Diakonia - People change the world

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a constitutional, multi-party republic with a population of 21 million. In May 2009, after two decades of civil war between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the government announced that its military had finally defeated the remnants of the LTTE. A large number of civilians were killed and displaced during the war. In the beginning of 2015 elections were held in Sri Lanka. 


Decreasing political rights

When the domestic war ended in 2009, the Sri Lankian government focused on economic development, which has enabled Sri Lanka to gain the status as a lower middle income country. However, there is still an urgent need for accountability and reconciliation if the country's conflict is to be sustainably resolved. This is especially necessary, as the space for civil and political rights continues to decrease with the military having increasing power. The hope for this has increased with the results of the elections in the beginning of 2015. 

Low representation of women

Statistics for the representation of women in elected bodies are the lowest in South Asia. Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia without a quota for women at the local government level. Violence against women is also a serious problem in Sri Lanka, where at least 60 per cent of Sri Lankan women have experienced domestic violence.

Our work

Diakonia and our partner organizations aim to strengthen civil society and empower marginalised people. Our partner organizations also promote and defend human rights, equal rights for men and women, gender awareness and support socio-economic justice. The partner organizations are also involved in awareness-raising, advocacy and lobbying on voters’ rights and democratic governance.

Conflict sensitivity and gender are prioritised areas for the whole Sri Lanka programme, as well as empowering marginalised groups such as women, young people and ethnic groups. We also contribute to psycho-social recovery of people traumatised by the war through the re-integration of former child soldiers into society.


Read more about our work in Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lanka: A small loan for a better future

    When the civil war in Sri Lanka was over, Thangarasa Yogeswary had nothing in her hands, but a desire to lift her family from poverty. Today she has started her own concrete making business and is working hard...
  • Sri Lanka: Going against the norm

    Mazakeen Riyas needed to take her children to school, and the most pragmatic solution was to buy a motorbike. But she wasn't prepared for the reactions from neighbours and some friends.
  • Sri Lanka:Anuradha has started to see a new world

    Disabled people are often stigmatised in the Sri Lankan society and opportunities to education and work are few. But young Anuradha Udayanga has started to see a new world, thanks to guidance and couching. Now he’s dreaming of selling the bricks and pots he learnt to make.
  • Finds strenght in her savings group

    During the long war in Sri Lanka, many thousands of people were internally displaced. Many of them are traumatized by the war and when returning to their former homes they are often met by nothing. They have to...
  • Suriya gave me hope of making my own living

    There was a time when Niventhini Uthayakumar and her husband constantly argued about the lack of money for food and schooling for their children. Finally, she became so despondent that she tried to take her own...
  • Just copy and paste

    The report Just copy and paste has its starting point in successful climate adaptation projects in Sri Lanka. With climate finance these projects can be multiplied, to secure a sustainable development for people affected by climate change. Read more about the report