Geographic and Governmental Profile of Sri Lanka

Background
The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was formally united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006, but the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. By May 2009, the government announced that its military had defeated the remnants of the LTTE. Since the end of the conflict, the government has enacted an ambitious program of economic development projects, many of which are financed by loans from the Government of China. In addition to efforts to reconstruct its economy, the government has resettled more than 95% of those civilians who were displaced during the final phase of the conflict and released the vast majority of former LTTE combatants captured by Government Security Forces. At the same time, there has been little progress on more contentious and politically difficult issues such as reaching a political settlement with Tamil elected representatives and holding accountable those alleged to have been involved in human rights violations at the end of the war.
Location
Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India
Geographic coordinates
7 00 N, 81 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Asia
Area
total:
65,610 sq km
rank:
122
land:
64,630 sq km
water:
980 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
1,340 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate
tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)
Terrain
mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Pidurutalagala 2,524 m
Natural resources
limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower
Land use
arable land:
13.96%
permanent crops:
15.24%
other:
70.8% (2005)
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Irrigated land
5,700 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
50 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
12.61 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%)
per capita:
608 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
occasional cyclones and tornadoes
Environment - current issues
deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note
strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes
Country name
conventional long form:
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
conventional short form:
Sri Lanka
local long form:
Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu
local short form:
Shri Lanka/Ilankai
former:
Serendib, Ceylon
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Colombo
geographic coordinates:
6 55 N, 79 50 E
time difference:
UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
Administrative divisions
9 provinces; Central, Eastern, North Central, Northern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western
Independence
4 February 1948 (from the UK)
Constitution
adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978; amended 20 December 2001
Legal system
mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Mahinda Percy RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; Dissanayake Mudiyanselage JAYARATNE holds the largely ceremonial title of prime minister (since 21 April 2010)
head of government:
President Mahinda Percy RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005)
cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a six-year term, eligible for a second term; election last held on 26 January 2010 (next to be held in 2016)
election results:
Mahinda RAJAPAKSA reelected president for second term; percent of vote - Mahinda RAJAPAKSA 57.88%, Sarath FONSEKA 40.15%, other 1.97%
Legislative branch
unicameral Parliament (225 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of an open-list, proportional representation system by electoral district to serve six-year terms)
elections:
last held on 8 April 2010 with a repoll in two electorates held on 20 April 2010 (next to be held by April 2016)
election results:
percent of vote by alliance or party - United People's Freedom Alliance 60.93%, United National Party 29.34%, Democratic National Alliance 5.49%, Tamil National Alliance 2.9%, other 1.94%; seats by alliance or party - United People's Freedom Alliance 144, United National Party 60, Tamil National Alliance 14, Democratic National Alliance 7
Judicial branch
Supreme Court; Court of Appeals; judges for both courts are appointed by the president
Political parties and leaders
Coalitions and leaders: Democratic National Alliance led by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna or JVP [Somawansa AMARASINGHE]; Tamil National Alliance led by Illandai Tamil Arasu Kachchi [R. SAMPANTHAN]; United National Front led by United National Party [Ranil WICKREMESINGHE]; United People's Freedom Alliance led by Sri Lanka Freedom Party [Mahinda RAJAPAKSA]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE [P. SIVAPARAN, Chief of International Secretariat; V. RUDRAKUMARAN, legal advisor]; note - this insurgent group suffered military defeat in May 2009; some cadres remain scattered throughout country, but there have not been any incidents in Sri Lanka since May 2009
other:
Buddhist clergy; labor unions; hard-line nationalist Sinhalese groups such as the National Movement Against Terrorism; Sinhalese Buddhist lay groups
International organization participation
ABEDA, ADB, ARF, BIMSTEC, C, CP, FAO, G-11, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, SAARC, SACEP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Jaliya Chitran WICKRAMASURIYA
chancery:
2148 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 483-4025 through 4028
FAX:
[1] (202) 232-7181
consulate(s) general:
Los Angeles
consulate(s):
New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Michele J. SISON
embassy:
210 Galle Road, Colombo 3
mailing address:
P. O. Box 106, Colombo
telephone:
[94] (11) 249-8500
FAX:
[94] (11) 243-7345
Flag description
yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other larger panel depicts a yellow lion holding a sword on a dark red rectangular field that also displays a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels; the lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation, and bravery; the sword demonstrates the sovereignty of the nation; the four bo leaves - symbolizing Buddhism and its influence on the country - stand for the four virtues of kindness, friendliness, happiness, and equanimity; orange signifies Sri Lankan Tamils, green the Sri Lankan Moors; dark red represents the European Burghers, but also refers to the rich colonial background of the country; yellow denotes other ethnic groups; also referred to as the Lion Flag
National symbol(s)
lion
National anthem
name:
"Sri Lanka Matha" (Mother Sri Lanka)
lyrics/music:
Ananda SAMARKONE
adopted 1951
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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