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Elective Social Studies

Chapter 4 (Conflict between Multi -Ethnic Societies: Case Studies of Sri Lanka / Northern Ireland)

Causes / Consequences of Conflicts

Causes of the Sri Lanka Conflict Factor

Since the Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948, the Sri Lankan government granted citizenship to only those who themselves or parents were born in Sri Lanka. This caused 1 million Tamils to be stateless as they did not gain citizenship. This policy was enacted in 1956 making Sinhala the official language. Affects only civil servants they have to learn Sinhala within 3 years or be dismissed. 3.

As a result, the Tamils could not vote for their representatives and their needs and concerns were neglected by the government. Although India stepped in and help some Indian Tamils return to India, about 100, 000 Indian Tamils remained stateless. Tamils were dissatisfied as despite their contribution to economy, they were not granted Citizenship. Feeling neglected by the government, the resentment against the government grew, leading to the conflict. Caused many Tamil civil servants to lose their jobs as they were not proficient in Sinhala. In addition, this unfair policy made it difficult for Tamils to secure jobs or be promoted. The Tamils found out that peaceful means did not work, thus thinking that they were discriminated against, causing them to resort to violence. Aggravated relations between Tamils and Sinhalese, resulting in the conflict. This caused Tamil youths to be deprived of university education and made them resent the Sri Lankan government as they felt that the government was biased against them and deprived them of good job opportunities. The Tamils hated the Sinhalese as they felt that the Sinhalese took away their chances for university. Caused tensions between Sinhalese and Tamils to be intensified, leading to the conflict. Caused frustration among Tamils as they had to compete with the Sinhalese for lands. Increased chances of racial conflict due to hostility between Sinhalese and Tamils Tamils also lost dominance and political power in those areas. Caused the Tamils to resent the government, leading to the conflict.

Citizenship Rights (Main factor affected everyone)

4. 5. 6. 3. 4. 5.



Sinhala Only Language Policy


6. 1. The new university admission criteria introduced in 1970 required Tamil Youths to score higher marks than Sinhalese to enter a university. Affected only students trying to get into university. 3.

University Admission Criteria

4. 5. 2. 3. 4. 5.


Resettlement 1. In 1950, the Sri Lankan government transferred Sinhalese to Sinhalese peasants and the Sri Lankan Army to areas to areas densely populated by densely Tamils. populated by Tamils

1. 2. Lack of opportunities for Social Interaction

Causes of Northern Ireland Conflict Description

The education system was very different for Catholic and Protestant schools. Catholic children were taught Irish history, language, culture and took up sports such as hurling whereas the Protestants learnt British history, loyalty to the British and took up British sports. In addition, separate residential areas where the Protestants and Catholics lived in areas where the majority are of their own religion. 4.



Unequal Allocation for Housing

Unequal Employment Opportunities

Divided Loyalties

Lack of Voting Rights

The Protestants were given higher priorities in seeking public housing whereas some catholic families which were bigger and had a more urgent need for the house had to wait for a long time before they could get a house. 1. The Catholics found it harder to find jobs, compared to the Protestants even if they were as academically qualified as priority was given to the Protestants. 2. Therefore, many Catholics were usually employed for unskilled and low-paying jobs compared to the Protestants, which were employed for higher-paid areas like the civil service. 3. In addition, many Protestant-controlled government institutions and private companies preferred to have Protestants than Catholics. Promotion was also based on religious grounds. According to statistics, only 6% of males and 4% of females in the Protestant religion was unemployed whereas 10% of males and more than 6% of females were unemployed Catholics. 1. Many Protestants see themselves as British and The loyalty to different countries and the difference in wanted to see the country remain as part of the political beliefs caused the Protestants and the United Kingdom. They did not want a union with Catholics to be intolerant and found it difficult to get the Republic of Ireland as the Catholic along with each other, creating conflict between the 2 religions. government may not be tolerant of their Protestant beliefs. 2. On the other hand, many Catholics see themselves as Irish and wanted to be reunited with the Republic of Ireland. In addition, they resent the history of English conquest where Catholics were treated harshly. According to statistics, over 80% of the Protestants and about 30% of the Catholics wanted to remain part of United Kingdom whereas less than 5% of the Protestants and more than 40% of the Catholics wanted to reunify with the rest of Ireland during surveys conducted in the 90s. 1. At that time, only those who owned houses and 4. As many companies are owned by the richer businesses were entitled to vote in the local Protestants, they had more votes and were thus government elections. unfair to the poorer Catholic population. 2. Every household was entitled to more votes and 5. Catholics also had no voting districts near them, votes given to companies depended on their size. thus decided to protest against the voting 3. In addition, voting districts were drawn up to system, causing greater tensions between the include a larger proportion of Protestants rather Protestants and the Catholics, leading to the than the Catholics. conflict.

There was disharmony as the education system provided fewer opportunities for social interaction in schools between the different religious groups. 5. In addition, as the Catholics and Protestants lived in different areas, it makes it more difficult for social interaction between the Catholics and the Protestants. 6. Thus, with little opportunities for social interaction, relations between them grew tense, leading to the conflict. As public housing becomes more readily available, the Catholics feel discriminated against due to unfair housing policies. Frustrated with the shortage of houses, tensions between the Catholics and Protestants grew, culminating the conflict. 4. As it was harder for the Catholics to find jobs compared to the Protestants, the Catholics thus felt discriminated against the Protestants. 5. In addition, as most of the positions in civil service are Protestants, this showed that the Protestants wanted to discriminate the Catholics and give higher priorities to the Protestants, causing tensions between the Catholics and Protestants to worsen, causing the conflict.

Consequences of Sri Lanka Conflict

Sri Lankan Refugees: The conflict caused more than 200, 000 Sinhalese and Tamils to migrate and work abroad as migrant workers due to the conflict. More than 1 million Tamils had been displaced and 64, 000 has died in the conflict. There was also a serious problem of malnutrition and poverty in Sri Lanka. More than 50% of the population earned less than US$2 a day. Social services are also inadequate and many schools are rundown and universities do not have sufficient facilities. Unemployment and Poverty: Due to the violence, Sri Lanka agriculture was affected. Countries would rather purchase its main produce which is tea from other countries, leading to the fall in pric es of tea and lead to unemployment of the Tea plantation workers. Fall in foreign investments: The constant threat of bombings, high costs of security and lack of a stable market kept investments away. Many countries were not unwilling to invest in Sri Lanka due to racial violence, poor infrastructure and unstable conditions. Fall in number of tourists: The tourism industry in Sri Lanka was badly affected. Many tourists attractions, hotels and sometimes even airports were bombed, making tourists feel unsafe visiting Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has an estimated tourist arrivals just over 500, 000 a year. Armed Conflict: 1. As the Tamils felt discriminated, the Federal Party (Political Party) wanted Sri Lanka to be a federation and Tamil areas to be self-governing. 2. As it was rejected by the Sri Lanka government, the Tamil Tigers emerged and resorted tom violence, attacking Sinhalese, Tamil members of the police force and Tamil politicians which did not support the proposed separate state. 3. The Sinhalese also showed their hostility through violence, causing many incidents of violence to occur. 4. It had led to a war between the LTTE and Sri Lankan government and troubled Sri Lanka for more than 20 years and cost more than 60, 000 lives. With armed conflict, Sri Lanka will always remain a poor developing Third World nation with a damaging impact on the country and its economy. Foreign Intervention: The Sri Lanka conflict attracted India to play as the role of mediator but it failed. It interfered directly in 1987 by sending ships with food and supplies for the Tamils. It also violated Sri Lankan airspace by dropping supplies to the Tamils. However, the Indian peacekeeping force withdrew after fighting with the Tamil Tigers in March 1990. As a whole, the Political Impact was more damaging than the economic impact as it led to thousands of deaths due to the armed conflict and this lack of peace and harmony has adversely affected the economic development of Sri Lanka. Economic progress declined as few investors and tourists flocked to Sri Lanka.





Consequences of Northern Ireland Conflict Social Segregation

People in Northern Ireland have grown up in an atmosphere of tension and violence. 2. The Protestants and Catholics have also been segregated socially resulting in them being unable to interact with each other to promote better understanding and conflict resolution. 3. With divided loyalties and social segregation, a resulting lack of understanding between the Protestants and the Catholics makes it harder to resolve the hatred and suspicion that has been created due to the various issues which contributed to the conflict. 5. The violence discourages domestic and foreign investment in the country as investors are put off by the rising cost of security and the threat of bombings. 6. The violence and bombings have also destroyed property and infrastructure. As the economy is in decline, there is little money to be obtained to rebuild the damaged infrastructure. 7. Progress and development in Northern Ireland would be slowed down leading to economic hardship and a lower standard of living. 9. The Civil Rights Marches/Movement put pressure on the Northern Ireland government to pass anti-discrimination measures in Northern Ireland. 10. The unfair voting system was abolished and promises were also made to review the schemes for allocating government-owned houses. 11. However, despite these efforts, other discriminatory policies continue to remain and efforts to bring about power-sharing have not been successful as the different political parties refuse to share power. 1. 4. Social segregation prevents the Catholics and the Protestants from coming together to try and understand each other and resolve the conflict which prevents them from reaching peace.

Declining Economy


Political Reform

A declining economy and its resulting lowering of standards of living for Catholics and Protestants deepens the hatred both parties have for each other as they blame one another for the economic problems in the country. 12. While the political reforms initially generated were good and looked towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict, problems created between the two groups resulted in the political reforms only having limited success.