‘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
- 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.