53% of Sri Lankans would like to see a stronger focus on dealing with legacies of the civil war*

commented by Dilrukshi Handunnetti

Nonstop (Issue III/2019)

Sri Lanka has lost an estimated 60,000 lives in a 27-year-long war. In 2015, the incumbent government sought and received a mandate to pursue a peace process which was internationally lauded. Yet, divisive national politics impeded its new political journey, with hardline groups continuously creating road blocks and weakening the government’s position. The formation of radical Tamil political groups in the island’s north has fueled the South’s suspicion, rendering the peace agenda more difficult.

People’s disenchantment with the administration’s inability to drive a peace agenda was reflected in the number of 53.3 percent of respondents, 60 percent of the youth even, expressing their dissatisfaction. The absence of genuine political will has now been compounded by the Easter Sunday bombings, which will pave the way for a more authoritarian state. As its national security agenda overrides other priorities, Sri Lanka’s new political agenda is unlikely to focus on the nation’s need for reconciliation and transitional justice.

*Source: Values and Attitudes Survey on 70 Years of Independence in Sri Lanka, 2019

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