Common Humanitarian Action Plan for Sri Lanka 2008
During 2007, the focus of the conflict in Sri Lanka moved from the East to certain parts of the North. The Government took action to resettle IDPs in the Eastern Districts following clearance of the area of landmines. However there has been new displacement in the northern Vanni and Jaffna areas. While it is hoped that a political settlement can be found to end the conflict in the coming months, the Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) is based on the planning assumption that there will be significant returns during 2008, alongside displacements similar in scale to those in 2007.
In the latter part of 2007, as the conflict affected more of Sri Lanka’s northern districts, the risks increased for IDPs and other conflict-affected groups in those areas. The CHAP is based on the assumption that as the Government acts on its stated intention to disarm the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the conflict in Sri Lanka will continue and intensify, and even if it were to slow down or end during the year, there would remain very significant humanitarian needs to be met in the areas of conflict.
Protection and safeguarding basic rights will continue to be the key challenges raised by the conflict. Fighting during 2007 led to the loss of hundreds of civilian lives, the displacement of over 308,000 people and the suffering of countless others. Public infrastructure and essential services have been compromised, making it more difficult for national and internationally-supported humanitarian programmes to address the significant needs of both conflict-affected and return communities. At the same time, the humanitarian community is operating under extremely difficult circumstances, which have affected its ability to reach as many people as need support.
The CHAP has been developed as Sri Lanka’s humanitarian strategy to support essential interventions during 2008. The priorities include emergency relief, protection, and early recovery, and builds on the 2007 CHAP’s commitment among humanitarian stakeholders to protect and preserve life.
The CHAP includes:
- A review of 2007 accomplishments by sector;
- An analysis of the humanitarian context and needs of vulnerable groups in particular conflict-affected and isolated communities, IDP and returnees;
- Current and worst-case scenarios;
- Strategic priorities including emergency relief, early recovery and protection;
- Sector response plans; and
- A monitoring framework, which links priorities, sector and project objectives.
As a programming and coordination platform, the CHAP outlines priorities and areas of intervention for affected populations in need. Interventions include assistance for displaced and return communities in the areas of protection, shelter, food, water and environmental sanitation (WASH), food aid, nutrition, health, education, food security (including agriculture and fisheries), economic recovery and infrastructure, and logistics. Roles and responsibilities have been assigned for the various sectors, with sector lead agencies accountable for delivering efficient and effective services to the targeted population. Coordination among sectors is fostered through inter-agency coordination structures as well as common logistic and security services.
CHAP projects will complement government capacity and ongoing efforts in emergency assistance. Similarly, activities for recovery efforts will support the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) lead. Coordination of efforts will be supported through the Consultative Committee for Humanitarian Affairs (CCHA), the high-level structure for coordination between the GoSL, donor governments and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC).
The CHAP has been developed by the IASC Country Team in consultation with the GoSL, donors and other stakeholders. The document calls for a preparedness level for up to 500,000 conflict-affected individuals comprising IDPs, returnees and economically-affected persons. The funding requirements for 108 projects (proposed by 25 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), 12 UN agencies, and the International Organization for Migration [IOM]) total US$ 175.4 million, out of which $29.2 million has already been committed, leaving the total outstanding requirements of the appeal at $146.2 million.
Statistics particular to Sri Lanka
As of 30 November 2007, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has recorded 6,679 children abducted (6,245 by LTTE and 434 by Karuna Faction) with 1,650 still being held (1,434 by LTTE and 216 by Karuna Faction). While all were recruited as children, many are now over 18 years old as of the reporting date. Out of 1434 held by LTTE, 245 are under 18 years. Out of 216 held by Karuna, 161 are under 18.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as of 30 November 2007 there were 131,469 Sri Lankan refugees in India (20,200 individuals who fled since January 2006 and 111,269 persons who left before 2002). There are also 19,649 returned refugees from spontaneous repatriations between 2002-2006.