Centre for Policy Alternatives on 31 May, 2010

?War and Peace? and the APRC Proposals (Sinhala version)

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‘War and Peace’ and the APRC Proposals
Dr. Colin Irwin, University of Liverpool, May 2010

The research for this poll was carried out by the staff of Social Indicator of Colombo, on behalf of Dr. Colin Irwin from the University of Liverpool who developed the peace polls method as part of the successful Northern Ireland peace process. The survey work for the first poll in this series was completed between March and May 2008 and included a random sample of 1,700 people from all parts of Sri Lanka with the exception of the Northern Province. Using the same methods the survey work for the second poll was completed a year later in March 2009 to test the then preliminary APRC proposals against public opinion before the end of the war.

A year later in March 2010 these same proposals were tested again but with a larger sample that included the Northern Province. Additionally four versions of the questionnaire were run to measure the impact that the support of the President, religious and political leaders would have on the acceptability of the proposals (Table 1).

All interviews were face-to-face and the margin of error varied between +/- 2% and +/- 4.3% depending on the question and version of the questionnaire being analysed. A copy of the questionnaire is given in the Appendix with additional results.

Key findings:

  • The preliminary APRC proposals have gained more Sinhala support after the war so that they are now equally acceptable to the Sinhala, Tamils, Up-Country Tamils and Muslims.
  • Although the majority of Tamils and Muslims across Sri Lanka want a unitary state a significant minority of Tamils from the Northern Province still want to keep the ‘right to secession’. However most of them will give this up for the complete ‘package’ of APRC reforms.
  • The President, political and religious leaders can all influence support for these preliminary APRC proposals but although Eastern Tamils will follow their politicians on this issue Northern Tamils ‘Don’t Know’ how to respond to theirs.
  • Although all communities strongly support language and fundamental rights Tamil concerns about the special status of Buddhism has increased after the war as a political issue.