the island. These battles have claimed scores of civilian lives and displaced some 250,000
people, bringing the estimated number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) nationwide to more
than one million.
You are deeply concerned about the conditions on the Jaffna peninsula. Both the government
and the LTTE have manipulated the freedom of movement and access to food and medicine of
the IDPs. The government has taken some steps to address past human rights violations by the
security forces. You may need to once again remind both the Sri Lankan security forces and the
LTTE of their obligation to comply with international humanitarian law, which provides for the
protection of the civilian population against the effects of hostilities.
You want to consult with UNHCR, HRW, and/or the Quaker representative to ensure that your
interests are represented on the agenda for peace. The items you are most interested in include
ensuring the distribution of medicine; an agreement to prisoner of war standards, including
abolition of torture; a Moratorium on the use of child soldiers; and, an agreement on end to
violence, disarmament of military regimes.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
US Special Envoy to South Asia
The United States enjoys cordial relations with Sri Lanka that are based, in large part, on shared
democratic traditions. U.S. policy toward Sri Lanka is characterized by respect for its
independence, sovereignty, and moderate, non-aligned foreign policy; support for the country’s
unity, territorial integrity, and democratic institutions; and encouragement of its social and
economic development.
After 1977, the US interest in Sri Lanka increased due to the opening up of the Sri Lankan
economy and a cooling of the relations between the Sri Lankan and Indian governments. Since
the end of the cold war, and the gathering rapprochement between the US and India, the
potential for US investment in Sri Lanka and the warmth of relations between the US and Sri
Lankan governments has further increased. US special forces have trained the Sri Lankan army,
even in combat situations. The US has played an increasingly high profile role in denouncing the
‘terrorist’ activities of the LTTE.
U.S. assistance has totaled more than $1.3 billion since Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948.
Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), it has contributed to Sri Lanka’s
economic growth with projects designed to reduce unemployment, improve housing, and develop
the Colombo stock exchange. In addition, U.S. Peace Corps volunteers are active in much of Sri
Lanka; the Voice of America operates a radio transmitter; and U.S. Naval vessels are in regular
contact with Colombo. In recent years, the U.S. delivered millions of dollars in aid, including free
wheat, low interest 40-year loans for additional wheat, and a variety of other direct assistance
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You have the ability to be an important broker in the peace process but you are a supporter of the
Norway-led mediation effort and have strict instructions not to get directly involved. Because you
want to ensure that the region remains stable, you are interested in seeing that both parties take
steps toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict. You primarily support a lasting peaceful solution
to the conflict in Sri Lanka, and maintain the Western bloc advocacy of a single Sri Lankan state
with devolution as is dictated by Tamil referendum and the principles of the Constitutional Reform
During discussions, you may be best served to act as a facilitator of communication or as a
mediator for the other representatives and NGO’s. You are willing to meet with anyone, but you
do not support all of the representatives in the room. You must pick and choose as to who you
wish to form alliance with or befriend. Remember, you have the ability, through economic aid
programs and international backing, to persuade others or to apply pressure on the parties.
At present, India, China, the United States, and Israel are supplying the government with arms
and equipment to continue its assault against rebel-held territory. In addition, loans from the
International Monetary Fund have been channeled into the economy of Sri Lanka in an attempt to
stem exploding inflation rates as a result of continually overrun national budgets. In the case of
arms supply and monetary supply.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
The Quaker delegation in Sri Lanka is a team of peacemakers and development practitioners
from different backgrounds. They work with people, communities, governments and other
organizations to build a better society which fosters the creative and non-violent resolution of
conflict, participatory development and the respect of self and others. This is done through
mediation, awareness-raising, capacity-building and the development of sustainable peace
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
Having been involved in this conflict, you understand the complexities and specificities of the
conflict. You understand the LTTE’s desire for a separate state as well as the government’s
position against it. You are also aware of the difficulty in discussing issues related to the
transformation of the political system of Sri Lanka without first building goodwill between the
parties. In your opinion the parties first need to be given an opportunity to express their
grievances and goals. You believe that being receptive in this manner will help you gain the trust
of both parties. You want to keep a low profile in doing this in order to avoid raising unwelcome
attention to your efforts. You could act either as a liaison between the parties or in an
independent capacity with NGO’s. You do not believe that trying to get the parties to meet each
other on a face-to-face basis is always a valid strategy.
You believe that a gradual approach is best given the high level of mistrust between the
conflicting parties. You want to discourage people who are trying to coerce the two parties into
entering into an agreement in a hurry. You believe that it is impossible to find a lasting solution in
this manner. You should consult with India given its role in the conflict and its status as a regional
Your neutral views toward the parties extend to the issue of human rights. You are very
concerned with the human rights abuses but also do not place the blame on any one party.
However, you are aware that respect for human rights should play an important role in the
negotiations. You may want to suggest that the government and the LTTE be more transparent
with respect to human rights issues.
You have noticed that the EU is not overly concerned with human rights issues. Plus, the EU’s
(which includes Sri Lanka’s former colonizer, the UK) approach does not seem to take into
account the aspirations of the parties to the conflict. You believe that a peace imposed by
outsiders has very little chance of being successful. However, given the leverage that the EU
poses over both the government and the LTTE, it could succeed in doing just this.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
Sri Lankan Business Council
The Sri Lankan Business Council strives to promote local community business interests and
socio-economic development in Sri Lanka. The Council acts as a catalyst for business and
industrial development in the country; reinforces the business community’s commitment to the
society; provides advisory services to the government and lobby as and when required in
formulation and execution of business and industry-related policies; acts and fosters cooperation
with related national and foreign organizations; provides up-to-date information services to
business and government and the community at large; and, creates awareness and support for
business and industry efforts on quality, environment, industrial relation, management, marketing.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You are present and available to share information on the evolving economic situation in Sri
Lanka. The US economy is showing some signs of slowing down. If the impact is felt in South
Asia, as it usually is, Sri Lanka will have a difficult time handling economic impacts from abroad,
as well as the heavy government expenditures associated with conflict. Increased defense
spending, declining foreign reserves, unemployment, recessions and inflation are only a few of
the areas impacted by war. You feel that there needs to be decisive action to bring about the rule
of law and order. Delivering justice through constitutional means should bring a much needed
stability to Sri Lanka. You are vehemently opposed to any form of violence be it government or
Your proposal is to encourage others to look toward the local business community. You want
support for local initiatives, to help communities get their projects underway as quickly as
possible. Local business men and women are conscious of what they are doing in Sri Lanka
unlike the foreign investors who have to see a lot of convincing evidence of profit to make an
investment decision. The country reports prepared by international investment banks and
international commercial banks show a picture of gloom. But local investors know better as they
have now lived through this trying situation.
You should promote the great potential information technology has in Sri Lanka. It would require
thousands of new graduates and trained personnel to undertake massive demand for people
power in IT projects. This is one area the country can target very safely and assist local
entrepreneurs. You feel that if the government were to be constructive at this moment of difficult
times, some attention to these matters should be given.
A second area of economic growth is in agriculture. You can also ask for assistance in fishing and
farming. These two areas are where most people are employed. It is in the government’s best
interests to fund popular policies and provide some economic stability. You may need to turn to
outsiders if the government will not respond. Be careful to not accept programs that would
decrease you own trade and production.
Overall, you are very concerned about the impact the war is having in the economy. It is crucial to
you that the government and LTTE continue on a track toward peace, including economic
reforms. You are more supportive of the government due to the direct impact its policies will have
on the economy and business in general. You are sympathetic to the LTTE and especially the
Tamil populations in Sri Lanka because of the great potential of economic growth that exists.
During the discussions you may want to consider working with the World Bank to create and
implement programs promoting agriculture, such as fishing, reconstruction, and technology. You
should also approach representatives from India, the EU, and US to explore economic incentives
that they may be willing to offer in exchange for a continuation of the peace talks.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
South Asian Overseas Development Council
The South Asian Overseas Development Council (SAODC) was established to support and
encourage the South Asian small business economy. It consists of many people interested in
business development and Sri Lanka has been of particular interest. The SAODC works closely
with the small to medium sized businesses in southern India and Sri Lanka specializing in non
traditional products including herbs, oils, and pharmaceuticals. Until SAODC’s interest, these
products had been largely neglected in the region or were a privilege of the of larger trade sectors
represented by trade chambers that support the industries. Small-time importers and exporters of
such products went unrecognized by the Government and the Banking fraternity. To reverse this
trend, a small group of dedicated import-exporters founded the ASODC.
Initially, the Council took upon itself the mantle of being the regional representative largely of the
interests of small and medium import-export oriented industrialists and of those aspiring to come
into this field. It filled a much needed vacuum representing all import-export sectors without
promoting secular interests and to laid the foundation for Sri Lanka’s export led development.
Since then, the SAODC was able to break through many obstacles that stood in the way of
achieving their business objectives. The Council lobbied very successfully on behalf of its
members and gained influence in making policy decisions at micro level in the larger interests of
the country.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
While you do not openly support one side or another in the Sri Lankan conflict, you have more
support from your colleagues who are sympathetic to the LTTE quest for autonomy. Tamil
populations have been very supportive of your business interests and, through their products, you
have been very successful. Though the number of Sinhalese living outside of Sri Lanka are much
smaller, you also represent their a long established, but small, business groups. Ironically, you
have been a supplier of similar resources from both groups in the region. It seems that the
request for weapons from both sides of the conflict has been in great demand. The LTTE
sympathizers feel that their demands can only be achieved by taking forceful measures.
Supporters of the Sri Lankan government feel that they can only control the terrorism through
military force.
You can see both sides of the argument. Even though you do not particularly want to make the
arms available, your organization does profit from the sale and your clients keep providing you
with a generous supply. As you see it, this is a simple supply and demand issue. If you don’t sell
the weapons another larger ‘investor’ or country will. Clausewitz quoted in Philosophers of Peace
and War puts it best, “The would be conqueror is always a lover of peace, for he would like to
enter and occupy our country unopposed. It is in order to prevent him from doing this that we
must be willing to engage in war and be prepared for it.”
In addition to the LTTE and government, you may want to appeal to some of the hard-line groups
that are desperate for their goals and ideals to be recognized. The DMZ or NSC may be worth
approaching. It is crucial that your cover is not exposed. Many people in the room will expose
you, if you are not careful. This means the manner in which you approach people is important.
You are a reputable business person representing a particular interest group. You see the
process of peace one that can be fought for and won. Often peace has to be enforced and you
are just providing the means necessary to do so.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace

Related Web Links
USIP Sri Lanka Web Links http://www.usip.org/library/regions/sri_lanka.html
Amnesty International: Reports on Sri Lanka http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/countries/sri+lanka?
Human Rights Watch: Human Rights
Developments in Sri Lanka, 2001.
Official Website of the Sri Lankan
Government’s Secretariat for Coordinating
the Peace Process (SCOPP)


ICRC Report on Sri Lanka, 2001. http://www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/9




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Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

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