Participation of Minorities

Since Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948, relations between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil communities have been strained. Rising ethnic and political tensions, along with ethnic riots in 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983, led to the formation and strengthening of militant groups advocating independence for Tamils. The ensuing civil war resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 people and the forced disappearance of thousands of others. The civil war ended in 2009 but there are continuing allegations of atrocities being committed by the Sri Lankan Military and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during its final months.

In 1987 the Indo-Sri Lanka accord aimed at curbing the tension between Tamil and Sinhalese communities through some degree of devolution of powers to provinces. In accordance with this treaty, the 13th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution created provincial councils and required the government to merge areas of Tamil population in the North and the East of the country into a single administrative unit. The merger was initially meant to be a temporary measure until a referendum took place but it was repeatedly postponed and in 2006 was declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.

Following the military defeat of the LTTE in 2009, most Tamil activists have favored Tamil autonomy within a unitary state rather than independence. Tamils and other minorities in the country still have many grievances, including improper implementation of the 13th Amendment and human rights abuses from the central government and the military. Religious tensions are still very present throughout the country, and cristallise around Article 9 of the 1978 Constitution establishing Buddhism as the foremost religion and a duty for the Sri Lankan state to protect and foster the Buddha. In October 2006, the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues released a statement calling for the government to guarantee more inclusive governance and effective participation of minorities and the respect of political, linguistic and religious rights.


Resources :

LINK : Sri Lankan Elections: Not Just a Victory for Minorities- The Platform (2015)  
LINK : Minorities Taking the Revenge: Reading Sri Lanka Election Results 2015- Colombo Telegraph (2015)  
LINK : Minorities’ support for opposition intensifies election race in Sri Lanka- Xinhua Net (2014)  
LINK : Minorities’ Support for Opposition Intensifies Election Race in Sri Lanka- (2014)  
LINK : Elections and Minorities: Present Problems and Alternatives for the Future- Centre for Policy Alternatives (2010)   
PDF : Elections and the Roles of Minorities: Present Problems and Alternatives for Future (Centre for Policy Alternatives: 2010)


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