CAFOD is working through Caritas Sri Lanka to help war-affected families, particularly in the north and east, to rebuild their homes and their lives. We have also been involved in emergency response in Sri Lanka, providing aid after the 2004 tsunami, and the 2019 Easter bombings.
Why CAFOD works in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a society in transition. Moving from conflict to peace, following the ending in 2009 of a decades-long civil war, has gone more slowly than expected, due in part to a post-war narrowing of democratic space and civil freedom.
Half the population live below the poverty line, and support for education, health and other social services has been steadily cut down. Poverty is disproportionately concentrated among Tamils in the North and East former conflict zone, and in the central plantation districts, but large numbers of rural Sinhalese, especially in the South, also find themselves trapped in situations of structural disadvantage, and shut out from the growing socio-economic opportunities available to those with the means to access them.
On 21 April 2019, several bomb blasts across Sri Lanka targeting churches and hotels killed more than 390 people and injured many more.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide curfew, banning any gatherings.
CAFOD's work in Sri Lanka
Our focus in Sri Lanka is on peace and reconciliation, and good governance. Through partners across the island, we are working from grassroots level upwards:
- to break down barriers, reduce misconceptions, fears and prejudices, and help communities address the issues which stop them from moving towards reconciliation.
- to build a practice of active citizenship and constructive engagement with local government.
- to bring the voice and influence of all Sri Lankans to bear at national level in the decision-making processes which affect their livelihoods and wellbeing, and determine the shape and pace of the peace process.
We have also been heavily involved with emergency response in Sri Lanka:
- Following the 2004 tsunami, CAFOD gave support to stricken families, enabling them to rebuild their homes and livelihoods.
- In the aftermath of the 2019 Easter bombing, CAFOD worked to provide counselling and practical assistance to family members of victims.