Sri Lanka’s war
The war, which lasted between July 1983 and May 2009, was fought between the army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist guerrilla movement fighting for the north’s independence. The LTTE routinely deployed suicide attacks, at both military and civilian targets.
The mainly-Hindu Tamil community, about 12 per cent of the population, faced discrimination after Sri Lanka’s independence from Britain in 1948. This included legal precedence for the Sinhalese language and Buddhist religion of the majority population, who now number 75 per cent of the 20 million. About 10 per cent of the population are Tamil-speaking Muslims; 8 per cent are Tamil and Sinhalese-speaking Christians, according to the 2012 Census.
After the war ended in 2009, with a military offensive that destroyed most of the Tamil north, a UN report estimated there were up to 40,000 civilian deaths.