ILO and the reintegration of ex-combatants in Sri Lanka

News | 30 July 2009

On 30 July, the "National Framework Proposal on Reintegration of Ex-Combatants into Civilian Life in Sri Lanka", was endorsed at a validation workshop in Colombo.

The war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended in May 2009, necessitating a disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration process for former LTTE combatants. “The National Framework Proposal on the Reintegration of Ex-combatants into Civilian Life in Sri Lanka” was developed by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights with ILO assistance.

The National Framework Proposal is the result of a nationally-owned process which began prior to the end of the war. Since March 2009, the ILO has provided technical and financial assistance to the Sri Lankan government to develop the framework, and has promoted a consultation process engaging a wide range of national and international stakeholders. The National Framework Proposal is designed to achieve the following goals: to safeguard the human rights of ex-combatants, including the responsibility to protect and assist them, in accordance with the Constitution and the Government’s international obligations; to contribute towards sustainable peace, reconciliation and social cohesion; and to increase the employability of ex-combatants, minimize their risk of socio-economic marginalisation and create opportunities for economic revitalization in post-war Sri Lanka.

On 30 July, the validation workshop was chaired by the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe. Among the over 200 participants, a large number of government officials and military personnel were present, as well as a selection of ex-combatants,representatives from trade unions, employers’ associations and civil society organisations. The event was observed by representatives of diplomatic missions, UN agencies, ICRC and IOM. Tine Staermose, Director of ILO Colombo, made a speech. Alfredo Lazarte-Hoyle and Shukuko Koyama from ILO/CRISIS, together with ILO consultant José Pinotes, attended the workshop.