Sri Lanka

In its development cooperation efforts in Sri Lanka, Switzerland prioritises reconstruction and sustainable development following the armed conflict in the north of the country, improving the living standards of migrant workers, peacebuilding and human rights.

Map of Sri Lanka

In May 2009, the armed conflict in the north of Sri Lanka was officially declared as ended. Since then, a majority of the more than 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been able to return to their regions of origin in the northern and eastern parts of the country. Following on from its delivery of humanitarian aid to the country, the SDC is now focusing on targeted mid- to long-term development goals. The SDC carries out its activities with its own staff in the field or together with local and international implementing partners.

Reconstruction and rehabilitation

Holistic approach to community rehabilitation

Living standards for the local population and returning displaced persons are being improved in a sustainable manner. This is being done through comprehensive measures for reconstruction and making improvements in social and economic conditions.

Activities in this area focus on the repair and reconstruction of houses as well as other facilities such as schools, kindergartens and small community centres. Preventative measures such as raising the foundations of building or installing storm-resistant roofs also serve to reduce the impact of natural disasters. Creating income-generating opportunities and strengthening local farming, fishing, youth and womens' organisations are equally a part of the holistic approach to rehabilitation in the village communities.

Disaster risk reduction, emergency relief and reconstruction


Help and protection for migrant workers

To support the country's sustainable development, measures to strengthen and improve the living standards and the protection of migrant workers and their families are being taken. Switzerland is not only supporting implementation of the law on migrant workers by the authorities, but is also helping local social aid organisations to improve their services for the families of migrant workers in their home country. In addition, dialogue with target countries and the reintegration of returnees is being advocated and facilitated.


Peacebuilding and human rights

Support for political dialogue and rule of law

Rule of law and the defence of human rights are prerequisite for sustainable development, peace and prosperity. To this end, Switzerland promotes political dialogue to initiate policy reforms, and to simplify and strengthen processes for conflict resolution. Policy reforms and a successful process of reconciliation are fundamental to general and lasting peace. Training and strengthening national and international human rights organisations are also part of this, as well as proposals for constructive dialogue.

State and Economic Reforms

History of cooperation

From humanitarian aid to development cooperation

In 2001 Switzerland responded to the armed conflict in Sri Lanka by sending a specialist on peacebuilding to the Swiss embassy in Colombo. Its involvement in the country was increased shortly after with the addition of another specialist on human rights. In 2003 the SDC opened a programme office in Colombo and a project office in Jaffna. After the tsunami in 2004, Switzerland carried out a project to reconstruct the homes of over 10,000 of the affected families, which lasted until 2011.

Today, the SDC is supporting humanitarian construction projects for over 2,000 families via partner organisations in communities affected by armed clashes. Switzerland is also the only bilateral donor which is permanently established in the north of Sri Lanka.

Current projects

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Decent work, protection and well-being for migrant workers and their families in Sri Lanka

01.03.2016 - 29.02.2020

Labour migration is highly significant for the development of Sri Lanka. This program contributes to safe and regular migration, better protection of migrant workers and an increased contribution of migration to development. This is achieved through improved policies and legal frameworks related to labour migration and better service provision to migrant workers and their families. The experiences of this program will feed and substantiate regional and global policy dialogue on migration and development.

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