Sri Lanka has been ravaged by a long running and bloody civil war sparked by ethnic tensions between the Buddhist Sinhalese majority and the Hindu Tamil minority. The conflict has caused an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 lives to be lost. Citizens and hundreds of thousands of civilians were displaced. Although the war ended in May 2009, ethnic division remains entrenched and human rights abuses are widespread.
The civil war between the Tamils and the ruling Sinhalese ended in 2009, after 25 years of conflict, leaving thousands of Tamil widows behind. These women have been displaced and live in camps because the military occupies their land. A family that doesn’t have it’s own land is not included as a beneficiary by any NGO’S.
The Sri Lankan Government has never confirmed the number of deaths during the final war. Although there is no gender breakdowns in the figures it is assumed the vast majority were men. A generation of war widows was created and the women left largely to fend for themselves.
References and Further Reading
For an overview of Sri Lanka’s Civil conflict :
- The Centre for Women and Development
- Sri Lankan Civil War…Wikipedia. (Although I do dispute the neutrality of this article.)
- Sri Lanka’s Secrets by Trevor Grant
- Still Counting the Dead by Frances Harrison
- The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka by Asoka Bandarage
Widow with Four Children
Learn about a widow whose land is now occupied by the military and is struggling to provide for her four children.