Protecting civilians in armed conflict

Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka

For over 26 years, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fought against the Government of Sri Lanka to create a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island.

The conflict ended in 2009 when the Sri Lankan armed forces took the last area controlled by the LTTE. The conflict caused significant hardships for the population, with an estimated 80,000 people killed during its course and hundreds of thousands forced to flee. Both sides used anti-personnel (AP) mines extensively. Most of the contamination – by AP mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) – affected areas under the control of the LTTE and has had a huge impact on civilians.

Activities

Geneva Call engaged the LTTE on the AP mine ban from 2001 until 2009 when the group was militarily defeated by the Sri Lankan armed forces.

Banning AP mines

Initial efforts included a cross-conflict advocacy project with Inter-Religious Peace Foundation/Sri Lankan Campaign to Ban Landmines (IRPF/SLCBL) and the UK-based NGO Landmine Action in 2003, aimed at securing the signature of the Deed of Commitment by the LTTE and accession to the AP Mine Ban Convention by the Government. The latter expressed its willingness to accede to the Convention if the LTTE made a similar commitment. In meetings with Geneva Call, the LTTE leadership said it would give consideration to the Deed of Commitment but would need to see significant progress in the peace talks before committing to a total ban on AP mines.

Engagement of the LTTE and discussions with the Government was accompanied by activities to build support for the AP mine ban within Sri Lanka and internationally, specifically among LTTE constituencies and the Tamil diaspora.

The first concerted effort to launch local pressure groups was initiated in 2004, at a workshop in Jaffna organized with the Inter-Religious Peace Foundation and Landmine Action. The workshop focused on informing local NGOs and civil society groups about the global efforts to ban AP mines, implementation of mine action, and discussion of strategies to obtain a mine ban commitment from both sides to the conflict.

Further advocacy activities included workshops for the Tamil diaspora communities living in Europe, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, held in partnership with the Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD) in 2005 and 2006. The workshops aimed at mobilizing Tamil diaspora support for the mine ban.

As fighting intensified through 2008, and the LTTE continued to oppose a mine ban, Geneva Call urged it to at least refrain from re-mining areas that had already been cleared during the ceasefire when significant progress in demining had been made in areas controlled by both parties to the conflict.

Main achievements

  • LTTE leadership and constituencies were engaged and made aware of the AP mine ban norm.

In Sri Lanka, Geneva Call works or has worked with the following armed non-State actors:

Organization Active Thematic areas
Landmine ban Child protection Gender issues Humanitarian norms
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) No
Click on the ticks to display the signed Deeds of Commitment
 

The ANSA is being engaged by Geneva Call on this thematic area

 

The ANSA was engaged by Geneva Call on this thematic area

 

The ANSA has signed the Deed of Commitment on this thematic area

 

Theirwords.org

  • Theirwords.org is a directory of armed non-State actors commitments. Check out the documents concerning this country on theirwords.org.
 
 

Related Medias

 
Strategy 2017-2019
 

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