- Where - Sri Lanka (Asia)
- Website - srilankacampaign.org
- Contact Person - Fred Carver
- Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Other - facebook.com/SriLankaCampaign
Areas of Expertise
The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice has expertise in a range of areas, including:
Main Aims and Objectives
The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice is a multi-ethnic, non-partisan group who campaign for a just and lasting peace in Sri Lanka, based upon accountability and respect for human rights. The Campaign is not affiliated with any political or ethnic group inside or outside of Sri Lanka, and exists to fight for the rights of all those living in Sri Lanka.In the 5 month period between January and May 2009, it is estimated that between 20,000 – 40,000 civilians were killed in northern Sri Lanka. Most of these deaths were by the Sri Lankan Army as it sought to eliminate the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) regardless of civilian causalities. With the defeat of the LTTE announced on May 19th, the GoSL detained 300,000 Tamil civilians, the survivors of this brutal war, inside camps run by military and pro-government para-militaries.
The GoSL gave humanitarian agencies very little access to these civilians who desperately needed food, shelter and medical assistance after enduring 6 months of intense shelling. Thousands of people were suffering extreme levels of physical and psychological trauma made worse because families were separated. Even the United Nations were unable to collate the names of people inside the camps due to restrictions placed by the GoSL. On top of this, worrying allegations of physical and sexual abuse began to leak out of the camps.
The media were also prevented from reaching the survivors and when the UN officials went, they were presented with stage managed tours, with the victims too frightened to speak.
Upholding the Principles of Conflict Transformation
By attempting to build a lasting peace based on the principles of justice, the rule of law, and a fair political solution.In the face of many INGOs and UN agencies choosing to take a “softly softly” approach, the Sri Lanka Campaign was launched, calling for three things:
- Effective humanitarian relief for war survivors;
- An end to human rights violations;
- A lasting peace based on the rule of law and respect for all communities in the country.
Where and with Whom?
Globally, and with Sri Lankan civil society, journalists, NGOs, authors, artists and photographers.The Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice campaigns across the world, at every level, to draw attention to the problems in Sri Lanka, to spread information about the situation, and to help Sri Lankans and the international community to bring pressure to bear on the Government of Sri Lanka so that all Sri Lankans can look forward to a future where justice, rights and reconciliation are the norm.
Main Activities in the Field of Conflict Transformation
Raising awareness about the situation in Sri Lanka and advocating for greater accountability.
Sri Lanka is a stunning island with beautiful sights, amazing landscapes, incredible wildlife, wonderful food and friendly people. It is not surprising that each year nearly a million people from all over the globe visit to experience the hospitality and sights on offer. Sadly, however, visitors to Sri Lanka are in real danger of inadvertently supporting alleged perpetrators of war crimes and human rights abuses, both financially and politically.
Many Sri Lankans live in fear. Sri Lanka is ranked as the second worst country for involuntary disappearances and the 4th most dangerous country for journalists in the world. There is strong evidence of widespread torture and murder, discrimination and land-rights abuses, with those in power above the law. While many people have reportedly been illegally detained, tortured or disappeared, to date very few perpetrators have been arrested or charged.
These abuses, and the culture of impunity that permits them, are a result of the lack of accountability for what happened at the end of Sri Lanka’s long and bloody civil conflict. During the final stages of the war in 2009 an estimated 40,000 civilians were killed. There is credible evidence that Government forces deliberately shelled hospitals and designated no-fire zones, while the LTTE used civilians as human shields. Many of those alleged to be responsible remain in power. Oppression of minorities has continued and those who dare to speak out face persecution.
- Travellers’ dilemma – Tourism can bring positive benefits to a country, and the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice is not suggesting that these be denied to a population already suffering under an oppressive regime. Often the challenge is making sure your holiday spending really does go to help local communities – in Sri Lanka there is the additional problem that it may profit known or alleged human rights abusers. The most important thing is to make an informed choice.
- Ethical alternatives – If you intend to go on holiday to Sri Lanka and would like to support the ordinary people and legitimate businesses of that country, then there are ways of trying to ensure your money contributes to local communities. There are many family run hotels and local businesses that can provide you with a wonderfully authentic experience, and in many places there are also community projects, such as turtle watching, that provide fair employment to local people.
- What else you can do – The most important thing you can do is raise awareness of the issue. Please tell your friends and anyone else who is thinking of visiting this beautiful island about the human rights abuses faced by the people of Sri Lanka. If you use social media you can spread the word via Facebook and Twitter.