The Financial Times looked at how Sri Lanka’s military “has so little to do that soldiers are running hotels and restaurants,” in a piece examining the ever-present militarisation of the island.
“Despite more than a decade of peace, Sri Lanka’s military remains among the world’s largest on a relative basis,” said the FT.
“The armed forces employ more than 250,000 people in a country of 22mn, equivalent to nearly 3 per cent of the labour force, according to a National University of Singapore study published last year. While defence spending has fallen as a share of government outlay, it remains the largest item, higher than its wartime peak even when adjusted for inflation.”
It went on to note:
“In northern and eastern Tamil regions, the military retains an outsized role in everything from security to business, a system critics said perpetuated abuses and prevented reconciliation. Some of the military-run farms are located on land seized from the Tigers that local civilians maintain belongs to them.
“It is to aid the Sinhala Buddhist nationalist state building project, which tries to erase other communities such as Tamils and Muslims,” said Ambika Satkunanathan, former head of Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission. “It’s also to create a security state.””
“The military, which did not respond to requests for this story, denies both past and contemporary allegations of abuses,” the FT added.
Read the full piece here.