Reconciliation in post-war Sri Lanka A study on reconciliation possibilities after a victor’s peace

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: In 2009, the 26 years long, brutal Sri Lankan civil war between the separatist terrorist group “Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan government came to an end. The government eradicated the LTTE, and stability was achieved through a so called “victor’s peace”, not followed by any negotiations or agreements between the warring parties. Ethnic divisions still exist in Sri Lanka, and to ensure a long lasting, sustainable peace, they need to be resolved. One school of thought concerning post-conflict rebuilding is “reconciliation”, the idea that former warring parties need to understand and reconcile with each other to prevent re-emergence of the conflict. Reconciliation can be conducted in different ways, which is something Auerbach points out as she conducted her theoretical framework “The reconciliation Pyramid”. The Pyramid consists of seven stages or ways to work with reconciliation; Narrative Acquaintance, Narrative Acknowledgement, Empathy, Responsibility, Restitution, Apology and Narrative Incorporation. This study aims to investigate the way in which Sri Lankan civil society organisations that work with reconciliation operate, how they view their work and what they consider to be most important in a reconciliation process. The reconciliation pyramid will be applied and a conclusion is reached on that the organisations tend to focus on narrative acquaintance and acknowledgement. If this depends on how far the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka has come, how the organisations see their responsibility or if the victor’s peace could have affected the reconciliation process is discussed.

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