Amid increased violence in Sri Lanka, Nonviolent Peaceforce members are providing unarmed accompaniment to those delivering aid, as well as applying nonviolent strategies to protect human rights and deter violence. Despite the bombing in May of an NP field office, team members continue promoting accountability with armed forces and creating space for local peacemaking efforts.
“The accepted and active presence of our teams in the communities has become increasingly important when the situation deteriorates and the movement of other agencies or organizations is restricted,” Marcel C.A. Smits, project director of Nonviolent Peaceforce Sri Lanka, told Sojourners. “During those times we demonstrate to local people that we continue to offer assistance by being present and monitoring the situation, serving as a communications bridge between communities, and providing rumor control to decrease the level of violence.”
Nonviolent Peaceforce currently has five field offices in Sri Lanka, where violence has continued to rage since the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam signed a cease-fire agreement in 2002.