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In Sri Lanka, KIOS support is channelled to organizations, which document human rights violations and seek justice for the victims. In addition, KIOS has supported women’s rights work and work against the discrimination of sexual and gender minorities.
From civil war to peacebuilding
The decades long civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009; however, the comprehensive peacebuilding with transitional justice process is only at the beginning. The government has committed to ensure the implementation of the UN resolution adopted in 2015 November. The resolution calls for investigation of the human rights abuses of the past and getting justice for the victims.
Tensions between the population groups underpinning the conflict
The majority of the population in Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhalese community, and they practise Buddhism as a religion. The eastern and northern part of the country is mostly populated by Tamil people, who are Hindus. Furthermore, there are various smaller ethnic communities and religious communities in the country, as descendants of the European migrants, Muslims and Christians
The main parties of the conflict were government forces backed by the Sinhalese majority and Tamil tigers (LTTE) driving for an independent state. After the conflict the government settled Sinhalese families into the Tamil areas and replaced part of the Hindu temples with Buddhist temples. The above mentioned political strategy did not contribute for the peaceful coexistence. Furthermore, a militant Buddhist group has caused terror in the country. They have attacked violently against Tamils, Muslims and Christians.
Women’s participation and women’s rights
The political participation of women on decision making has been low. Although Sri Lanka is one of the most developed countries in the area, the small number of women is conspicuous in relation to other countries in South Asia. Gender based violence is severe problem in the country, and women face discrimination on various levels. In addition, most of the victims, who survived the civil war, are women. Many of them still suffer from the consequences of the war, as loss of the land and income or injuries.
KIOS support for civil society
Due to the consequences of the civil war, tensions between the population groups and due to the women’s discrimination, KIOS has supported work, which promotes women’s rights and collaboration between women organizations from different ethnic and religious groups. Furthermore, KIOS has supported documentation of human rights violations and work supporting sexual and gender minorities.