DRC leaves Sri Lanka after 14 years of protection and humanitarian operations

During a period of 14 years, through a wide spread conflict and Tsunami causing large scale displacement, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has worked to provide durable solutions for internally displaced and vulnerable people in Sri Lanka. A lot has been accomplished during DRC’s long-term presence. However, challenges remain.
Backed by Danish and international donors and local population DRC has provided a broad variety of humanitarian interventions in Sri Lanka.

“The situation in Sri Lanka has transformed many times over the years and our operations have reflected those changes – from emergency relief during the height and aftermath of conflict in 2009 to water and sanitation, support to host communities and long-term solutions for internally displaced and returnees. We have achieved a lot but there are still challenges, International Director for DRC, Ann Mary Olsen.  

At the moment the country is not at risk of renewed armed conflict, but continued social and economic instability obstruct the integration process for internally displaced and returnees in Sri Lanka.

“There are still unmet needs, not all people have returned to their homes, still today there are people who have not found solutions, who do not have equal access to rights and who are marginalized in the society. ” says Ann Mary Olsen.

Ensuring durable solutions for the remaining IDPs and equal access to rights to all are crucial for the stability, and will require a consolidated effort from the International NGOs, local community and Government. 

“We feel that it is possible to ensure change in the country at a community level and address the needs through strengthening resilience. DRC has been very active in doing so in its work, directly with the communities or trough capacity building of local NGOs who will continue working in the country,” says Ann Mary Olsen. 

DRC’s involvement in Sri Lanka began in 1998 with the secondment of an international training adviser to a local NGO partner. The following years DRC has established programmes using integrated approach, which linked emergency relief, early recovery, and durable solutions within an overarching protection perspective.