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Winning the Peace

The Pursuit of Real Victory after the Government Won the War in Sri Lanka

by Marco S. McAllister

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Pub date: 2010
Pages: 87
ISBN-10: 1599423065
ISBN-13: 9781599423067
Categories: Political SciencePolitical ScienceSocial Science


The military defeat of the LTTE by the Government of Sri Lanka in May 2009 ended twenty-six years of war which have caused the displacement of more than 1.1 million Sri Lankans and claimed more than 150,000 lives. Winning the war represented a great achievement for the Government, and allowed Colombo to lay the foundations for the long-term prevention of a recurrence of war. The victory of a comprehensive peace is, however, still to be achieved. This dissertation analyses the case of Sri Lanka to adapt existing theories of post-war recovery to the aftermath of civil wars ending through a decisive military victory by one of the actors. The paper argues in favour of the institution of an interim period for the initial stages of socioeconomic and political reconstruction to precede a broader process of long-term holistic recovery. As the academic field of post-war recovery experienced a great expansion since the end of the Cold War, a large proportion of the studies carried out so far focuses on recovery in the aftermath of negotiated settlements. Such settlements represented the most common conclusion for conflicts throughout the last two decades, however, there is no reason to believe that the trend will continue unchanged. The study of strategies for the recovery of Sri Lanka, therefore, favours an expansion of the existing knowledge to include new scenarios that the twenty-first century may have in store. The study draws on primary research conducted by the Author in Sri Lanka between March and May 2009, during the concluding phases of the war.

About the Author

After completing a BA in Economics and Politics at the University of York in 2008, Marco Sean McAllister graduated from the PRDU (Post-War Reconstruction and Development Unit) with an MA in Post-War Recovery Studies. This dissertation is the result of a research period he undertook in Sri Lanka during the final weeks of the civil war that scourged the island for almost three decades.