Sri Lanka urged to promote local business in eastern revival

Oct 17, 2008 (LBO) – An international conflict watchdog has urged the Sri Lankan government to ensure greater fairness and preference to local businesses in the economic development of the eastern region which was cleared of Tamil Tigers. The International Crisis Group said in a new report on Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province that the government must address the security needs and land-related grievances of all ethnic communities in the region or risk losing a unique opportunity for development and peace.

The government has said it wants to showcase the eastern province as an example of economic revival after conflict, following the ousting by the army of Tamil Tigers from their jungle bases in the region.

The International Crisis Group said the government must ensure economic development in the east is equitable and inclusive and perceived as such by all communities – Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim.

“Sri Lanka’s government must devolve real power to the new Eastern Provincial Council, end impunity for ongoing rights violations and work to develop a lasting political consensus on issues of land, security and power sharing with independent representatives of all communities.”

The International Crisis Group said the government