The translation of the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission into Sinhala and Tamil languages is an important step forward in preparing the ground for its implementation. The National Peace Council welcomes this translation, and making the report accessible to the larger Sri Lankan population. The translations were handed over to the government representatives tasked with taking forward the implementation of the report earlier this month who pledged to print the documents and ensure their wide circulation.
It is significant that last month the government also released an Action Plan complete with key performance indicators with regard to the LLRC recommendations. The government followed up on the presentation of its Action Plan with an invitation to the UN Human Rights Commissioner to send a technical team. Both these governmental initiatives are in keeping with the contested vote at the March 2012 meeting of the UN Human Rights Council where a resolution was passed calling on the Sri Lankan government to implement the LLRC recommendations.
The National Peace Council welcomes the recent developments in regard to the government’s plans to implement the LLRC recommendations. At the same time NPC calls on the government to take into account several lacunas that exist in relation to the Action Plan and where international technical assistance and consultation with civil society can provide positive outcomes. One such lacuna pertains to the key role given to the Parliamentary Select Committee on constitutional issues which has yet to be appointed. The government needs to ensure that all stakeholders in Parliament agree to join this committee and engage in constructive dialogue within it. The TNA in particular is demanding certain commitments on devolution before participation in the PSC. We suggest that the government should assure the Tamil people that it accepts the 13th Amendment and will seek to overcome its inadequacies through discussions in the PSC.
Another lacuna relates to recommendations in the LLRC report that appear to have been left out of the LLRC Action Plan of the government. These include dealing with the needs of families of missing persons who number in the thousands. International technical expertise can play a helpful role in bringing an element of closure to this problem by addressing the psycho social needs of the affected population, restoring their livelihoods, and help regain their lost dignity to enable them to look forward to a future with hope where reconciliation within and between communities will become realities. NPC believes that converting the words of the LLRC document into deeds on the ground would be positive evidence of the government’s sincerity in taking the post-war reconciliation process forward.
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organization that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.