Thursday, September 20, 2007

Disarming for Peace: Lessons from Nepal

The success of the Peace Negotiations in Nepal owes much to an agreement by the ‘Maoist Rebels’ or the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-Maoist) to Disarm, Demobilize and Reintegrate (DDR) its combatants, including child soldiers, under the auspices of the UN. The Maoists voluntarily disarmed though they were in control of two-thirds the landmass of Nepal at the time. A comparison between the LTTE and the Maoists reveal some interesting facts.

In Sri Lanka, four Cease-fires have passed without agreement by the LTTE to Disarm, Demobilize and Reintegrate. The LTTE raised the issue of disarming the Karuna Group, but fiercely defended its right to carry deadly weapons at all times. The only time that the LTTE had surrendered arms was during the initial involvement of the IPKF in the late 1980s. What they handed-over were all spent-weapons.

International experiences indicate that Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration is possible in the absence of a security dilemma and in conditions of stability where security guarantees exist for the ex-combatants. It is our argument that such a situation does exist in Sri Lanka, if the LTTE is genuine enough to take advantage. Although some parties are quick to charge the Security Forces of Human Rights violations, no charges have ever been made against the violation of the rights of Ex-LTTE combatants under Security Forces and Police custody. During the Thoppigala invasion alone, over six hundred LTTE cadres surrendered to the Security Forces. They are now being reintegrated to society at the expense of the local tax-payer.

Another prerequisite for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration is the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of other armed elements, like the Karuna group for instance. This is to ensure that the ex-combatants do not come to any harm at the hands of others who still engage in offensive action. Again, there have been no reports of Karuna Group, EPDP or ENDLF attacks on ex-LTTE combatants under Security Forces custody. The third and fourth pre-requisites for DDR are the skilled coordination by a credible institution and the availability of funds to reintegrate ex-combatants into normal life. Certainly the donor agencies have done very little for Sri Lanka in this connection.

We can all agree that Communism is allergic to the Western Superpowers who call themselves the ‘International Community’. Perhaps if the LTTE were Communist, things would have worked out much better for Sri Lanka. For example, the Maoists (CPN-M) came under increasing pressure from the US, EU and many other international actors for waging a justifiable war against a manic Monarchy. Despite the Maoists' justifiable war, the US had funded and trained the Royal Nepalese Army to combat CPN-M fighters and has given at least $20million in military assistance in the past to the former Nepali government. In comparison, what has the ‘international Community’ provided Sri Lanka to fight its insurgency? The ‘International Community’ is again caught Red Handed in its duplicitous policies towards Lanka.


Sarinda Perera said...

Good point.... goes to reinforce the notion that in international relations, there are no friends but allies alone... agenda-setting will reign supreme over the common good.

defenceAnalyst said...

In international relations theory and Political science, one school of thought is that stakeholders make decisions and choices based on their own personal interests. These interests are based primarily on issue-framing in the domestic sphere. But the question is, are small under-developed countries like Sri Lanka struggling with violent insurgencies a pawn?

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