When the Going Gets Tough… Monitoring Missions and a Changing Conflict Environment in Sri Lanka, 2002–2008
2015 (English)In: Small Wars & Insurgencies, ISSN 0959-2318, E-ISSN 1743-9558, Vol. 26, no 5, 836-860 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article analyzes how the conflict environment in which a civilian monitoring mission is deployed influences the monitors' assessment of the operation. It draws on unique empirical material from the experience of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), deployed to oversee a ceasefire agreement in Sri Lanka 2002–2008. With material from a survey and in-depth interviews, experiences of the monitors are analyzed and changes over time are traced in relation to the monitors' assessment of the mandate and organizational set-up of the mission. The study points to the difficulty of monitoring missions to address escalation during an ongoing peace process. Its function is dependent on the goodwill of the parties. In essence, monitoring missions have the potential to strengthen peace when there is momentum in favor of progress, but when relations between the parties turn sour and the conflict escalates a civilian monitoring mission basically loses its potential. During the final stages of the war, which saw a very large number of civilian casualties, the war-torn areas were closed to international observers. Moreover, international pressure for a short-term ceasefire to alleviate the humanitarian situation was dismissed by the Sri Lankan government, which also saw the backing of several important actors, not the least China.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2015. Vol. 26, no 5, 836-860 p.
Sri Lanka, peace operations, monitoring, SLMM, peace, conflict
Political Science Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject Peace and Conflict Research
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-267755DOI: 10.1080/09592318.2015.1072319ISI: 000364382900006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-267755DiVA: diva2:874182
FunderSida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency