Sri Lanka (April 1995)
by Humanitarian Practice Network April 1995

Since January 1995, the temporary truce seems to be holding, but relations between the Government and Tamils remain strained, with both sides accusing the other of prevarication in the peace process.

A number of differences remain to be resolved before the next round of talks can get under way. Despite the government’s announcement that it is finalising a political package which could include substantial devolution of power, the fact that all relevant sections of government – finance, defence, ethnic affairs, integration and policy planning – are all tightly controlled by President Kumaratunga ensures that progress is often slow.

The delays are being interpreted by the LTTE as deliberate prevarication on the part of the government. If the Tamils mistake muddle for insincerity, international hopes for the next round of peace talks may be dashed, with serious implications for the refugees in Tamil Nadu.

A governmental task force on Rehabilitation and Construction has been created. The total costs of rehabilitation are now estimated to be Rs 65 billion. In late February, the LTTE made it known that they want to be included officially in the Task Force and other similar bodies.

With no new opportunities for international aid or improved access for NGOs and UNHCR into contested areas, the refugees’ situation remains extremely precarious.