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Economic impacts from the use of explosive weapons in Sri Lanka

The end of the Sri Lankan civil war, a conflict that lasted from July 1983 through to May 2009, may have ushered in an era of relative peace, but for many people in the most impacted areas of that island nation, particularly in the north and east, it was a hard peace indeed.  Tens of thousands of people impacted by this war, one marked by its repeated use of explosive weaponry, were left without homes and other civilian infrastructure.

Many houses, hospitals, roads, factories, farms and other places of business were damaged or destroyed. This left thousands not just without their homes but also without means of employment. With over 300,000 displaced by the violence and significant levels of explosive contamination in the North and East, it was clear that there would be significant economic repercussions for millions of people in the years after the war.

In this section of AOAV’s report – analysing the reverberating effects of explosive violence long after the bombs have fallen silent – we will examine the economic impacts of explosive weaponry in Sri Lanka in all its aspects.

GDP and exports

In 2016, seven years after the cessation of hostilities, Sri Lanka had the 65th largest income in the world, worth 81,322 million US dollars. Amongst its neighbours, from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region, whilst not on the same level of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth as India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, the island has seen consistent and fast-paced growth since the end of the war. Today, per capita, Sri Lanka has a higher GDP than Pakistan. In 1982, the year before the war broke out, Sri Lanka’s GDP was 4.8 billion USD. Over the course of the war, the GDP continued to grow slowly, with the conflict mainly centring in the North and East. In 2008 and 2009, Sri Lanka’s GDP was 40.7 billion USD and 42 billion USD respectively, having seen significant quicker growth since 2002, having reached a ceasefire with the LTTE. The years following the end of the war saw GDP growth accelerate in the post-war boom before slowing to a steadier rate of growth from 2014.

Contributions to GDP, however, are not equal across the country’s provinces. The Northern Province, the most affected by explosive violence, has the lowest GDP per capita in the country. And, despite seeing the highest levels of growth according to government data, with a 22.9% growth in GDP in 2010 alone, the North’s share of GDP across Sri Lanka between 2011 and 2015 actually decreased. In short, even though it rose, it was from a very low point. This suggests that those most impacted by the bombs of the war are, today, not seeing the extent of development as enjoyed by the rest of the country.

Additionally, in terms of both the mean and median income per household, the two main war-impacted provinces, the North and East, see the lowest incomes. This is likely impeded by the lack of infrastructural development and investment, especially given the extent of the destruction caused by explosive violence during the war. For example, the North and East today has the lowest level of households with electrical-supplied energy, and the highest numbers of homes still supplied by kerosene and gas (an expense that in itself sustains economic retardation).

Furthermore, fishing and agricultural output was seriously diminished during and after the war, fuelled by refugee displacement and damage to equipment such as boats and farm machinery. One estimate has it that the Northern Province provided 50% of the country’s fish pre-war.[1] Such output was drastically curtailed during the war – severe fuel restrictions, fishermen being forced to flee their homes, a reduction in capacity to sell their produce and the fact that it was often dangerous to venture out to sea meant many fishing families experienced of substantial drop in income. A combination of war damage and lack of funds to carry out repairs and replacements means that, today, many fishermen still have substandard equipment and even now are unable to fish.

Additionally, Sri Lanka was reclassified as a low middle-income country in early 2012 owing to high GDP contributions elsewhere in the country. This reclassification has seen a slowdown in aid, particularly in donor contribution towards post-war reconstruction, which has further hindered development in the North.


Whilst poverty rates across Sri Lanka have significantly decreased since the end of the civil war, particularly compared to their other conflict-impacted neighbours, such rate have declined more slowly in those regions most impacted by the explosive violence. Excluding the Northern and Eastern provinces, those areas most witness to explosive weapon harm, headcount poverty fell from 22.7% in 2002 to 6.1% in 2012/13. In that same period, extreme poverty in Sri Lanka decreased from 13% to less than 3 % in 2012/13.

Abandoned building marked by the violence, in north Sri Lanka.

However, the same was not seen in the conflict-affected areas. Using the Sri Lankan national poverty line of about $1.50 per day, the former conflict districts see poverty levels remain very high: in Mullaitivu the numbers of people subsisting on this rate was 28.8% in 2017, in Mannar at 20%, and, though to a lesser extent, in Kilinochchi district the rate stood at 12.7%. Other districts that currently see higher levels of poverty include the Batticaloa district (19.4%), which was also highly impacted by the civil war, in the Eastern province; and Monaragala district (20.8%) in Uva province.  Of all these named districts only one, Monaragala, is not predominantly inhabited by Tamils – the population against which most of state-manufactured explosive weapons was directed. Of further note, when an international poverty measure is applied to the northern districts, the figures rise to 74.4% in Mullaitivu, 60.9% in Mannar and 57.2% in Kilinochchi.

It is clear, even to the casual observation of the visitor, that the scale of poverty across the conflict-affected areas remains to this day, over seven years since the end of the war.

Indeed, the entire country can be said to have suffered from the civil conflict. Despite overall poverty levels decreasing, across the Isle living standards remain low, with nearly 45% of the population existing on less than $5 per day in 2013.

There is also the issue of perception of economic hardship, too. Many people that AOAV spoke to in the North claimed that the population in the North had seen better economic prosperity under the LTTE. The agricultural minister for the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) argued, that despite the war and the embargoes, under the LTTE, the North had a ‘self-sufficient economy’.[2] Data on such a claim is hard to come by, but the fact that there exists a sentiment of grievance related to this perception shows that the wounds of war run deep, and are still felt when people find themselves unable to escape from their impoverished conditions.

Loss of livelihoods

While it is hard to be absolute in terms of cause and effect, it seems self evident that for most in the impacted areas, their poverty is rooted in a legacy the lost income brought by the war. In many areas populations were forced to leave their homes and possessions, and for many reasons, such as continued displacement, looting, damage and destruction of homes, land and equipment, families continue to find difficulties in regain their livelihoods. For example, coconut plantations were severely damaged – as you drive through the North, the trees that still stand are covered in the scars left from bullets and shrapnel. According to the Coconut Conservation Society, at least 50,000 coconut trees were impacted by the war. Given proper care and growing conditions, coconut palms produce their first fruit in six to ten years, taking 15 to 20 years to reach peak production, meaning that it can take years to recover from a destroyed plantation.

In addition, for many years vast tracts of land in the impacted area remained unusable, due to securitisation (i.e. army bases being established on farming land), the presence of landmines and explosive remnants of war. The loss of income consequential to to this is hard to gauge, but it is said to be considerable.  In addition, even when the people can return to their lands to plant and grow, they must also rebuild houses and dig new wells as much of the infrastructure was destroyed.

A 2015 UNHCR survey of 293 individuals from 113 refugee returnee families across 6 impacted districts (Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar and Trincomalee), found that 59% of respondents stated that lack of tools were the main impediment to restoring livelihoods. 85% had not received any livelihood assistance. Among the refugee returnees, the main concern was the lack of or no livelihood opportunities – a concern of 77% of respondents.

When AOAV visited Chavakachcheri market, near Jaffna, one that had seen 70% of it destroyed by bombardments during the war, all the tradespersons we spoke to still felt the loss from the war in regard to their income. One garment shop owner had lost 3.7 million rupees ($24,000) and had only received 0.9 million ($6,000) in compensation. One major shoe shop there claimed that they had  lost all its stock, about 1.5 million rupees ($9,7000) worth, which they still had not earnt back. The jewellers saw significant damage to their shop but as their stock was light and capable of being carried away, they had been able to save it. All traders reported a significant decline in profit. Many were still working off loans. According to the President of the Chavakachcheri Chamber of Commerce, Mr Sivapalan, the claims from losses amounted to 400 million rupees ($2.6 million) from the damage and destruction to the area. Most, however, had not been compensated despite the claim.


The reintegration of the impacted areas into the national economy also saw a rise in southern banks offering consumer credit to those in the region. Needing to invest in the purchase of items destroyed by the war, many took up such loans, leaving many in debt. Again, it is hard to separate the narrative of grievance from actual reality, but people AOAV spoke to said they had taken out loans with no way of repaying it. A common complaint was that these loans were given easily and then saw those unable to repay exploited, leading to severe economic and psychological impacts – including suicide.[3] It is estimated that 60% of families in small villages in the Northern Province were in debt owing to these loans. At Chavakachcheri market, Sivapalan explained that many had used loans to rebuild and buy stock. At least three male members had hung themselves, he said, and that he too was still trying to pay his own loan off.


Unemployment is high in the impacted areas, with the rate in some key northern towns standing at about 60%. Youth unemployment has also been a particular concern, affecting those that grew up during the war, with less access to education or skills-based training.

Employment opportunities in the North focus on the informal sector, such as agriculture, fishing, livestock rearing, micro and small-scale enterprises, petty trade, and other small commercial activities. These types of employment are typical amongst youth, where 44% of the employed were engaged in this type of work in 2014, compared to the 35% nationally. Those engaged in this informal sector also see lower wages than those in other areas.

Furthermore, as many families’ tools and other equipment were destroyed during the war, many of these jobs do not provide as much income as they might in other areas of Sri Lanka. Particularly in areas such as fishing, agriculture and livestock rearing – it becomes a buyer’s market as the lack of equipment often means that those carrying out this work do not have the means of storing the produce or taking it to market.

For those that received a physical injury during the war, or lost the household’s main breadwinner, it was especially difficult to find work. With the main professions in these areas revolving around manual labour, people with physical disabilities continue to find difficulty gaining employment.

Many ex-fighters AOAV met had been forced, mostly unsuccessfully, to find a new means of employment. Many were left with unstable work part-time work to try and make ends meet.[4] Further, many are left caring for extended families as a consequence of deaths from the violence.

A 2015 UNHCR survey found that only 6% of respondents had salaried employment in the impacted areas, whereas, 62% gained income through irregular daily work. 19% had no livelihood at the time of the survey. Though, it is worth noting that the population of the North’s engagement in the informal sector is reducing in-line with the national decrease post-war.

For those with injuries that had been able to find consistent work, it was often due to assistance from the diaspora.[5] Though, whilst expatriate cash still sustains many of those in the impacted areas, it has slowed since the end of the war, which in turn impacts development.


Female-headed households are likely to faced increased levels of poverty, on top of the issues already seen across all households in conflict-impacted areas. As heads of households, these women became responsible for providing for their family; finding employment and earning a wage. Prior to the war, however, women rarely worked outside the home. The death of their husbands and other male family members, though, have seen women having to navigate new spaces and ones in which their capabilities were not highly-valued. In some cases the industries they seek new work in are actively hostile to their presence – this seems to be the consequence of geographic prejudice. In some areas women have been supported by their community, in others they have faced stigma.[6]

Due to a culture where only men have worked, for many women it has been difficult to find employment. This has seen some women turning to desperate measures such as loans, illicit alcohol brewing, or sex work, for example. In 2013, it was estimated that 7,000 women in the Northern Province were engaged in prostitution. With a strong military presence and an increase in businessmen from the south travelling to the Northern Province, this rise in sex work is somewhat expected.

The lack of work and pressure to earn has seen many women turn to loans, yet as they have no way to repay such funds, the pressure of repayment appears to have led to particularly high rates of depression and suicide amongst this population. In female-headed households of war-affected communities, depression was one of the most-cited mental health impacts. According to one study, 70% of the women had scores of depression that were elevated. Many people that AOAV interviewed across the North, professionals and civilians alike, cited the high-rate of suicide among women, which was often linked to an inability to find work or repay loans. It is estimated that about 30 women a month were committing suicide in the North, due in part to these difficulties.[7]

Female deminers

One area of work that has seen females welcomed is demining. At HALO Trust, for example, 50% of their deminers are female. This work has allowed many women to learn new skills and find employment. This improves their personal lives beyond the immediate monetary remuneration – they are able to clear their land of landmines and other UXO, while additionally improving society’s understanding of women’s capabilities outside of the home and increasing respect for women in general.

Deminers in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.

It is one of the only areas of employment in which women are also seen in higher management positions and can see progression. However, even with such opportunities, women still feel the strain as they balance this work alongside the work they continue to carry out at home. As one woman working at HALO was quoted saying: “these days women are expected to do everything”. A headteacher also cited female employment in such professions as harmful to their children’s development as their children may be left alone.[8] Such a claim was countered by demining staff, who said that they ensure their deminers end the day with enough time to return home to be with their children.

Nonetheless, it is easy to see how the war has created a shortage of working-age men, which in turn has led to female employment and empowerment – things that often are accompanied by a ‘moral panic.’

Quality of workers

Prior to the war, the North was envied due to its high level of education amongst the population. One expert told AOAV that the reason for such was that the North had the most arid land – so instead of finding labour in the fields, many in the North excelled at administrative work. This, however, changed during the war.

Tens of thousands of the North and East’s most educated and wealthy people emigrated during the war.  The sudden absence of many teachers meant the education system deteriorated. This in turn caused a situation where some professions are left without many suitable candidates. This has left a significant gap post-war in terms of to a lack of educated formal workers.

Even now, those best at their professions may go elsewhere to receive the better pay for their work. In Sri Lanka many professionals and other educated individuals from the North and East have sought work elsewhere or in the capital, where they will receive better pay or a better “quality of life”. The Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora stands today at least 700,000, with other estimates putting the number at closer to 900,000.[9]

Whilst both Sinhalese and Tamils moved away in large numbers, during the war, it was overwhelmingly Tamils that left if they could afford to. Faced with the constant threat of explosive violence, often, during the war, families would make the decision to send one of their elder children elsewhere – ensuring that at least one of their children survived. This has meant that in the post-war period, those with family abroad often see this opportunity to go overseas as well.  Numerous people that AOAV spoke to expressed a desire to live and work in Europe and North America, very few seemed content to stay where they were.


China is Sri Lanka’s largest donor, having funded and/or constructed 70% of new infrastructure projects since 2005. Whilst China has heavily invested in areas across Sri Lanka, very little of that investment appears to be in the Northern and Eastern provinces. To fully understand China’s investment it is useful to evaluate China’s roots in Sri Lanka. During the civil war, China provided arms to Sri Lanka, even when few others would due to the country’s human rights violations. This included $37 million in ammunition and ordnance as well as six F-7 jet fighters and antiaircraft guns. China was also instrumental in preventing the UN Security Council from debating and investigating human rights abuses by the regime and encouraged Pakistan to sell arms and train pilots.

In return for this help, China was able to secure a cooperative partnership and support by the Sri Lankan Government for the One Belt One Road Initiative, now known as the Belt and Road Initiative, which positions China in the centre of global trading networks. Sri Lanka’s contribution to this initiative was to be China’s link to the Middle East and Africa.

This investment has been focused on ports in Colombo and the South (Hambantota) and rail networks connecting them. The relationship is complicated, particularly in regard to the Hambantota port which led to significant debt for Colombo, as well as the unannounced docking of Chinese submarines at the Colombo port. It is thought that Rajapaksa, former Sri Lankan president, lost the election in favour of Sirisena, partly because of the negative opinion of relations with China, of which Sirisena had expressed criticism.

However, the loans provided by China during the war – in part to pay for expensive explosive weapons – had already left Sri Lanka unavoidably indebted to the country. It is reported that Sri Lanka owes more than $8billion to state-controlled Chinese firms.

As such, Colombo had to permit the development of the Colombo Port City Project, the largest infrastructure project in the country’s history. In addition, the government provided additional land for its construction, and allowed the Port to become an international financial outpost, with its own economy, law and jurisdiction, on the basis that it would be a 99-year lease and ships and planes would not dock without prior permission.

This relationship has left Sri Lanka thoroughly indebted to China (to the tune of more than $8 billion), and secured China a significant and strategic foothold in the Indian Ocean, at both Colombo and Hambantota, where its investment share stands at 80%. The control of the land in Hambantota sparked protest and outrage amongst the local community. Such is the price of the weapons of war, however.

Furthermore, whilst the Chinese investment has also led to improved roads and highways, Chinese development does not reach the North and East.

Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council.

In the North and East

Investment from the private sector in the impacted areas from the war has been limited, this is partly due to the war’s direct impacts, such as inadequate infrastructure, a shortage of skilled workers, problems obtaining land, and excessive red tape in obtaining approvals. In the Northern Province, AOAV met with the Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council, who reiterated that foreign investment proposals were squandered with long, off-putting delays from the government. The Chief Minister explained that there were further difficulties in attracting foreign investment: ‘the government was meant to allow us funds for this purpose but four years have gone by without a response so far, and we have no way to attract foreign investment without government support.’

Singapore does look to be filling a gap in some of the impacted areas, by providing investment for the building of a port in Trincomalee, in the Eastern Province, in efforts to boost shipping, manufacturing and tourism. However, as economist Dr Sarvananthan told AOAV, Trincomalee has for a long-time been seen as a Sri Lankan port with a high-investment potential but due to the war and Colombo’s encouragement to invest elsewhere, it is only now that such investments are beginning to happen.[10] Again the war has, then, caused delay and procrastination.

Due to the political tensions between Tamils and Sinhalese and the instability caused by the conflict, past projects focused on investment in the North have often seen viable and profitable investments in the region opposed, such as the land bridge between the Sri Lanka and India. The concern for this is partly down to a strategic concern, and also because the Southern political parties are actively discouraged from giving the North any undue preference when it comes to development.  Southern farmers are also concerned that if a gateway to India was opened up, they would lose out.

Despite such stalling over infrastructural trade investments, less profitable projects have been taking place in the South, such as the airport in Hambantota. It is argued by Dr Sarvananthan that it would have been far more profitable to build the airport in the North where many from the diaspora would come to. It also is worth remarking, that whilst the North does have an airport, it is a small airport run by the military, which is likely to be off-putting to many travellers, particularly those from the Tamil diaspora, western tourists and local Tamils who may not want to be using government services in such an explicit way.  As such the main way of travel to the South remains a long road trip or via rail service.


Whilst it is generally agreed that government funds are split equally among all of Sri Lanka’s provinces, such equitable partitioning of funding fails to account for the greater need of funds in the North due to the damage caused by the war. During the war, whole towns and villages were left damaged or destroyed, with more than 350,000 homes damaged or destroyed.[11] It has been left to other states (particularly Japan), development banks, private funds, UN agencies and NGOs to step into the breach to help out in reconstruction efforts. The World Bank and the EU, for instance, reconstructed 97% of the 50,091 homes deemed heavily damaged. The World Bank rehabilitated 369 irrigation systems and formed 1,057 new ones, as well as having worked on 1,294 km of roads and 754 wells.[12]

However, in many of the impacted areas after the war, the government’s own role was far less engaged.  Indeed, monuments to the Sinhalese war dead were built long before the destruction to the civilian infrastructure was addressed. 30 statues of a seated Buddha, for instance, were constructed along the A9, the main arterial road between May 2009 and February 2012.[13] Whilst most towns have been rebuilt, as well as vital civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and schools, many more rural areas remain highly damaged. In some areas, where the buildings have gone for so long without any work or construction, trees and other vegetation has grown up through them. Redevelopment has also been delayed due to the level of contamination in the area from UXO and landmines. According to HALO representatives in the North, there were approximately 650 mine fields in need of clearance due to the war – of these about 70 remain, though some need reassessment. It is also estimated that around 2,500 people are still waiting to resettle on the land that remains contaminated, even eight years on, whilst other areas are needed for agriculture and other uses.

One area of infrastructure in the north that has seen development is road-building. The roads when you reach the Northern Province are much improved compared to those found across the rest of the country, including the capital. However, this is thought to be due to the militarisation of the area and to ensure quick military access if unrest was to resurface. The comparison between these main roads used by the military and those leading to homes in more rural areas is stark. Many of these smaller rural roads are miles long, unmarked, and full on deep potholes, liable to flooding. For those living in these areas using these roads is difficult and time-consuming. Furthermore, the contracts for construction of such roads are known to have gone to southern businesses and used southern workers.[14] It is a form of ‘colonisation’ according to some experts that AOAV spoke to, and certainly the presence of Buddhist statues, army bases, pro-government monuments and Southern investments are all felt acutely.

Other areas of transport, connecting the North to the rest of the country were also slow to rebuild. It wasn’t until October 2014 that the rail system was reopened up to the North, after 25 years. The tracks in the North had been contaminated by mines and the removal of these were a priority for HALO, who finished the clearance, allowing the railways to begin operating again in the North.  Nonetheless, the delay added to the economic retardation of the North.

To conclude, further infrastructure development in the regions most impacted is essential, not just to attract private sector investors but also to improve living standards.


Sinhalese war tourists at Elephant Pass in northern Sri Lanka.

Tourism was severely affected by the war and saw Sri Lanka fall far behind its neighbours and other competitors, particularly at a time when global travel entered the mainstream. Since the war there has been a rise in tourism similar to post-war Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The number of visitors to Sri Lanka by 2014 had increased by over 240% compared to 2009. This also generate new employment opportunities.

The areas most impacted by the war in Sri Lanka, however, have not seen the surge in tourism that other areas have seen in recent years. In fact, it seems that the most common form of tourism in the North, is from other Sri Lankans who come to the North for the war tourism. They visit the monuments put up by the Sinhalese Sri Lankan government when they defeated the LTTE in 2009.

When AOAV spoke to the Chief Minister of the NPC, at the time of talking, the NPC had recently heard that the central government were working on a project to increase tourism in Jaffna. However, the NPC had had, so far, no say in this, and here were significant concerns that they were unable to provide input into these decisions.

Tourism is not always an absolute benefit.  The centralised government’s approach to tourism raises concerns that the most vulnerable might be exploited by the rush to open up to national and international tourism. For example, the Kalpitiya Integrated Tourism Resort Project on the West coast saw little consultation and transparency, leading to land grabs for hotel, as well as leading to severe economic and environment impact on local farmers, fishermen and other small businesses. Given the long-standing ethnic divisions between Colombo and the North, it seems that the inevitable lack of consultation and cooperation when it comes to tourism could result in further harm to already marginalised communities, and deepen ethnic divides.

Though it would be unfair to say there has been no tourism development in the area, some that has occurred has been problematic. For example, the Southern consortium Jetwing built a new luxury hotel in Jaffna, the capital of the Northern Province, in 2016. It is the first boutique luxury hotel to open in the city since the end of the conflict. It was created in the hope that tourism in the North will be a growing industry that may catch up with other parts of the island. However, problematically, those in the management at such hotels are predominantly Sinhalese from the south. Such hotels are also reported to take business away from other hotels run by local Tamils.[15] This creates further disadvantages local Tamils economically and causes divides within the communities. Many Tamil business owners also report running into red-tape when they attempt to build such large structures – whereas Southern businesses face few barriers.[16]

Some additional tourist infrastructure such as hotels and restaurant have been created in High Security Zones (HSZs) – areas which had left over 100,000 displaced. Many of these sights remain operated by the military, which mean that even as tourism increases in the North, the Tamil majority in this region will not feel the benefits, whilst also continuing to prevent families displaced from this land returning. The Thalsevana Resort development, for instance, occurred in an area mostly inhabited by Tamil fishermen before the military appropriated the land of about 6,000 acres in the early 1990s.


The level of poverty in the impacted areas by the conflict appears to stem directly from the war and the impact of the explosive violence upon homes, land and other businesses. The lack of assistance in rebuilding and further infrastructure development has slowed the progress in these areas, whilst the majority of other Sri Lankan provinces have seen comparatively fast development. Government funds are split evenly across provinces, and this fails to account for the greater level of damage and destruction seen in the North and East caused by the bombardment and shelling, and the fact that the war means certain provinces have a lower starting off point for development.

Furthermore, without compensation for the loss of homes and equipment destroyed in the violence, families and communities remain stuck in a poverty trap. The death of family members from explosive violence has left many one-parent households with complex financial and social outcomes as a result. Predatory loans and a lack of education are just some of the hindrances to breaking from the cycle of poverty, too.

For this cycle to be broken, redevelopment must focus on homes and livelihoods in the most impacted areas, and internal and external investment must be prioritised in order both to reduce the economic disparity across the country and to lessen present and future ethnic divisions.


This article is part of AOAV’s research on the reverberating effects of explosive weapons. For the main report, ‘When the bombs fall silent’, see here. For an overview and some key findings, see here. Or, to reach other articles as part of this research, please see here.


[1] Interview with economist in Sri Lanka

[2] Agricultural minister, Northern Provincial Council.

[3] Everyone with which AOAV discussed the use on loans linked this to an increase in suicide. It is also often reported in the news. For example, see here.

[4] Interviews with amputees in the north of Sri Lanka.

[5] Interview with the President of the Spinal Cord Injury Association in the Northern Province.

[6] Interview with Jessica Lambert, Assistant Professor, California State. 21 November 2017.

[7] Interview with HALO representatives in Kilinochchi. It should be mentioned, however, that suicide has a long tradition in Sri Lanka – with Sri Lanka being the world’s worst impacted countries for suicides at one point.  It is hard to be absolute as to the root causes of such self-harm, therefore.

[8] Headteacher at a school in Kilinochchi.

[9] De Silva, K.M. 2012. Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE, Penguin. Also, see here.

[10] Interview with Dr Muttukrishna Sarvananthan

[11] Devoic, B. 2013. ‘Sri Lanka: Physical Reconstruction and Economic Development as Conflict Prevention Factors’, CIRR, XIX (69), 55-75.

[12] Devoic, B. 2013. ‘Sri Lanka: Physical Reconstruction and Economic Development as Conflict Prevention Factors’, CIRR, XIX (69), 55-75.

[13] Subramanian, S. 2014. The Divided Island. Atlantic Books.

[14] Interview with representatives from the Jaffna Chamber of Commerce.

[15] Representatives from the Jaffna Chamber of Commerce

[16] Representatives from the Jaffna Chamber of Commerce