By J. S. Tissainayagam –
The Sri Lanka Army has said it will vacate camps in the country’s northern Jaffna Peninsula before crucial provincial elections in September. Despite the international publicity the move has attracted, Jaffna’s residents say there is no significant downtick in overall levels of militarization.
Elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) next month will be the first. Legislation setting up provincial councils was part of a power-sharing treaty between India and Sri Lanka, known as the Indo-Lanka Accord. Enacted in 1987, the legislation was primarily created to resolve conflict between the Sinhalese and Tamils, the country’s two largest ethnic groups.
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J. S. Tissainayagam, a veteran newspaper editor in Sri Lanka, is now an editor and contributor to the Peter Mackler Media Freedom Blog. He was a Reagan-Fascell Fellow at the National Endowment Democracy in Washington DC in 2013 and a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard in 2011.