The Sangha and its Relation to the Peace Process in Sri Lanka

PRIO Report

Frydenlund, Iselin (2005) The Sangha and its Relation to the Peace Process in Sri Lanka. PRIO Report: 2. Oslo: PRIO.

A Report for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since the inception of the Norwegian-facilitated peace process in Sri Lanka, considerable criticism has been voiced against both Norway and the government of Sri Lanka. Within that critique Buddhist monks have played and continue to play a central role. Why are the monks so critical of the peace process? And is this view representative of the Buddhist monastic order as a whole? The report concludes that the monks do not operate as a single political unit, and that they present a great plurality of opinions in relation to the peace process. Nonetheless, the great majority of the monks are highly critical of the peace process, although the data that underpin this report indicate that a growing number of monks are supportive of a political solution to the civil war. This, however, does not necessarily imply support for how the peace process is run at the present time. The report concludes that the Buddhist monks are vital in securing public support for a politically negotiated solution. However, if this is to materialize, the inclusion of Buddhist monks into the peace process would need to be considered, at least at the informal level. The report is available online only.

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