In 2009 after a 26 year long civil war, which included different failed ceasefires, the Sri Lankan military defeated the separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Since then, the government has been dominated by the majority Sinhalese ethnic group. Many grievances of the Tamil population have not been addressed and the international community pointed towards the slow progress in establishing and implementing transitional justice measures and in strengthening human rights and security. More recently, the human rights conditions, including the respect for civil liberties have been improving, but surges of violence between Buddhist and Muslim populations in 2018 have raised the question of the quality of security and peace.
In August and September 2018 we carried out surveys in the Northern Province, the Eastern Province and the Southern Province (shaded blue in the map). The survey included a wide range of questions on the perceptions of security and stability, the security forces and on media consumption.
The Northern and Eastern Province were selected because these area were severely affected by the civil war. The Southern Province was chosen to contrast the experience of the other two Provinces. The three Provinces also represent very different ethnic and religious communities. The Northern Province is dominated by Sri Lankan Tamils and Hinduism, the Southern Province by Sinhalese and Buddhism, while the Eastern Province combines different ethnic groups, including Sri Lankan Tamils, Sri Lankan Moors and Sinhalese, as well as Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.
For the survey we randomly selected 800 respondents in the Northern Province, 700 in the Eastern and 500 in the Southern Province, to be representative at the Province Level. The survey was implemented by our local partner Vanguard Survey PVT LTD.