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Sri Lanka Army

Defenders of the Nation

31st August 2018 16:55:42 Hours

Positive & Negative Aspects of Diasporas Evaluated

The Preparatory Session for Participants in the Session 2 on Friday (31), chaired by Dr Sarala Fernando, Former Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN at the ‘Colombo Defence Seminar - 2018’ underGroups A, B, C, D as the Sessions are nearing completion, invited each Group to produce their findings, separately themed on ‘Diaspora Communities amidst Peace and Conflict’ (Group A), ‘Technological Creativity: Challenges to Armed Forces’ (Group B), ‘Climate Change: Future of Warfare’ (Group C) and ‘Leadership in Mitigating Violent Extremism’ (Group D).

Brigadier J.B Chaudhari of Indian Army and Lieutenant Colonel P.S.S Sanjeewa of Sri Lanka Army in the Group A elaborated on positive and negative implications of diaspora communities while peace and conflict prevailed.

Summaries of their findings are as follows;

“Scattered populations whose origin lies in a separate location are basically considered as expatriates, mostly identified as Diaspora members, Displaced members, Exiles, Illegal Migrants, Stateless Ethnic Groups, Refugees, etc. They search for prosperity, perhaps no intention to return although their kith and kin that have been left behind.

The effects prevailing as regards the mare largely attributed to psychological, economic, long distance nationalism, organizational & bureaucratic interests. They are concerned about political & social status in host society.

In order to get best out of them, the whole of government approach,engagement in diaspora- both by country of origin & host country, contributions by governments during unstable conditions and also in order to reduce tendency to migrate, it is essential that we create conditions of prosperity.

Turning to the question of Sri Lankan diasporas and expatriate workers for economic benefits, the Group participants maintained forced migration could occur due to social and political reasons and their lives approximately - 1.5 m Sri Lankan Diaspora in foreign countries as follows;

Saudi Arabia has 600,000 (2013)

United Arab Emirates 300,000 (2012)

Kuwait 300,000 (2009)

France 150,000 (2010)

Qatar 145,000 (2016)

Canada 139,000 (2011)

UK 132,000 (2015)

Australia 103,000 (2011)

Lebanon 100,000 (2010)

Germany 60,000 (2012)

On the positive aspect, let them add a positive socio-cultural diversity to the country of residence and bring investment knowledge and technology to country of origin. Similarly, let them bring a recognition to country of origin. We can positively influence the resolution of domestic , political and other issues at the country of origin.

As per negative concerns, they create a demographic imbalance in the country of residence (host country) and consume political and economic opportunities excessively to the locals of country of residence. Similarly, they engage unnecessarily in internationalizing domestic issues of the country of origin, thereby help sustain undue political causes in country of origin. They also tend to generate social fiction through cultural invasion in the country of residence as integration into socio cultural system of country of residence would generate social fiction. One must not forget the fact that some of them are linked to criminal and trafficking network. On the other hand, radicalization of younger generation to achieve their political objectives would go on in their new-found foreign soils, the Sessions were told.