Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone: Sri Lanka
Reporter Kevin Sites has the assignment of covering every armed conflict in the world within one year. Each week he reports from a different “hot zone” and posts blog entries, video segments and photo essays. He covered the situation in Sri Lanka in early June 2006. Tune in for his continuing coverage on the ground in Sri Lanka’s northern territories. (June 6, 2006)
BBC News Country Profile: Sri Lanka
A thorough backgrounder on Sri Lanka, BBC News’s country profile offers an overview of Sri Lankan history and politics, and links to other BBC News resources, which explain the key issues in the conflict between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government.
Atlas: Sri Lanka
This website features maps of Sri Lanka, Asia and the world, plus an in-depth profile of Sri Lanka’s history, government, economy and people.
Sri Lanka: A Country Study
This full -text, searchable Library of Congress book provides in-depth background on Sri Lanka’s ancient and colonial history, its transition to an independent state and its political strife from the 1950s to the 1980s. It also has comprehensive chapters on Sri Lankan economy, society, political structures, and national security issues. (Research completed October 1988; posted November 9, 2005)
The New Yorker: Tides of War: After the tsunami, the fighting continues
This extensive article by Philip Gourevitch explores the history of the conflict between the Tamils and the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, and takes a look at what is happening to the peace process in the aftermath of 2004’s devastating tsunami. (August 1, 2005)
The Lanka Academic
The ongoing peace process in Sri Lanka is changing everyday; the ceasefire between the Tamil Tigers and the government continues precariously, with bomb scares and new killings. This site aggregates the latest news about Sri Lanka from a variety of sources, providing up-to-date news coverage about the island’s political situation.
Human Rights Watch: Sri Lanka
In the ongoing civil war, both government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have committed atrocities and violated international human rights standards. Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization (NGO), has done extensive work documenting these human rights abuses on both sides, and their extensive reports, the full texts of which are available on their website, detail issues such as the LTTE’s use of child soldiers, the killing of civilians by both sides and the Tigers’ intimidation of the Tamil diaspora.
Amnesty International Report: Sri Lanka
This 2005 report summarizes the 2004 elections, strife and attempts at peace talks. Human rights violations such as politically motivated killings, the use of child soldiers and tortures by the police are highlighted. Links to the exhaustive Amnesty International reports, actions and news items on Sri Lanka (139 in all) are provided in a sidebar.
Council on Foreign Relations: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Backgrounder
This short document from the American think tank provides concise background on the LTTE in a Q&A format, and addresses whether the LTTE has ties to other terrorist groups.
Tamil Eelam Homepage
The official website of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) advocates self-governed sovereignty for the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Messages from Velupillai Pirapahara, the leader of the LTTE, as well as the Tiger perspective on the ongoing peace talks, are articulated in press releases from the past ten years.
Sri Lankan Government’s Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process: Peace in Sri Lanka Website
Peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE occurred in Oslo on June 8 and 9 of 2006. The official website of the Sri Lankan government’s Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process offers an anti-LTTE perspective, and is dense with updated information from the Oslo talks, as well as press releases from previous peace talks. A timeline (link on the lower left-hand corner of the site’s homepage) provides month-by-month information on the negotiations from 2001 to 2006 from the government’s perspective. Extensive documentation of the LTTE’s ceasefire violations is also included on the site.
TIME.com: How Sri Lanka’s Rebels Build a Suicide Bomber
The Tamil Tigers have been called “the most successful terrorist organization in the world.” In 1987, the Tigers established a unit of volunteer members responsible for conducting suicide attacks called “Black Tiger.” Among the political figures they assassinated were a former prime minister of India and the president of Sri Lanka. In July 2002, Time magazine spent a few days with a female Tamil Tiger suicide squad to find out what motivates young Tamils to volunteer to be suicide bombers.
The Guardian Newspaper: Tigers at the Door
The Tigers continue to have influence over the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, even those who have been abroad for more than a decade. This article by Jo Becker, the children’s rights advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, (see our interview with Ms. Becker) investigates the Tigers’ use of intimidation to collect funds from Tamil immigrants in Britain. (March 16, 2006)
Women and War
UNIFEM: Women, Peace and Security
This comprehensive portal site from the United Nations Development Fund for Women attempts to aggregate information on women and conflict. U.N. Resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, recognized the critical role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflict, and also noted the lack of consolidated data on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls. Click on the interactive map to take a look at the plight of women in conflict countries around the world.
The Christian Science Monitor: Muslim Women in Freedom Fight
In Southeast Asia, the Free Aceh Movement fought to gain independence for the Aceh region from Indonesia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since the 2005 peace talks, there has been a steady peace in the region. The Christian Science Monitor talked to Aceh women fighters to find out why they’ve taken up arms. (June 23, 1999)
SAMAR: Women at the Center: War and Peace in Nepal
In Nepal’s ongoing civil war, women comprise 40 percent of the combatants on the insurgency’s side. This article from SAMAR: South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection examines the role of women in the conflict, and questions whether the high number of women fighters means that women are participating as equals in the conflict, and whether they will “maintain the notions of ‘equality’ promoted and instituted once the conflict ends.” (September 15, 2005)
Virginia Tech Research Magazine: Women in Revolution
Professor Ilja Luciak writes about guerilla movements in Central America with a focus on gender equality. He comments on the high number of women participants in revolutionary movements in El Salvador and Guatemala, and examines whether this participation has led to more gender equality in society. (Fall 2004)
ALSO ON PBS AND NPR
Frontline World: Sri Lanka: Living with Terror
This gripping episode chronicles an LTTE suicide bomber’s attempt to assassinate the prime minister. Video journalist Joe Rubin reports from the grisly scene and examines the “violent yet beautiful world of Sri Lanka.” The website offers an in-depth look at the making of a suicide bomber, a profile of UTHR member Rajan Hoole (see our interview with Hoole), an excerpt from Michael Ondaatje’s 2000 book Anil’s Ghost and much more. (May 2002)
Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Sri Lanka Tsunami Relief
Approximately 31,000 Sri Lankans are thought to have died in the tsunami in December of 2004. Ten months later, reporter Fred de Sam Lazaro talks to survivors, aid volunteers, religious personnel and government administrators about the aftermath of the tsunami, and a nation’s attempts to recover. (October 14, 2005)
Frontline World Rough Cut: Cursed by the Gods
In this online video report, Frontline World traveled to Sri Lanka’s eastern coast, one of the areas most affected by the tsunami, to see how people are coping with twin disasters: the tsunami and a civil war that has wracked the country for decades. (July 5, 2005)
Morning Edition: Truce Deteriorates in Sri Lanka
Correspondent Philip Reeves examines the escalation of violence in Sri Lanka at the end of 2005. (January 26, 2006)
All Things Considered: Rebels Eyed in Sri Lankan Official’s Murder
In August of 2005, the Tamil Tigers assassinated Sri Lanka’s foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar. Dumeetha Luthra of the BBC and New Yorker writer Philip Gourevitch talk about why the Tigers killed Kadirgamar, who was a Tamil himself, and how the assassination might affect the volatile situation in Sri Lanka. (August 13, 2005)
Morning Edition: Tsunami Forces Sri Lanka Foes to Cooperate
In the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government were poised to reach a new agreement. Morning Edition reports on how the disaster broke down barriers between the Tamils and the Sinhalese in their cooperating aid efforts. (January 6, 2005)
Day To Day: Politics Complicate Sri Lanka Aid Efforts
Martin Regg Cohn, Asia correspondent for the Toronto Star, talks to NPR’s Madeleine Brand about the immediate relief efforts after the tsunami, and how those efforts are complicated by the tensions between the Tamil Tigers and the government. (December 31, 2004)
News & Notes with Ed Gordon: ‘Innocents Lost’: Saving Child Soldiers
An interview with author Jimmie Briggs about his recent book on child soldiers. (August 9, 2005)
Day To Day: M.I.A: Activism with a DIY Hip-Hop Beat
Music critic Christian Bordal relates the inspirational story of M.I.A — a young hip-hop artist who grew up in Sri Lanka and South London. Her music bridges the gap between her war-torn past and her urban present. (March 17, 2005)