President Mahinda Rajapaksa has extended the mandate of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) by a period of six months in view of the large number of persons from Sri Lanka and abroad still to give evidence before it.
In May 2010, President Rajapaksa appointed the eight-member Commission to report on the lessons to be learnt from the events in the period, Feb 2002 to May 2009, their attendant concerns and to recommend measures to ensure that there will be no recurrence of such a situation. The Commission is chaired by the former Attorney General Chitta Ranjan de Silva.
The mandate of the LLRC was to expire on November 15. It will now be able to continue hearings and submit its reports until May 16, 2011.
The initial period since its establishment was spent on infrastructure and organizational work of the Commission.
Since then the Commission so far had regular public hearings in Colombo and in the conflict affected areas of Vavuniya, Batticaloa and Kilinochchi. This included field visits to meet people directly affected by the conflict. It spent 3 days each in these areas where people in large numbers, at times around 500 a day came before the Commission and expressed their grievances, explained the trauma undergone and hardships faced, and also suggested remedial measures and aspects of reconciliation, S. B. Atugoda, Secretary to the Commission said.
So far more than 100 persons including political activists, social workers, academia, members of clergy, those engaged in conflict resolution and representatives from non-governmental organizations have given evidence before the Commission. The LLRC is expected to visit more places affected by the conflict in the coming period.
It has already submitted an interim communication recommending administrative means to resolve some of the pressing grievances of the people affected by the conflict.
The government has appointed an Inter-Advisory Committee to facilitate early in implementation of these recommendations of the LLRC.
The Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group jointly turned down an invitation by the LLRC to place any relevant evidence they have before the Commission.