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Sri Lanka: Background

This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.
For two decades, this tropical island nation was racked by a bitter civil war between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil Tigers, a separatist insurgency representing the Tamil minority. A ceasefire was reached in early 2002, although ethnic tensions continue to simmer and the security situation remains volatile. While a lasting peace agreement remains elusive, UNICEF seized the opportunity presented by this break in hostilities to make great strides on a number of fronts. Activities have included reintegrating child soldiers back into society, supporting a programme of routine immunizations, improving health-care services and providing better nutrition for women and children.

Sri Lanka now faces another monumental challenge in the aftermath of the catastrophic December 2004 tsunami, which claimed tens of thousands of lives in the country. Property damage was extensive, and hundreds of thousands of people have fallen into poverty after losing homes and jobs. UNICEF is actively supporting large-scale rebuilding and recovery efforts.


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