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Title: Aid in Sri Lanka – Traditional donors and their failure to incite change
Authors: De Silva, Suren Mark
Department: Department of Asian and International Studies
Issue Date: 2012
Course: AIS5012 Political Economy of Development
Programme: Master of Social Sciences in Development Studies
Instructor: Dr. Gonzalez-Vicente, Ruben
Subjects: Conditionality (International relations) -- Sri Lanka.
Economic assistance -- Political aspects -- Sri Lanka.
Description: “This paper by Suren Mark de Silva discusses contemporary models of international aid in Sri Lanka and highlights the failure of traditional donors to tackle human right abuses through aid conditionality. The paper investigates issues of conditionality and sovereignty, thus engaging one of the long-standing debates on international aid and cooperation. Yet the author is careful to adopt a nuanced perspective that finds flaws both in non-interventionist and conditional approaches to aid. Through a well-informed discussion of Sri Lanka’s political history and with an emphasis on elite nationalistic concerns, the author concludes that traditional donors have not been able to accommodate Sri Lanka’s aspirations for independence, nor to understand the challenges posed by non-conditional aid from emerging economies. The arguments are supported by well-founded data, which demonstrates extensive research. One of the great things of this paper is that the author shows a sensitivity to the importance of political context that is sometimes lacking in popular and academic research on international aid. Overall, this is an excellent paper that demonstrates outstanding capacity for critical thinking and detailed research.” -- Dr Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente, April, 2013
Citation: De Silva, S. M. (2012). Aid in Sri Lanka – Traditional donors and their failure to incite change (Outstanding Academic Papers by Students (OAPS)). Retrieved from City University of Hong Kong, CityU Institutional Repository.
Abstract: In 2009 the ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka reached a climax. Western aid conditionality, which was previously used as a means of keeping Sri Lanka focused on peace initiatives, failed as leverage against impending human rights abuses. Such conditionality infringed on the sovereignty of the country and its ability to deal with its own terrorist issues without external intervention. This form of aid conditionality was particularly ineffective as it was in the face of Eastern donors who were unconditional in their offers of aid. These Western conditions therefore acted as a catalyst in Sri Lanka’s movement to Chinese, Indian and Iranian donors, while culminating an atmosphere of anti-Western rhetoric and interference in the country. Significant amounts of aid have since been given by these donors to Sri Lanka resulting in economic growth along with a myriad of human rights abuses, where during the last few months of the war an estimated 40,000 civilians died and afterward as a result of disappearances. This paper argues against the use of conditional aid as leverage against human rights abuses when it infringes on the sovereignty of a nation, particularly while in the face of non traditional donors. This paper stresses the need for caution and awareness in the use of aid conditionality taking local perspectives into consideration.
Appears in Collections:OAPS - Dept. of Asian and International Studies

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