Sri Lanka at a glance
A Forgotten Complex Emergency: Back to War Again
The internal conflict between the Sri Lankan state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has lasted over 25 years, claimed over 70,000 lives, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. The steady collapse of the ceasefire since 2006 resulted in renewed violence by both sides, new civilian displacements, and a shrinking of humanitarian space. However, many previously displaced persons began to return to areas in the east recaptured by the government. The 2007 UN Common Humanitarian Action Plan almost doubled compared to the previous year to US$113 million, whilst a total of US$132 in humanitarian aid was provided.
However, renewed fighting fed donor fatigue and disillusionment, the scaling down of activities and even the withdrawal of some donors. Although many donors engaged the government in dialogue on humanitarian issues the political climate became more polarised and hostile. Humanitarian access was often curtailed and violence against humanitarian agencies was common. Despite the establishment of a set of guiding principles by donors – unrelated to the Good Humanitarian Donorship Principles – donors were perceived as lacking a shared approach to the conflict and donors have, as a whole, shied away from funding long-term recovery initiatives.