There has been a conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) commonly referred to by many as the Tamil Tigers for about thirty years. The Tamils, who are a minority tribe, have conflicted with the government as they seek secession and granting of independence for self-governance. The conflict has lasted for such a long period that it has been described as the longest conflict in the Asian region. Of late, the government has employed every possible mechanism to defeat the forces, and “there are claims by the government that they killed the leader of the separatist group in the year 2009 although the group is expected to continue with its guerilla attacks on the country until better guidelines are set in and everyone feels involved (Bajoria, 2009).”
The History of the Conflict
The country has been in conflict since it achieved its independence from the British in 1948. The country is made up of three main ethnic groups which are the Sinhalese (the majority), followed by Tamil, and Sri Lankan Moor. After independence, the years that followed saw the Sinhalese who were always not in favor of how the British treated the Tamil, disenfranchise the Tamil migrant population workers from India, then made Sinhalese the official language and in 1972, the Sinhalese changed the country’s name from Ceylon to Sri Lanka before finally making “Buddhism the primary religion and this was not in favor with the Tamils” (Bajoria, 2009). With the Tamils never in favor of these changes, ethnic tension grew, and in return, this led to the formation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which was campaigning for secession from the main country. The tensions continued to rise until, “In 1983, the LTTE ambushed an army convoy, killing thirteen soldiers and triggering riots in which 2,500 Tamils died” (Bajoria, Par 2, 2009). Since then, there have been continuous conflicts that made several countries such as the USA and Canada brand the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group. While these countries were branding the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group, other countries were making efforts to solve the impasse between the two groups, and in the year 2002, Norway managed to broker a peace agreement between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lanka government. The brokered peace did not last for long as three years later, in 2005, the assassination of the government’s Sri Lanka foreign ministry reignited the conflict and for the years that followed, the two parties breached the cease-fire agreement and went back to war.
Result of the Conflict
The conflict between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government army has elicited humanitarian concerns all over the world with human watchdog bodies accusing the two parties of human rights abuses such as abductions, conscriptions, and the training and use of child soldiers which is unacceptable. The two parties have also placed civilian lives in danger since the latest wars have led to increased cases of casualties among the civilians, especially with the Tamil Tigers barring civilians from leaving the war areas.
The Sri Lankan conflict between the government and the Tamil Tigers has led to the loss of lives, properties, and wastage of time which could have been used in the nation-building thus with the forces of the Tamil Tigers having been reduced, it is worth noting that the guerilla outfit which was not completely crushed is likely to continue for years depending on the survival of their leaders and the way the government treats them thus it is time government sought ways of involving the Tamils who feel isolated from the administration and rulings of the government to forge a positive future ahead.
Bajoria, J. (2009). The Sri Lanka Conflict. Web.