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Multiculturalism in Asia$
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Will Kymlicka and Baogang He

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199277629

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199277621.001.0001

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Multination Federalism and Minority Rights in Sri Lanka

Multination Federalism and Minority Rights in Sri Lanka

(p.244) 11 Multination Federalism and Minority Rights in Sri Lanka
Multiculturalism in Asia

Rohan Edrisinha

Oxford University Press

One of the biggest challenges facing Sri Lanka is managing relations between its two largest ethnic groups: the (predominantly Buddhist) Sinhalese majority, and the (predominantly Hindu) Ceylon Tamil minority. The problem in Sri Lanka has been characterized as the strong commitment of the Sinhalese majority to the ideal of a unitary nation-state, and the equally strong commitment of the Tamil minority to the ideal of national self-determination. This chapter explores the factors that either promote or inhibit the acceptance of multination federalism, and how this ideal challenges some of the inherited ideals and discourses that have historically dominated Sri Lankan political life.

Keywords:   Sri Lanka, multination federalism, minority rights, ethnic conflict, Sinhalese, Tamil

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