The International Community’s Intervention during the Conclusion of the War in Sri Lanka

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  • July 2016

    This article explores the backdrop of the engagement between the International Community (IC) and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) over the conduct of the military during the last stages of its engagement with the secessionist Tamil militants which (especially from January to May 2009) led to a humanitarian crisis. The efforts of the IC to persuade the GoSL to halt the military operations and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to concede defeat, to ensure human security, were a failure. This article discusses the IC’s engagement with the GoSL, which followed an ambivalent posture—advocating a political solution as a means of ending the war while supporting the GoSL’s military engagement—and explores how such deliberate ambivalence enabled the GoSL to subvert the authority of the IC and consolidate its position both locally and globally, to take the military engagement to a decisive conclusion. Furthermore, the paper contends that the GoSL could successfully, albeit temporarily, resist the IC’s efforts at intervention to safeguard human security in the war zone, which led to a humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka.