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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Summary

After emerging from a civil war in 2009, Sri Lanka continued to struggle with widespread corruption. UN mandates in 2015 forced the government to re-draft its constitution and work to amend war crimes against many of its citizens.1 Since then, the country has experienced economic growth, but it still maintains a low standard of living and a high percentage of its population lives on less than $5 a day.2 1 https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/sri-lanka 2 http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2017/03/02/part1-understanding-poverty-sri-lanka

Demographics

Nationality
Sri Lankan
Population
21,675,648 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Explore Sri Lanka Subcases

Click and view Sri Lanka subcases and learn more about our Sri Lanka

Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

Some environmental issues that face Sri Lanka are freshwater pollution, deforestation, wildlife poaching, and soil erosion.1 Climate change has increased the amount of extreme weather events like droughts and flooding. The majority of the country’s citizens live in low-lying coastal areas, which are the regions most affected by flooding and natural disasters.2 A lack of effective environmental policies coupled with land degradation creates a need for more action to preserve the environment.3

Family

Family planning services are active in Sri Lanka with educational centers and health clinics. These clinics provide both rural and urban areas with contraceptive options and reproductive health education programs. There are also easily accessible STI and HIV screenings throughout the country.1 Additionally, there are high levels of domestic violence in Sri Lanka and the issue is exacerbated by the fact that many women are unaware of their rights and afraid to seek help. Implementation of consequences is weak, and there are no support systems in place for women who escape abusive situations.2

Human Rights

During the country’s 26 year long civil war, the Tamir Tigers rebel group and government forces committed many human rights offenses. Citizens experienced violence and torture at the hands of military forces, freedom of speech was repressed, and thousands of people were forcibly displaced from their homes.1 In 2015, the government took its first steps towards restoring justice to victims of war crimes and reducing corruption. This involved judicial reforms in an attempt to increase efficiency and reform of constitutional laws to increase government transparency. There are still many ways in which the state of human rights is unsatisfactory. Women are not given equal opportunities for employment or proper representation in the courts. Police are known to use torture and carry out arbitrary arrests.2 Show Less

Education

School in Sri Lanka is free and compulsory through age 16, and enrollment rates are high at 97%. There is also a high dropout rate in Sri Lanka, so it is rare to see students complete education beyond the halfway point of secondary education. Dropout rates are around 50% for children in rural or low-income areas. Quality is another concern, as 62% of teachers have not received formal training, which results in low educational standards standards.1 There is a lack of resources, updated curriculum, and limited educational opportunities for children with disabilities.2

Poverty

Living standards in Sri Lanka are low, and 45% of the population live on less than $5 per day. Poverty rates in some districts are as high as 28% and is most common among young, unemployed, and rural citizens.1 After the civil war, around 800,000 people were displaced throughout the country and lost both their jobs and homes. 40% of all Sri Lanka’s rural poor are small farmers that work in agriculture. Agricultural production is hindered by natural disasters, over farming, and lack of resources for farmers.2

Religion

Approximately 70% of Sri Lankans identify as Buddhist, with Muslims, Hindus and Christians accounting for the rest of the population. While there is no official state religion, the government provides protection and preference for Buddhists. Other religious groups have reported attacks against their members and churches at the hands of an extremist Buddhist group, called Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). The group is outspoken about its dislike for other religions, especially Islam.1

Clean Water

Almost all Sri Lankans have access to adequate drinking water and sanitation, with the exception of some in rural areas.1 Industrial pollution has contaminated many of the rivers, and natural disasters like floods and tsunamis pollute water sources.2 Government programs are working to improve infrastructure and provide piping and rainwater tanks to rural areas in hopes to reduce water borne diseases.3

Economy

Since 2012, Sri Lanka’s economy has expanded by an average of 6% per year. In 2015, a new ruling party reduced corruption and improved management of public finance. The government is still heavily involved, thus distorting the economy with large subsidies and overinvolvement in the labor market. Despite economic growth, public debt is still equivalent to 74% of GDP.1 Services are responsible for 60% of GDP, industry is 31%, and agriculture is 9%.2

Government

Sri Lanka, formally known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is a constitutional republic. After a 26 year civil war between the government and the Tamil Tigers, a rebel militant group, the government finally obtained victory in 2009 amid much controversy. In the last days of the conflict, the government slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians after herding them into no-fire zones.1 In 2015, the government underwent major reforms mandated by the UN. These involved reducing public debt, increasing constitutional law and the efficiency of the judicial system, and providing justice to victims of the civil war violence.2

Health

The government provides free basic healthcare to all citizens. Since the instatement of universal healthcare, life expectancy has increased and the prevalence of preventable diseases has been reduced. While most people have access to primary care, specialty and curative care, which are the responsibility of the private sector, are more difficult to find and afford. A growing elderly population also puts more demand on the health sector, which is currently geared towards caring for mothers and children.1 The rate of noncommunicable diseases has risen substantially in the past few years and 70% of deaths in the country are now attributed to cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes.2

Children

Following the end of the decades long clash between the Tamil Tigers (a rebel militant group) and Sri Lankan government forces, thousands of families in Sri Lanka have been internally displaced. Sri Lanka has signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, but despite this, the actual state of children’s rights leaves much to be desired.1 9.2% of children aged 5 to 14 are engaged in some form of child labor, mainly in agriculture and domestic services. There are no laws that prevent children from working in third-party households, so they are often employed as domestic workers.2 Furthermore, around 340,000 children in Sri Lanka grow up as orphans because their impoverished parents cannot afford to raise them. These children are vulnerable to sexual Read More abuse and often are not able to attend school.1 Malnutrition is a significant concern, and 14% of children under the age of five have had their growth stunted due to a lack of nutrients.3 Show Less

Animals

Sri Lanka ranks among the top five countries in the world for biodiversity. The small island nation is home to over 80 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds and amphibians.1 The Sri Lankan elephant was once commonly found all over the island, but due to human population and poaching its presence has decreased by 65% in the last century.2

Sri Lanka

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