Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace – 1

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

This simulation is a September 2001 meeting convened by the Norwegians at which the
Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) will explore avenues for
resolving 17 years of conflict. Also invited are officials from various political parties, concerned
states, NGOs, and IGOs considered to be major stakeholders in the conflict. What gives this
meeting particular urgency is a donor threat to cut off aid unless the Sri Lankan Government
shows a willingness to explore political solutions. Donors have also indicated they may cooperate
on legislation banning the fundraising and organizational activities of the LTTE in their respective
countries.
This unprecedented consensus of the international community to end the violence using
economic pressure has changed the status quo of the conflict, and offers a rare and promising
window of opportunity. Even so, despite this pressure, the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government
remain adamant in their refusal to negotiate directly. In role-playing the various interests at the
meeting, participants will attempt to persuade the parties to the conflict to meet face-to-face to
and create an acceptable agenda that can serve as the basis for peace talks.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE www.usip.org 2
Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
Table of Contents
Introduction ………………………………………………………………………….. 4
Materials……………………………………………………………………………….. 5
Scenario ……………………………………………………………………………….. 6
Background ………………………………………………………………………….. 7
Introductory Note……………………………………………………………………………………………..7
Sri Lanka: A Brief Overview ……………………………………………………………………………..8
People……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 8
Government ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 8
Economy ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8
Geography ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8
History – From Colonization to the Current Situation…………………………………………….9
The Colonial Period …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9
Independence …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9
Sinhalese Ethnic Resurgence………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
The Bandarnaike-Chelvanayakam Pact ……………………………………………………………………. 10
Outbreak of Violence ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 10
The 1972 Constitution…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
A Reorganized UNP……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
The Escalation of Violence ……………………………………………………………………………………… 12
Involvement of Indian Mediation ………………………………………………………………………………. 13
All-Out Offensive……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13
Terms for Ceasefire ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 13
The Resumption of the Tug-of-War ………………………………………………………………………….. 14
Current Situation ……………………………………………………………………………………………14
Constitutional Reforms Bill and Dissent…………………………………………………………………….. 14
Norway as Intermediary………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
British Ban of LTTE………………………………………………………………………………………………… 16
Political Parties And Coalitions ………………………………………………………………………..16
Non-Governmental, Inter-Governmental, & International Organizations (NGOs,
INGOs, & IOs) ……………………………………………………………………………………………….17
Annotated Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………………..17
Roles…………………………………………………………………………………… 21
People’s Alliance – Representative 1 ………………………………………………………………..22
People’s Alliance – Representative 2 ………………………………………………………………..23
People’s Alliance – Representative 3 ………………………………………………………………..24
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – Representative 1 ……………………………….25
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – Representative 2 ……………………………….26
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – Representative 3 ……………………………….27
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
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Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) ………………………………………………………..28
National Unity Alliance (NUA) ………………………………………………………………………….29
India – Minister of External Affairs …………………………………………………………………….30
JVP………………………………………………………………………………………………………………32
European Union …………………………………………………………………………………………….33
UNP……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..34
Sarvodaya …………………………………………………………………………………………………….35
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) ………………………………………………………………..37
National Sangha Council…………………………………………………………………………………38
World Bank……………………………………………………………………………………………………40
Human Rights Watch ……………………………………………………………………………………..41
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ………………………………..43
International Committee of the Red Cross …………………………………………………………44
US Special Envoy to South Asia………………………………………………………………………45
Quakers………………………………………………………………………………………………………..46
Sri Lankan Business Council …………………………………………………………………………..47
South Asian Overseas Development Council …………………………………………………….48
Related Web Links……………………………………………………………….. 49

Introduction
Simulations are educational exercises which place students in situations of people different than
themselves as a way to illuminate the kinds of issues, challenges and conflicts that such people
face. When you have to think, debate or make decisions as a Sri Lanka who is trying to end
conflict in his or her country, for example, you often develop insights that are much more than a
simple history lesson. Simulations may attempt to recreate a historical event or a hypothetical
event. For the purposes of this exercise, you will be simulating stakeholders in the conflict in Sri
Lanka as a way of deepening your understanding of how economic pressures may be applied to
encourage the parties to conflict to negotiate,

Materials
Each participant should receive the following materials:
ƒ The Scenario and Background Documents (pages 6 – 21.)
ƒ A simulation role
Teachers may wish to provide the following items for this simulation:
ƒ A classroom or conference room and sufficient breakout rooms or additional space for any
needed teamwork
ƒ An overhead projector or multimedia data projector and an overhead screen.
ƒ Flip charts (one per team) and flip chart paper (or white boards) and markers
ƒ 1 pad and pen per student
ƒ Several computers with printers
ƒ Internet access for additional research or access to a library.

Scenario
It is September 2001, and Norway has convened a meeting in Geneva to explore possibilities for
the resolution of the Sri Lankan conflict and the subsequent reconstruction of Sri Lankan society.
Both, the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) have agreed in
principle to attend the meeting, in order to explore avenues for resolving the conflict. In addition to
these two groups, Norway has also invited political parties, states, NGOs, and IGOs that it
considers to be major stakeholders in the conflict to attend the meeting. This request comes on
the heels of a recently held meeting in Paris between the UN and all major aid donors to Sri
Lanka during which the donors especially the G-7 urged the parties to the conflict to begin a
process of dialogue.
This call is the latest in a string of abortive peace initiatives stretching back to the Thimpu Peace
Talks in 1984, that have attempted to halt the island nation’s seventeen year-old protracted civil
conflict. However, this opportunity may be unique in one crucial respect; it is in the interests of
both parties to explore the possibilities of negotiations. The donors, have on the one hand
threatened to cut off aid unless the Sri Lankan government’s top leadership showed a willingness
to explore a political solution to the country’s conflict. On the other hand, they have indicated that
they will begin cooperating with each other to enact legislation banning the activities of the LTTE
in their respective countries, which are vital to the fundraising and organizational capabilities of
the LTTE. This unprecedented emergence of consensus among the international community to
end the violence using economic sanctions as leverage has drastically changed the status quo in
the conflict, and offers a rare and promising window of opportunity.
While the threats of the donors and the facilitation skills of the Norwegians have succeeded in
bringing the two parties to Geneva, both the LTTE and the government are adamant in their
refusal to engage each other in direct negotiations. The purpose of the meeting is to persuade the
Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to meet with each other on a face-to-face basis to draw up
a mutually agreeable framework of agreement that would provide the basis for peace talks. The
objective is to create an agenda acceptable to both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE,
which will serve as the basis for peace talks between them.
Norway has invited other major stakeholders in the conflict, as it recognizes that the active
participation and input of these actors is vital to the successful resolution of the conflict.
Additionally, it is hoped that some of these parties will persuade the Sri Lankan government and
the LTTE to meet face-to-face with each other.
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Background
Introductory Note
This paper serves as a resource to prepare you for the agenda-setting discussions. The
information includes a brief overview of Sri Lanka, a description of political developments, and a
short summary of the roles of non-governmental organizations in Sri Lanka. Internet links for
electronic resources that will serve to advance your knowledge of the simulation theme have
been prepared for you can be found at the end of the paper and at
http://www.usip.org/library/regions/sri_lanka.html. You are indeed faced with an incredible
challenge, and one whose solution will require creativity, patience, and preparedness.
Sri Lankan scholars and citizens disagree on the origins of ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Some
believe the conflict in Sri Lanka is ancient, traceable to the legends and scripts describing the first
settlement of the island. Other scholars and Sri Lankans believe that the conflict is a more
modern invention that is the result of complex factors arising from colonization by European
nations.
Although it is unclear which group arrived first, both Tamil and Sinhalese groups hold ancient
claims to the island. The first Tamil account arises from the Hindu epic, The Ramayana.
According to the legend, the Indian Prince Rama, an ancestor of Vishnu, conquered numerous
demons on the island and most Tamils claim Prince Rama as part of their heritage. In contrast, in
an epic chronicle of Sinhalese kings, The Mahavamsa, the Indian Prince Vijaya captured the
island of Sri Lanka from a vicious native tribe and thereby founded the first civil society on Sri
Lanka. Sinhalese view Prince Vijaya as the founder of the Sinhalese race. According to this
account, Prince Vijaya’s descendants reigned over much, if not all, of Sri Lanka beginning around 500 BC.

Sri Lanka: A Brief Overview
People
Sri Lanka can be broken down into three primary ethnic groups: Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims.
Sinhalese comprise 74% of Sri Lanka’s 18.3 million population, and are predominantly Buddhist.
Tamils make up 18% of the population and are predominantly Hindu. Finally, Muslims comprise
7% of the population of Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese population is concentrated in the urban areas
of the south and west of the island. By contrast, Tamils are a majority in northern and parts of
eastern Sri Lanka, and have a substantial presence in the capital city of Colombo. In addition,
there are large concentrations of Tamils of Indian origin in the central part of the island. Finally,
Muslims are concentrated in urban areas including Colombo, but most importantly for the purpose
of this simulation, they form a substantial part of the population in the eastern part of the country.
Government
The president of Sri Lanka, directly elected for a six-year term, is chief of state, head of
government, and commander in chief of the armed forces. He of she is responsible to parliament
for the exercise of duties under the constitution and laws, the president may be removed from
office by a two-thirds vote of parliament with the concurrence of the Supreme Court. The
president is charged with appointing and heads a cabinet of ministers also responsible to
parliament. The president’s deputy is the prime minister, who leads the ruling party in parliament.
The parliament of Sri Lanka is a unicameral 225-member legislature elected by universal suffrage
(over the age of 18) and proportional representation to a 6-year term. The president may
summon, suspend, or end a legislative session and dissolve parliament. Parliament reserves the
power to make all laws.
Economy
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Sri Lanka is US$11 billion, with a per capita GDP of
US$600. The service sector is the largest component of GDP (50%) in Sri Lanka, partly reflecting
an extensive government apparatus and welfare state, but also including a rapidly growing
tourism sector. The industrial sector, dominated by textile manufacturing, accounts for 20% of
GDP. Agriculture contributes 20% of GDP and employs half of the population of Sri Lanka. Chief
exports are textiles, tea, rubber, and coconut. The chief exporting partners are (in order) the
United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
Sri Lanka is also highly dependent on foreign assistance and receives an estimated US$500
million annually, and was critical in the successful development of the Mahaweli River Basin
Project, the privatization of state-run industries, the development of the stock exchange in 1990,
and the building of infrastructure.
Geography
Sri Lanka is approximately the size of West Virginia. Major cities include Colombo (capital),
Kandy, Jaffna, and Galle. The closest country to Sri Lanka is India, 34 miles from the Jaffna
Peninsula. A political map of Sri Lanka can be viewed at:
http://www.infoplease.com/atlas/country/srilanka.html.
Maps of Sri Lanka’s ethnicities and religions, population density, and land use can be viewed at
http://www.reisenett.no/map_collection/islands_oceans_poles/Sri_Lanka_charts_76.jpg.
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History – From Colonization to the Current Situation
The Colonial Period
In 1505, a Sinhalese ruler asked for Portuguese protection of his territory in exchange for a yearly
tribute of cinnamon. Gradually, the Portuguese established many ports along the western coast
of Sri Lanka, including the current capital, Colombo. The Dutch obtained the Portuguese portions
of Sri Lanka in 1656. The Dutch did very little to change the political structure of Sri Lanka. The
Dutch were concerned primarily with trade and relinquished local control of Sri Lanka, except for
the port cities, to local regional lords. Under the pressure of British colonizers, the Dutch left Sri
Lanka in 1796.
After the Dutch departure, the British, under the auspices of the British East India Company,
assumed control of Sri Lanka. After renaming the country Ceylon, the British imported poor South
Indian Tamils to use as cheap labor on the plantations of the island. This massive importation of
Indian Tamils heightened the local conflicts in Sri Lanka. The British also placed heavy emphasis
on converting the Sinhalese and Tamils to Western religion and thought. Traditional religious
education was displaced by British-run institutions. These moves fostered resentment especially
within the Sinhalese Buddhist majority. Sri Lanka was formerly known as Ceylon.
Most importantly, the British were the first to create a unified administrative structure for the whole
of the island. This marked the establishment of a modern state for the whole of the island. A host
of economic, social, and political changes accompanied this unification of the island. Most notably
a census was established, and people were categorized according to diverse criteria.
Representation was based on the classifications of the census. Second, the economic
developments pushed forth by British colonialism during this period were focused primarily in the
central and western areas of Ceylon, thus leaving the Tamil population at a considerable
disadvantage from their Sinhalese counterparts. In order to counteract these difficulties, the
Tamil community sought upward mobility through American and British Missionary schools, and
participated actively in the government service sector.
British rule and the accompanying changes led to Buddhist revivalist movements among the
Sinhalese in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The Buddhist revival supplied the basis for
a new Sinhala identity reconstructed in opposition to the identity fostered by the missionaries and
the colonial administration. This link between nationalism and Buddhism among the Sinhalese
intensified ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. In response to Buddhist
nationalism, a Tamil nationalism, originating in northern Sri Lanka in the early twentieth century,
created an intensified sense of division between the two groups.
Independence
When independence was declared in Sri Lanka on February 4th, 1948, the former colony
appeared to be headed towards political stability. The fears of analysts over the glaring ethnic
differences between the Tamils and Sinhalese seemed to be unfounded. Political elites, under
the leadership of D.S. Senanayake, worked out a compromise government. The two major ethnic
groups, separated by religion, culture, language, and history, were united in the search for one
nation. The new leading party, the United National Party (UNP), inherited from the former British
rulers, was ethnically mixed. The educated elites, although divided by language, caste, religion,
and ethnicity, shared a basic set of political values –a commitment to a parliamentary democracy.
Initially, the English speaking elite appeared ambivalent towards language and ethnic
background; membership in the leading elite was defined by upper level education. In 1948,
Tamils and Sinhalese held a nearly equal number of positions in government, even though the
Sinhalese made up about 70% of the population, and the Tamils comprised approximately 18%.
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Ethnic tensions were beginning to increase, however. Some Sinhalese believed that Tamils
occupied too many positions in government and education. As a result, the Sinhalese focused
their resentment on the Indian Tamils who had been brought into Sri Lanka by the British
colonialists. In 1948, the UNP led parliament passed a law defining Sri Lankan citizenship, this
definition excluded the Indian Tamils, which constituted 6% of the total population, and over 30%
of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka, from voting in elections. This was the first in a progression
of laws aimed at balancing the interests of the Sinhalese majority. This law led to an increased
feeling of alienation among Tamils which would grow into a strong feeling of vulnerability
Sinhalese Ethnic Resurgence
Ethnic divisions became increasingly prominent during the industrialization of Sri Lanka in the
early 1950s. The reaction of each group was to firmly reassert its unique cultural identity. Using
Buddhism as a unifying cultural force, some Sinhalese expressed a strong desire to discriminate
against the Tamils in education and employment. Tamils still held a disproportionate number of
positions in education and in government service; this caused resentment among many
Sinhalese. In response to this growing resentment, radical Buddhist monks called for a
restoration of past glories by compensating Buddhists for years of neglect. In 1956, the Sinhalese
masses embraced the appeals of the Buddhist monks and elected the radical S.W.R.D.
Bandaranaike and his Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) to power.
The issue of language was extraordinarily important to the survival of each ethnic group and
language emerged as a central issue in the political debate. In the north and east where Tamil
was widely spoken, a government conducting business in the Sinhalese language would fail to
represent and provide employment opportunity to the Tamils. Nevertheless, in 1956, Prime
Minister Bandaranaike made Sinhalese the sole official language through the passage of the
“Sinhalese Only” Act. Although Tamils had been led into the post-colonial era under assurances
of equal status, they now were excluded, on the basis of language, from participation in the upper
levels of government as well as education.
The Bandarnaike-Chelvanayakam Pact
In 1957 the Tamil Federal Party was able to gain concessions from the SLFP under the
Bandaranaike-Chelavanayakem Pact. This pact recognized Tamil as the language of “a national
minority” and as an official government language for the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
Extremists within the government voiced dissatisfaction with the concessions. In 1958, a rumor
that a Tamil had killed a Sinhalese set off nationwide communal Sinhalese-Tamil riots, in which
hundreds of Tamil died. The incident and ensuing ethnic crisis forced Bandaranaike to annul the
agreement, leaving the Tamil in a position of a second-class people throughout the island. After
a Buddhist extremist assassinated Bandaranaike in 1959, the nation underwent a period of
economic and political instability, and the UNP under the leadership of Dudley Senanyake gained
a plurality, but not majority, of Parliament seats.
Outbreak of Violence
Severe riots broke out in the Tamil north in protest of the “Sinhalese Only” Act. In response, antiTamil
riots shook the Sinhalese south. The government mobilized troops in response to the antiTamil
riots several days after the rioting began. This delayed reaction signified the Sinhalese
dominated government’s ambivalence to the protection of the Tamil minority in Southern Sri
Lanka. Although the riots were the worst in Sri Lankan history to date, they foreshadowed the
more extensive violence to come. Prime Minister Bandaranaike was assassinated in 1959 by
extreme elements of the Buddhist clergy. The leadership of the SLFP was taken over by
Bandaranaike’s widow. Mrs. Bandaranaike, the first female Prime Minister in the world, was well
aware of the radical Sinhalese elements responsible for the assassination. Mrs. Bandaranaike
strictly enforced the “Sinhalese Only” policy and moved towards an authoritarian hold over her
party and country. As the state acquiesced to the radical goals of Sinhalese nationalism, the
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace.

movement increased in intensity. Schools were effectively nationalized with strict admissions
quotas that were perceived as discriminatory by the Tamils. In the eyes of the Tamils, every new
restriction on Tamil freedom enhanced the role of the Sinhalese and created a bolder Sinhalese
majority.
In 1961, upon the expiration of the grace period in which Tamils were expected to learn
Sinhalese, riots erupted again in the northern and eastern provinces. The Tamils blocked trains
and the postal service, and prevented government employees from going to work. The
government responded by calling for a state of emergency, the use of troops, and the imposition
of heavy penalties including the death penalty in some cases. While the disturbance was quickly
quelled, the event contributed to increasing consciousness of the Tamils as an ethnic group and
set a precedent of military involvement in ethnic disputes.
The concentration of government schools in urban areas created a division between the city and
the countryside, even among the Sinhalese. Rural Sinhalese youth were often unable to enter
the most prestigious schools and increasingly felt stranded and frustrated by the lack of
employment in Sri Lanka. This provided a foothold for an anti-government, anti-elite Sinhalese
movement. Anti-government sentiments within the Sinhalese youth led to the creation of the
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), or Peoples Liberation Front, in 1967. On April 5, 1971, the
country experienced its first blasts of JVP insurgency. In an attempt to take control of the
country, the JVP seized several police stations in rural Sri Lanka. The uprising spread to several
urban areas across the country. Mrs. Bandaranaike declared a state of emergency, sent in the
military, and proscribed a curfew for the entire country. When the police and army had ended the
insurrection after two weeks, over 5,000 had died and close to 14,000 Sinhalese were held in
detention camps.
The 1972 Constitution
In May 1972, the United Front followed through on its 1970 campaign promise to promulgate a
new constitution toward the transformation of Ceylon to the Republic of Sri Lanka. Under the new
constitution, the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government were vested in the
unchecked lawmaking capability of the National State Assembly. Many important and vocal
sectors of society opposed this concentration of power. The 1972 Constitution disturbed the
UNP, which feared an authoritarian government might emerge because of the new document.
The distinct lack of protection for the rights of minorities in the new constitution dismayed many
sectors of the population. The Tamils were particularly disturbed because the 1972 Constitution
contained no elements of federalism wherein Tamil ethnic groups might gain limited autonomy on
a regional basis. Instead, ethnic relations took a step backwards in the wake of a newly
conferred status for Buddhism as having “the foremost place” in the culture of Sri Lanka, which
replaced the provisions for minorities provided by Article 29 in the 1948 constitution.
The constitution also sanctioned measures that discriminated against Tamil youth in university
admissions. Tamil youth were particularly concerned by the “standardization” policy that
Bandaranaike’s government introduced in 1973. The policy made university admissions criteria
lower for Sinhalese than for Tamils. The Tamil community—represented by the Federal Party,
the Tamil Congress, and other Tamil organizations–reacted collectively against the new
atmosphere the new constitution produced, and in May 1972, founded the Tamil United Front
(which in 1976 became the Tamil United Liberation Front; TULF).
A Reorganized UNP
In July 1977, the vastly deteriorated SLFP was defeated by a reorganized UNP, under the
leadership of J.R. Jayawardene. Upon the appointment of Jayawardene as Prime Minister,
attempts by the United Front to pursue state control of the economy were reversed, as efforts
toward the revitalization of the private sector and the attraction of foreign capital were enforced.
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A new constitution was drafted in 1978, renaming the former Republic of Sri Lanka to the
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. In the wake of the rising levels of patronage,
nepotism, corruption, and unemployment that had occurred as a result of immense economic
powers ensured to the party of the state by the 1972 constitution, the Jayawardene administration
constructed a system wherein the president remained the head of state but was given a new
executive power as head of government. Sinhala and Tamil were recognized as national
languages, although only Sinhala was empowered with the status of an “official” language.
By 1977, however, the Tamil separatist movement had furthered its demands upon the
government of Sri Lanka, insisting that a separate state—“Tamil Eelam”—be established in
northern and eastern regions of the island. In the 1977 elections, the TULF had won every seat
in Tamil areas, and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) assumed a policy of
independence by force, if necessary.
With the refusal of the TULF, on the grounds that the constitution reiterated the unitary nature of
the state, to participate in the constitution-making process with the UNP, the Sixth Amendment
was drafted in 1979. The Amendment outlaws “separatism” and provides for the proscribing
(banning) of parties determined to be separatist. Further, an oath of loyalty may be administered
by the government to any official holding office on a local, regional, or national basis within Sri
Lanka. While Sinhalese, Indian Tamil, and Moor groups support the amendment, Tamil parties
adamantly opposed the provision
The wedge of ethnic conflict deepened in the wake of the 1978 constitution and the drafting of the
Sixth Amendment. The TULF stated its grievances that the government had provided for an
inadequate allocation of resources for Tamils in the north and east, citing the lack of access to
education and jobs in the region as evidence. A perception prevailed that the government had,
by appeasing the Sinhalese majority (through the provision of Sinhalese as the “official language”
and the Sixth Amendment) neglected Tamil interests. Conversely, the Sinhalese felt increasingly
insecure in the wider South Asian regional context, fearing the presence of fifty million Tamils
living in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, situated only 34 miles from Sri Lanka.
The Escalation of Violence
The first two years of the decade of the 1980’s witnessed escalated attempts by groups
representing the Tamil minority to organize insurgency, based in outposts in northern and eastern
Ceylon in addition to strongholds in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where Tamil groups received
official and unofficial support. In response to the resultant heightened levels of terrorism by the
LTTE, the government of Sri Lanka, in July 1983, launched offensives against Tamil-occupied
areas in the north and east of the island.
The offensives initiated by the government of Sri Lanka incited what may be regarded as the
most severe and devastating communal riots, from 24 to 31 July 1983, to occur in Sri Lanka since
it gained independence in 1948. It is estimated that more than 2,000 people died with property
damages estimated at US$150 million. In addition to the loss of life and property, however, the
riots had two significant demographic consequences.
First, the violence caused the exodus of over 100,000 refugees—victims of the government’s
drive against Tamil militants—from northern parts of Ceylon to the state of Tamil Nadu in India.
The second effect of the offensives was an exodus of Tamils living in southern parts of Ceylon,
amidst the Sinhalese, to their “traditional homes” in the north and east. This migration led to the
notion, among many Tamils, that safety might only be preserved in their “Tamil homeland”notion, among many Tamils, that safety might only be preserved in their “Tamil homeland,” and furthered ties with Indian Tamil counterparts.

Involvement of Indian Mediation
In combination with national security issues posed by the influx of refugees and de facto Tamil
Nadu support of Tamil terrorism, the government of India, by July 1983, regarded the situation in
Sri Lanka with a considerable degree of urgency.
Mediation by the central government of India began in August 1983, upon the extension of India’s
good offices by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. By December 1983, G. Parthasarathy, a
well-respected Indian diplomat and close advisor to Indira Gandhi, had discussed issues with
leaders in the government of Sri Lanka, its political parties (including the TULF), and drafted a set
of proposals to resolve the conflict.
The proposals, known collectively as “Annexure C” of the All Party Conference of January 1984,
suggested a union of regions within the unitary constitutional framework of Sri Lanka, with the
devolution of substantial legislative and executive power to the regions and measures that would
ensure the Tamil minority an adequate representation at the central government level. The
proposals presented by Parthasarathy were rejected by the government of Sri Lanka, initially, due
to their belief that districts (of which there are 23 in Sri Lanka) should form the basis for
devolution, instead of devolution in units based on the nine provinces, as the proposal mandated.
The All Party Conference ended inconclusively, however, by December 1984, as both the Tamils
and the government of Sri Lanka maintained violent offensives and counter-offensives in north
and east Sri Lanka.
Following a meeting between the Sri Lankan President and Indian Prime Minister in early June
1985 in New Delhi, efforts resumed toward mediation. Faced with an intensifying military conflict,
both parties assumed the other would be willing to make considerable concessions toward peace.
Talks were held at Thiumpu, the capital of Bhutan, between Tamil leaders and the government of
Sri Lanka to agree to a negotiated settlement and ceasefire. Again, negotiations proved fruitless
when leaders of the LTTE staged a walkout of the mediation.
All-Out Offensive
When, at the end of April 1987, a car bomb exploded at a busy bus station in Colombo, killing 113
people, the government of Sri Lanka called for an “all-out offensive,” in response to popular
outcries for recompense from the responsible Tamil terrorists. The offensive was focused upon
the Tamil-occupied Jaffna peninsula, and by May 1987 the army of the government had, at great
costs in lives, captured much of the region.
The Indian government, arguing that the army offensive had rendered the people of Jaffna totally
destitute, decided to send civilians in the region humanitarian relief. When a flotilla of Indian
boats carrying relief supplies was turned back by the Sri Lankan navy, India dropped supplies by
air (Operation Poomalai) and then proceeded with negotiations with the government of Sri Lanka
to distribute further provisions.
Faced with increasing regional pressure from India and calls from the international community
(including a resolution in the United Nations condemning the violations of human rights conducted
in Sri Lanka) to more actively pursue an agreement with Tamil rebels, the government of Sri
Lanka embarked upon efforts toward ceasefire. An agreement was reached between India and
Sri Lanka in July 1987, with the LTTE as conciliatory agent.
Terms for Ceasefire
The agreement had three components—first, the “modalities” of settling the ethnic conflicts
through devolution of power to a Tamil region combining the northern and eastern provinces;
second, the guarantees and obligations of the government of India with regard to the
implementation of the accord; third, the undertakings given by the government of Sri Lanka to
India which are not related to the ethnic conflict but concern India’s security interests in the
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region. An Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was deployed to northern and eastern regions of
the island in exchange for plans for devolution of power to Tamil provinces, the cessation of
Indian assistance to Tamil rebel groups, a referendum to be given to northern and eastern
provinces, and the LTTE concurrently pledging a token surrender of arms (while other Tamil
groups completely laid down arms).
On 10 October 1987, the LTTE resumed armed conflict with an attack on the IPKF. Coinciding
with the conflict in the north and east, the JVP resumed insurgency in the south of Sri Lanka as a
reaction to the presence of Indian troops on the island and the perception that the central
government is abdicating to the Tamil Minority by providing the Thirteenth Amendment, which
modifies the “Unitary” nature of Sri Lanka and provides for devolution of powers to the provinces,
and the Sixteenth Amendment, which formally recognizes Sinhala and Tamil as national
languages.
The Resumption of the Tug-of-War
By May 1990, Ranasinghe Premadasa, the successor to Jayawardene as President, had made a
second attempt at peace with the LTTE, and India had withdrawn all of its forces from Sri Lanka
in response to escalating conflict in the north with the LTTE and growing public discontent with
the Indian military presence. Talks between the LTTE and government of Sri Lanka failed shortly
thereafter, and Sri Lanka engaged in an economic embargo on the north and Tamil parts of the
east, serving only to gain further support for the LTTE in embargoed areas.
Following the assassination of Premadasa on 1 May 1994 and the assumption of Chandrika
Kumaratanga to the Presidency on 16 August 1994, a third round of peace talks began between
the LTTE and central government on 13 October 1994. Six months into the talks, however, the
LTTE resumed militant activities with the bombing of two Sri Lankan navy boats. By 1995, the
People’s Alliance (PA), in coalition with the SLFP, came to power on a “mandate of peace.” In
response to an LTTE attack on an army camp in Mullaithivu, on 18 July 1996, the central
government launched Operation Jayasikuru, wherein Sri Lankan forces gained control of Jaffna
by December 1996. Subsequent attempts at mediation or ceasefire in 1997 and 1998 were
scuttled immediately in the “interest of public security,” and as a result of continued advances and
retreats for both the LTTE and government army in the north and east provinces.
Current Situation
Constitutional Reforms Bill and Dissent
On 1 February 2000, the government of Sri Lanka, led by President Chandrika Kamaratunga,
disclosed to the international community that it would, with Norway playing an intermediary role,
be pursuing a peace agreement with the LTTE. On 3 August, Kamaratunga introduced before
parliament the Constitution Reforms Bill, “An Act for the Repeal and Replacement of the
Constitution,” amidst much protest from the floor of Parliament and the people of Sri Lanka.
The Constitutional Reforms Bill provides for a North-Eastern Provincial Council in the traditional
Tamil homeland (this province may be divided into two provinces, north and east, after 10 years.
Additionally, a special status is provided to the Sinhala minority (comprising 10% of the
population) in the North-Eastern Province. The North-Eastern Provincial Council cannot make
any decision affecting the Sinhalese of the province without the majority of the Sinhalese in the
province agreeing to it.
The government, on 8 August, decided to defer the debate and voting on the Constitutional
Reforms Bill in reaction to concerns that the Bill would not be able to secure the required twothirds
majority. Kamaratunga, asserting that this may be the last available effort toward peace,
announced on 11 August that the next parliament would be converted into a Constituent
Assembly in order to pass the proposal. Subsequently, the ruling People’s Alliance was severely
hampered by defections and resignations of three ministers of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress
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(SLMC). On 16 October, following demands from coalition partners that the PA and the UNP
launch a collective effort to implement constitutional reforms, the SLMC split over extending
support to the People’s Alliance. Further, the Sinhala Urumaya, the hard-line Sinhala Buddhist
National Party also split over the issue of representation in the Parliament.
Norway as Intermediary
On 17 October, upon resolution of the PA party platform with regard to open negotiations, Foreign
Minister Kakshman Kadirgamar stated in Oslo that Sri Lanka wanted “Norway to remain engaged
in the process.” By 1 November, Eric Solheim, the Norwegian peace envoy, met with LTTE chief
Velupillai Prabakaran, noting afterward that the meeting was “serious, frank, open, and very
useful.” The JVP, on 4 November, criticized the Norwegian initiative and alleges that Norway was
attempting to impose a political solution.
The European Union, on 13 November, extended its support to the Norwegian peace initiative,
calling upon both the government and the LTTE to seize the opportunity to hold a dialogue in
order to find a negotiated solution to the ethnic conflict. On 21 December 2000, the LTTE
announced a month-long unilateral ceasefire, and called upon the government of Sri Lanka to
follow suit. The government rejected the offer, maintaining its need to quell terrorism in the north
and east of the island.
The month of January 2001 was one characterized by a continuation of the existing stalemate
between the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government. Both sides continue to assert
their positions of December; the LTTE says that it will not come to the negotiating table until the
Sri Lankan government returns the LTTE’s gesture of cease-fire; the government will not declare
a cease-fire until the LTTE comes to the negotiating table. The Sri Lankan government’s
rationale is that they will wait until the LTTE shows a “genuine desire” for peace, citing previous
attempts at peace that were scuttled by the Tamil separatists. They do not want the LTTE to be
able to use any cessation of fighting to regroup and perhaps make an assault of their own, and
thus the Sri Lankan government will continue its own offensive.
Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim arrived in Sri Lanka on 10 January with the hopes of
bringing the two warring sides to the negotiation table despite each side’s determination to
outwait the other. Solheim has been trying for the past two years to bring leaders from the two
sides to the same table, but has thus far been unsuccessful. Because of this inability, Solheim
spends his time going between the two sides in an attempt at reaching some sort of agreement.
Solheim’s peace talks with the two sides are shrouded in secrecy due to opposition from the
Sinhalese nationalists to his position as peace envoy. These groups see Solheim’s efforts toward
peace as unnecessary foreign interference. Many members of these opposition groups have
taken to the streets in protest.
In addition to the Sinhalese protests, the Tamils have actively taken part in demonstrations.
Eleven moderate Tamil parties say that they will launch a national campaign against the war
against the separatist Tamil Tigers. The Tamil parties plan to join with leftist human rights
groups, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and other Sri Lankans who wish for an end to
the fighting.
Despite these cries for peace and the LTTE’s cry for cease-fire, the fighting continues. On 16
January the Sri Lankan Government launched a major offensive whose aim was to capture the
strategically significant Elephant Pass. On the first day of fighting over 40 rebel troops and
government soldiers were killed. This offensive was followed by the “strategic retreat” of LTTE
forces. The LTTE made a statement that the Sri Lankan government’s continued pushing at
rebel territory was endangering the peace process.
On 19 January the LTTE spokesperson, Anton Balsengham made a statement, saying that the
Tamil Tigers would not renew their ceasefire unless the army was to suspend their latest
offensive. He further elaborated that the LTTE had made enough concessions to peace, and that they are favorably considering the Norwegian proposals, but that they want the Sri Lankan
government to lift the economic embargoes that they have placed on rebel areas. If the
government were to lift these embargoes, Balsengham insisted, the LTTE would cease bombing
the southern part of the island. The government responded that there were no economic
embargoes currently in place on the rebel areas, so it would have a difficult time removing
something that does not exist. They further said that the claims of economic embargo by the Sri
Lankan government were LTTE propaganda to elicit international support.
The continuing fighting has prompted the Sri Lankan government to crack down on its civilian
population. Protests in response to the massacre of 29 Tamils in October have spurred the Sri
Lankan government to increase security measures in the Central Hills District. Tamils who work
on the local tea plantations heavily populate this district. The government has instituted a special
registration system where each household family must have a group photo of themselves posted
in their home, labeled with names. In addition, the family must furnish the police with a copy of
this photo along with labeled photos of each individual family member.
British Ban of LTTE
Great Britain defined the LTTE as a terrorist group under the new Terrorism Act 2000 on 19
February 2001. The ban represents a major problem for the group because their international
secretariat is located in London. The LTTE also receives substantial funding from expatriate
Tamils living in Britain. The proscription would limit the rebels’ access to this money.
The ban would be instituted through the new Terrorism Act, which broadens Britain’s former
definition of terrorism that aimed largely at Irish paramilitaries. The law would give police
increased powers to seize assets and arrest those they believe may be promoting terrorism
outside Britain. Students in northern Jaffna have collected more than 50,000 signatures on a
petition asking Britain not to ban the rebels. They, as well as civil rights groups, fear that the new
law could be used against groups, such as the LTTE, that fight for legitimate causes.
Political Parties And Coalitions
When, in October 2000, the People’s Alliance (PA) secured 107 seats in Parliament, elected
president Chandrika Kumaratunga was faced with the need to form further party coalitions in
order to ensure the support of 113 votes in the 225-seat body of parliament, the required majority
to form a new government.
Following lengthy talks with two relatively minor parties, the Eelam People’s Democratic Party
(EPDP), a Tamil party, and the National Unity Alliance (NUA), a Muslim party, the PA reached a
“Memoranda of Understanding” with the parties in exchange for a renewed focus on party
platforms pushed forth by the EPDP and NUA within the agenda of the new government. These
requests included the appointment of senior government positions and diplomatic postings from
each party, in addition to an ultimatum issued by the NUA that the new government would be
toppled should Kumaratunga not enact a new constitution in 100 days.
In addition, calls were made by the Buddhist clergy in November 2000 for the United National
Party (UNP) and PA to sink their differences and take a united stand on the Tamil issue.
Reacting to these suggestions, UNP leader Ranil Wickramsinghe proposed a set of preconditions
for the cooperation of his party. These preconditions related primarily to greater transparency
and independence of the function of the offices of the election department, the police, and the
bureaucracy. While Tamil groups do not explicitly oppose these preconditions, movements
toward a UNP-PA alliance have elicited outcries from minority parties.
The disquiet has resulted from fears that should the PA and its primary opposition party, the UNP,
draft a united platform, the policies of the Buddhist clergy may be taken into consideration. The
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Buddhist platform endorses a Sinhalese-chauvinist agenda with limitations on minority rights.
The Tamils worry that the two parties may find themselves competing for a bigger share of the
majority Sinhalese votes instead of focusing on a fair solution for the ethnic issue.
Due to these concerns, moves toward a renewed UNP-PA united front have been limited, and the
PA has instead relied upon the often-vacillating support of smaller, more radical, less organized
parties in the maintenance of legitimacy for the new government.
Non-Governmental, Inter-Governmental, & International
Organizations (NGOs, INGOs, & IOs)
A number of non-governmental organizations have operated within Sri Lanka in the wake of the
dislocations caused by the conflict. In accordance with the staggering diversity of local, national,
foreign, and international interest groups involved in Sri Lanka is a wide variety of focuses and
roles, but for the purposes of this simulation, two primary groups will be established: observers,
public empowerment operatives, service (and funding) providers.
Observer groups are organized to raise awareness of human rights violations taking place in
conflict situations. These groups seek to influence international organizations, foreign national
governments, and global public opinion through comprehensive reports of civil disturbances and
their effect on populations in conflict. Observer NGO’s have limited contact with governments
and typically share resources and information on conflict with other interest groups, both foreign
and local.
Public empowerment groups are designed to raise awareness among the domestic populations of
nations experiencing conflict. These organizations may be sponsored by foreign national
governments, and have been recorded to create separate civil societies within their spheres of
influence, including educational, agricultural, and judiciary provisions without consent of national
governments. Public empowerment groups are not typically endorsed by the government whose
civil society is targeted, and are often viewed as “insidious” actors in the resolution of conflict.
Finally, service and funding providers, such as the International Red Cross (ICRC) and World
Bank, conduct projects, often in conjunction with the governments involved in conflict, to provide
necessary health services and fund micro-credit loans to the civilians of regions in conflict. These
organizations, in Sri Lanka, have recently faced increasing difficulty in relations with the
government of Sri Lanka, and have often been refused admission to areas in conflict. The state
of relations between service/funding providers and the central government of Sri Lanka has a
significant effect on decisions by the United Nations and foreign national governments to sanction
or support the government of Sri Lanka, and often is an apt indicator of the escalation of conflict
and attitude of Sri Lankan governmental regimes.
Annotated Bibliography
“AI Report 1998: Sri Lanka.” Amnesty International.
www.amnesty.org/ailib/aireport/ar98/asa37.htm
Very thorough survey of human rights atrocities committed within the context of the civil
war conflict in Sri Lanka, citing numerous and varied violations.
Bullion, Alan J. India, Sri Lanka and the Tamil Crisis, 1976-1994: An International Perspective.
New York: Pinter, 1995.
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A focused and intriguing collection of research in regard to the confluence of foreign
relations between India and Sri Lanka and the strains posed by the influence and influx of
Tamils into Tamil Nadu.
De Silva, KM. Sri Lanka, Ethnic Conflict, Management and Resolution. Kandy, Sri Lanka:
International Centre for Ethnic Studies, 1999.
A local and recent report that supplements the reading with an added personal
perspective on ethnic conflict. Excellent maps also provided.
Gamage, Siri & IB Watson. Conflict and Community in Contemporary Sri Lanka: ‘Pearl of the
East’ or the ‘Island of Tears?’ New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1999.
An analytical assessment of the social repercussions of the civil war in Sri Lanka and a
perspective on the future vacillations of the conflict.
Jayamaha, Dilshika. “Sri Lankans Blinded by Bombs Come Into the Light.” The Washington Post,
7 December 2000.
Describes in detail the effect of the 18-year civil war on civilians injured by Tamil terrorist
bombing and the magnitude of the conflict throughout the island.
Jeyaratnam, Wilson A. Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism: Its origins and Development in the
Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. London: C. Hurst, 2000.
An interesting study, particularly when compared to the rise of Sinhalese nationalism in
the early Twentieth Century, and the varied effects of British colonialism on social life.
Krishna, Sankaran. Postcolonial insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and the Question of Nationhood.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.
An excellent resource for information regarding the impact of Portuguese, Dutch, and
British colonialism on the economic, political, and constitutional structures of modern- day
Sri Lanka.
Loganathan, Ketheshwaran. Sri Lanka: Lost Opportunities, Past Attempts at Resolving Ethnic
Conflict. Colombo: Centre for Policy Research and Analysis, University of Colombo, 1996.
An excellent analytical assessment of the Indo-Sri Lankan accord of 1987 and its effects
on the ethnic conflict and Indian relations.
Nalankilli, Thanjai. “Dichotomy of Sri Lankan Foreign Policy.” Tamil Tribune, January 2001.
Provides a radical pro-Tamil argument against the policy of the national government of
Sri Lanka to embrace international support without international intervention.
Nalankilli, Thanjai. “Sri Lankan Devolution Package Speaks Loud and Clear that Sinhalese are
the Masters of the Island.” Tamil Tribune, September 2000.
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An excellent example of pro-Tamil rhetoric in response to the Constitutional Reform Bill
put forth by the PA.
Senaratne, Jagath P. Political Violence in Sri Lanka, 1977-1990: Riots, Insurrections,
Counterinsurgencies, Foreign Intervention. Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1997.
A graphic portrayal of the scope of violence launched onto and by Tamil separatist
groups.
“Sri Lanka.” Human Rights Watch: World Report 1998. www.hrw.org/hrw/worldreport/Asia-10.html
An excellent resource to understand the human rights concerns brought about by both
the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka, with good information on the reaction of the
international community to human rights violations. (Applies for World Reports 1999,
2000, 2001)
“Sri Lanka.” Human Rights Watch: World Report 1999.
www.hrw.org/worldreport99/asia/srilanka3.html
“Sri Lanka.” Human Rights Watch: World Report 2000. www.hrw.org/hrw/wr2k/Asia-08.htm
“Sri Lanka.” Human Rights Watch: World Report 2001. www.hrw.org/wr2k1/asia/srilanka.html
“Sri Lanka: A Country Study.” Library of Congress: Area Handbook Series.
memory.loc.gov/frd/cs/lktoc.html
An excellent and detailed chronicle of Sri Lanka’s history covering the era of colonialism,
politics, political parties, and primary threats to Sri Lankan national security.
“Sri Lanka Background Note.” US Department of State, January 1995.
A useful assessment of major problems in foreign policy and politics plaguing Sri Lanka
in 1994.
“Sri Lanka Rebellion: 1983-1999.” OnWar.com. www.onwar.com/acd/data/tango/tamil1983.htm
A useful timeline and a comprehensive and broad overview of the history of the TamilSinhalese
conflict in Sri Lanka
“Sri Lanka: Timeline.” South Asian Terrorism Portal (SATP). www.satp.org/srilanka.htm
Provides a thorough and comprehensive timeline of Sri Lankan history updated from
1931 to the present.
“Sri Lanka Violence Flares: Troops Deployed.” The Washington Post, 30 October 2000.
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Describes communal violence and ethnic tension in the wake of the killing of 25 former
child guerrillas in a compound in Talawakele.
“Sri Lankan Rebel Leader Proposes Truce, Talks.” The Washington Post, 28 November 2000.
Delineates role of Norway delegation in peace talks and explains the position both of the
LTTE and the government as a reaction to their actions toward ceasefire.
“Sri Lankan Rebels’ Ceasefire Ignored: World in Brief.” The Washington Post, 22 December
2000.
An early report on attempts by the LTTE to make unilateral ceasefire operations.
Tamil Separatist Issue in Sri Lanka and the Devolution Proposals: Overview. Colombo: Lanka
Patriotic Movement, 1996.
Great maps and good breakdown of dynamics of devolution proposals of 1987 and 1990.
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Roles
The simulation includes the following roles:
People’s Alliance – Representative 1
People’s Alliance – Representative 2
People’s Alliance – Representative 3
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – Representative 1
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – Representative 2
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – Representative 3
Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP)
National Unity Alliance (NUA)
India – Minister of External Affairs
People’s Liberation Front (JVP)
European Union (EU)
United National Party (UNP)
Sarvodaya
David Munnetra Kahagam (DMK)
National Sangha Council
World Bank
Human Rights Watch
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
US Special Envoy to South Asia
Quaker Representation
Sri Lankan Business Council (SLBC)
South Asian Overseas Development Council (SAODC)
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People’s Alliance – Representative 1
You represent the hard-line faction within the government. You believe in weakening the LTTE
militarily before negotiating with it. Your main goal is the preservation of the unitary state. You are
opposed to political decentralization and are backed by a vocal and politically active support base
in Sri Lanka. You represent the most powerful faction within the government and enjoy limited
opposition (UNP) support as well. However, you have had to moderate your stance towards the
LTTE in order to appease the donors so that Sri Lanka’s supply of economic aid does not get cut
off.
Your basic stance is that the civil war is a purely internal matter best left to the government and
the people of Sri Lanka. The LTTE in your view is a terrorist organization that must be eliminated.
As far as you are concerned most Tamil grievances have now been met – it is the intransigence of
the LTTE that presents the most important obstacle to achieving peace. Any unsolicited outside
intervention in the conflict is an infringement upon the sovereignty of Sri Lanka. The conflict in the
north is an internal matter, where you are trying to liberate the Tamil population from the fascist
LTTE. You want to ask why other countries (such as India) which have similar problems, are not
treated with the same disregard (for national sovereignty) as Sri Lanka. You should not be
amenable to peace talks unless the LTTE lays down its arms.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You have to convince both the other members of the government as well as the mediators that
the LTTE must lay down its arms as a precondition for any peace talks. The LTTE has proved
time and again that it is not genuinely interested in peace talks. The items that you are willing to
discuss once this condition is satisfied, include lifting the economic blockade on north and east,
the rehabilitation of the LTTE into the political mainstream, and the conduct of elections for the
northern and eastern provincial councils.
You want to actively prevent the EU from being involved in the mediation process as it exercises
considerable leverage over the government in the form of economic aid. You should also mobilize
support against other representatives from being actively involved if they a) grant legitimacy to
the LTTE cause or, b) violate the sovereignty of the state of Sri Lanka. You do not want any party
with considerable clout over the government to become an important player in the mediation
process as they might force you into making concessions that are detrimental to the territorial
integrity of the country and the safety of the majority of Sri Lankans. You want to inform the
mediators of your grievances and of LTTE atrocities so that they understand what the real nature
of the problem.
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People’s Alliance – Representative 2
You represent the moderate faction within the ruling People’s Alliance (PA). As a moderate voice
in the People’s Alliance, you are open to the idea of negotiating with the LTTE. You believe in a
political rather than military solution. You are opposed to the idea of a separate state for the
Tamils, but are open to discussions on political devolution. You have no opposition to granting
some degree of political devolution but firmly believe that legislative power should rest with the
national parliament. You want try to persuade the more hard-line member(s) of the government to
accept your strategy to deal with this situation. At the same time, this faction is an important ally
against those within the government, who might favor that more radical items (such as power
sharing arrangements) be included in the agenda. You should also be aware of LTTE supporters
within the government who are intent on promoting the interests of the LTTE under the guise of
ensuring the welfare of the country. The LTTE has used peace talks in the past to refresh and
resupply its troops and to win valuable breathing room. You want to make sure that this does not
happen again. You are open to beginning negotiations before declaring a ceasefire.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
The LTTE must show a ‘genuine desire’ for peace talks. The LTTE should not to be allowed to
use this opportunity to regroup. There can be no discussion of the status of the LTTE as a
proscribed terrorist group by the government or by other international actors. While negotiations
for peace are encouraged, war may be the last resort should no compromise be available.
You support the idea of peace talks, albeit without the outside involvement. Outsiders will raise
the prestige of the LTTE and make an internal problem a matter of international concern.
Furthermore, the international community has the capacity to enforce coercive measures that
would violate Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. You want a mediator who has had longstanding concern
about the conflict and who does not have ‘enforcement capacities’. You should make sure that
the international community understands that you have addressed some of the basic grievances
of the Tamils (Tamil is now an official language, devolution has been achieved through the
establishment of provincial councils). You believe that a political solution can be found once the
LTTE stops fighting.
You have to be suspicious of some of the IGOs and NGOs. Some of the international NGOs such
as ICRC, Human Rights Watch etc. show complete disregard for the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
These organizations harshly criticize the government while being silent about LTTE atrocities.
They sometimes serve as the spokespeople for the LTTE. On the other hand, you do want to
cultivate international support for the government. So, you have to engage with these
organizations and persuade them to be on your side.
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People’s Alliance – Representative 3
You represent the ‘liberal’ faction within the government. PA liberals have pushed to have
discussions with the LTTE at a negotiating table and argue that a ceasefire may best be agreed
upon through negotiations. You support the establishment of a federal political order as a solution
to the current problem. You enjoy the support of large businesses, especially the English
speaking elements of it. Your primary support base is primarily composed of upper and middle
class English speakers who wield considerable economic but not political power. Your position is
that a federal system of governance and an open market economy represent the best possible
options for Sri Lanka. You believe that a more transparent political framework accompanied by
greater liberalization of the economy would lead to peace and prosperity. One of your goals
should be to make sure that the issues of political and economic reform get placed on the agenda
for talks. You might also want to solicit the support of other like-minded groups to lobby other
members of the government and the LTTE of the importance of these issues towards the
resolution of the Sri Lankan conflict.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You support the idea of peace talks but condemn the high-handedness of the UN/donors in
forcing the government’s hand in this direction. However, the UN led initiative gives you an
opportunity to persuade others within the government of the importance of a truly decentralized
political framework in order to solve Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem. You have to provide leadership
for the forces within the government that support political negotiations for decentralization. You
want to convince the other members of the government of the importance of adding the issue of
decentralization onto the agenda for peace talks. This represents the last hope for a political
solution. The government’s willingness to place the issue of decentralization on the agenda will
win it enormous goodwill from the international community. Plus, if the LTTE rejects this initiative,
it will be a major public relations victory for the government. While persuading other members of
the government to consider decentralization, you should attempt to let the mediators know that
there are elements within the government that support decentralization. With regard to the LTTE,
you should request that it lays down its arms as a precondition for talks.
You probably do not want to publicly endorse international support as that would be political
suicide. However, the EU and Norway are acceptable choices. You have to be somewhat wary of
the EU. If the EU pushes the government too hard into talking with the LTTE, then it would not be
politically wise to endorse them. You should be wary of India as well given your history with India.
In addition, you have to keep in mind that India is a major rival competing for foreign investment.
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Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – Representative 1
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tigers) were formed 1976 in order to secure the
freedom of the Tamil people from Sinhala controlled governments, which disregarded the
grievances of the Tamil people. Originally Tamil leaders attempted to bring about social and
political change via peaceful demonstrations, however, after several years of failures the LTTE
emerged. In the 25 years since its founding, the LTTE has gained full support of the Tamil people,
and has managed to amass a substantial army of more than a thousand soldiers. The LTTE’s
military even includes a Navy, which has become a force to be reckoned with in the region. The
Tamil people see the LTTE as their major impetus for gaining back their homeland, Tamil Eelam.
Increasing hardships and racist policies imposed by the successive Sinhala governments have
ostracized the Tamil people further and further, which has led to increased support for the LTTE
amongst all Tamil people.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You represent the ‘true’ wing within the LTTE that will not settle for anything less than the
establishment of a separate state for the Tamils. You are here because you do not want your
fund raising in Europe to be disrupted and because refusing to consider the possibility of peace
talks will damage your international image. In addition, the involvement of international mediators
and to a lesser extent the EU, confers a certain legitimacy on your organization and its goals.
However, on the other hand you have to be wary of outside parties, especially the World Bank
getting heavily involved in the mediation process as you DO NOT want observers or
peacekeepers in Sri Lanka. Your could on the one hand, pretend that you are interested in peace
talks, while on the other hand make sure that these talks never materialize to anything. In doing
this you have to convince the third parties that you are amenable to the idea of peace talks. You
want to make sure that the mediators understand the historical grievance perpetuated against the
Tamils in Sri Lanka.
You could suggest that the government lift the economic blockade on the northern peninsula as a
sign of goodwill prior to the peace talks. Also, request that all LTTE prisoners held by the
government to be released. In exchange you will release POWs held in the north. You request
that the Thimpu Principles form the cornerstone of any framework for negotiations. They are a)
the Sri Lankan Tamils be recognized as a distinct nationality; b) an identified Tamil homeland and
the guarantee of its territorial integrity be recognized; c) the right of the Sri Lankan Tamils to selfdetermination
be acknowledged. This will be your position on the subject of peace talks. You
also reject the idea that you should lay down arms as a precondition for any negotiations.
You have already established some rapport with the Norwegians given their previous efforts at
facilitating talks between you and the Sri Lankan government. They understand your position and
have no agenda of their own. In addition they, unlike the UN do not have the capacity to coerce
you into accepting any unsatisfactory settlement. You are wary of the Indian government as it
seems as if the pro-Tamil faction within the Indian government is losing power vis-à-vis the less
pro-Tamil center. The Tamil question is no longer an important issue to the Indian government.
The EU could be a potential threat because of its ability to impede your organization’s
propaganda and fund raising activities in Europe. The EU probably views the Sri Lankan case as
an opportunity to establish its position as an emerging major international player. Plus, it is also
concerned about the growing problem of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka in EU states.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE www.usip.org 26
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – Representative 2
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tigers) were formed 1976 in order to secure the
freedom of the Tamil people from Sinhala controlled governments, which disregarded the
grievances of the Tamil people. Originally Tamil leaders attempted to bring about social and
political change via peaceful demonstrations, however, after several years of failures the LTTE
emerged. In the 25 years since its founding, the LTTE has gained full support of the Tamil people,
and has managed to amass a substantial army of more than a thousand soldiers. The LTTE’s
military even includes a Navy, which has become a force to be reckoned with in the region. The
Tamil people see the LTTE as their major impetus for gaining back their homeland, Tamil Eelam.
Increasing hardships and racist policies imposed by the successive Sinhala governments have
ostracized the Tamil people further and further, which has led to increased support for the LTTE
amongst all Tamil people.
You are here because you do not want your fund raising in Europe to be disrupted and because
refusing to consider the possibility of peace talks will damage your international image. In
addition, the involvement of the UN and to a lesser extent the EU, confers a certain legitimacy on
your organization and its goals. You are bent on establishing a separate state for the Tamils, but
recognize that entering into peace talks may be beneficial for your organization at the present
time. You want to make sure that the mediators understand the historical grievance perpetuated
against the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You could suggest that the government lift the economic blockade on the northern peninsula as a
sign of goodwill prior to the peace talks. Also, request that all LTTE prisoners held by the
government to be released. In exchange you will release POWs held in the north. In addition,
you should also request a ceasefire as a precondition to the talks, so that your troops can gain
some breathing room. You request that the Thimpu Principles form the cornerstone of any
framework for negotiations. They are a) the Sri Lankan Tamils be recognized as a distinct
nationality; b) an identified Tamil homeland and the guarantee of its territorial integrity be
recognized; c) the right of the Sri Lankan Tamils to self-determination be acknowledged. This will
be your position on the subject of peace talks. You also reject the idea that you should lay down
arms as a precondition for any negotiations. In addition, you want to request a ceasefire as an
additional precondition for talks with the Sri Lankan government.
You have already established some rapport with the Quakers given their previous efforts at peace
building. They understand your position and have no agenda of their own. In addition they, unlike
the UN or the EU do not have the capacity to coerce you into accepting any unsatisfactory
settlement. You are wary of the Indian government as it seems as if the pro-Tamil faction within
the Indian government is losing power vis-à-vis the less pro-Tamil center. The Tamil question is
no longer an important issue to the Indian government. The EU could be a potential threat
because of its ability to impede your organization’s propaganda and fund raising activities in
Europe. The EU probably views the Sri Lankan case as an opportunity to establish its position as
an emerging major international player. Plus, it is also concerned about the growing problem of
asylum seekers from Sri Lanka in EU states.
You also want to cultivate international support by trying to influence the international NGOs who
will be present during the talks. You want to make sure that they understand the complete
disregard that the government has for human rights and humanitarian issues. You should voice
your concern about the indiscriminate bombing of Tamil areas and the arbitrary arrests and
torture of Tamil youth by the government.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE www.usip.org 27
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – Representative 3
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tigers) were formed 1976 in order to secure the
freedom of the Tamil people from Sinhala controlled governments, which disregarded the
grievances of the Tamil people. Originally Tamil leaders attempted to bring about social and
political change via peaceful demonstrations, however, after several years of failures the LTTE
emerged. In the 25 years since its founding, the LTTE has gained full support of the Tamil people,
and has managed to amass a substantial army of more than a thousand soldiers. The LTTE’s
military even includes a Navy, which has become a force to be reckoned with in the region. The
Tamil people see the LTTE as their major impetus for gaining back their homeland, Tamil Eelam.
Increasing hardships and racist policies imposed by the successive Sinhala governments have
ostracized the Tamil people further and further, which has led to increased support for the LTTE
amongst all Tamil people.
You represent the more moderate wing of the LTTE. You have come to the conclusion that a
separate state is virtually unachievable. The donor initiative represents the best opportunity for
the LTTE to establish itself as a political actor in Sri Lanka. However, you cannot afford to let
down your military guard while doing this. Your goal is to aim towards some sort of devolutionary
scheme that will enable you to have political, military, and perhaps even fiscal control over the
north and the east. Basically, you want some sort of autonomy that falls short of a separate state,
with you in charge. The possible participation of the UN is a positive aspect in that it enhances
the image of the LTTE in the international community. The LTTE and the Tamil cause would
acquire a certain recognition and legitimacy that would destabilize Sinhalese attempts to deny
any recognition to the claims of the Tamils. In addition the majority of the diaspora (who
contribute large amounts of financial aid to your cause), supports this initiative. You have to
convince other members of your group to give up the demand for a separate state, and work
towards establishing a federal system of governance that will give the north and the east
considerable autonomy.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation:
You could suggest that the government lift the economic blockade on the northern peninsula as a
sign of goodwill prior to the peace talks. Also, request that all LTTE prisoners held by the
government to be released. In exchange you will release POWs held in the north. Negotiations
between the government and you should focus on transferring legislative, economic, and military
power to the regional governments from the center.
Be wary of India given the fiasco with the Rajiv Gandhi government. You agreed to the cease-fire
called by the Indo-Lanka Accord in 1987 as a result of extreme pressure by the Indian
government. However when things went wrong, India betrayed your trust in them by attempting
to coerce you into agreeing to the Accord. The EU and the World Bank are strong enough to
enforce sanctions against your legitimate international fund raising efforts especially in Europe if
you do not follow their wishes. Norway does not have this power. You want a ‘soft’ mediator with
no enforcement capacities.
Simulation on Sri Lanka: Setting the Agenda for Peace
UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE www.usip.org 28
Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP)
You represent the Eelam People’s Democratic Party a Tamil ex-militant organization that entered
politics under the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1989. Now you form a small, yet indispensable part of the
government coalition. Your concern is to weaken the LTTE militarily and politically so that once a
solution can be achieved, you can emerge as the leading political actor in the north and the east.
You aspire to represent Tamil interests and opinion in the north and the east.
Your Perspective on the Current Situation”
You endorse the peace talks but want to make sure that any solution must include weakening the
LTTE’s military power in the north and east. You agree to the idea of peace talks but have to
make sure that the agenda for the peace talks must include the elimination of the LTTE’s military
capabilities. You want to campaign within the government for the inclusion of the devolution issue
in the agenda. You want to identify and ally with segments of the government that support further
devolution against those who oppose devolution. You should push for outside facilitation in
implementing any agreements that arise from the negotiation process. Included in the agenda
should a provision allowing for outside observation of the implementation of any agreements. This
will dissuade both the government and the LTTE from backing down from any compromises
made to each other. You could also push the government to lift the economic embargo on the
north immediately as a token of the seriousness of its intent to find common ground with the
LTTE. As a representative of the Tamils in the north and east, it is important that you persuade
the international community and the mediators of the humanitarian crisis in the north and the
east. Medicine and essential goods are in short supply because of the economic embargo;
diseases abound in refugee camps. You want to include humanitarian concerns in the agenda.
You are wary of India playing any major role in the mediation process. Although you and India
were allies against the LTTE in the aftermath of the Indo-Lanka accord in 1987, you are aware
that a faction within the Indian government still supports the LTTE. An a mediator would be your
best choice given that it has the military capabilities to enforce any peace  agreements. You
should definitely argue for observers in the mediation process.

About editor 2677 Articles
Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

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