For 25 years, Sri Lanka was ravaged by a long running and bloody civil war, due to ethnic tensions between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority.
Efforts to provide justice for victims of conflict have stalled in Sri Lanka, despite the government pledging to establish justice mechanisms from its three-decades-long civil war ending in 2009. An increase of attacks against Muslims by Sinhala Buddhist militants in 2018 raised fears of a new round of communal violence, and put religious minorities at risk. A state of emergency was declared in March for ten days to rein in the spread of the violence and to ease social tensions. To heal divisions and to create opportunities for reconciliation, addressing the root causes of mistrust, hostility and fear is crucial.
On Easter Sunday in 2019, Sri Lanka was rocked by a series of bombings that killed more than 250 people at churches and hotels, the worst violence the country has seen in a decade. The attacks triggered a dangerous backlash against the country’s Muslims, and a feeling of fear and mistrust across the country.