The final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), would help wipe out the scepticism of certain countries and human rights Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) over the commission’s impartiality and objectivity, Plantation Industries Minister and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe told the Daily News yesterday.
The minister noted that those who made such comments even before the release of the report, would have to ‘eat their own words’ since the LLRC has presented an impartial, fair and indepth report.
He said that certain countries and NGOs were skeptical over the objectivity of the report, composition and mandate of the Commission, and these matters were raised in various international forums, such as, the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Samarasinghe observed that in this context, he would be able to inform the international community when he attends the Geneva session in March, that an impartial and objective report had been submitted. He said he will educate them on the government stance and future expectations on the implementation of the recommendations mentioned in it.
He pointed out that the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa had acted very transparently with regard to this report, and tabled the document in Parliament within a very short period after its submission, so that it would be accessible to the public.
He also said that the report would stand as a proof of the government’s sheer commitment moving towards comprehensive reconciliation.
Samarasinghe said that with the lessons learnt from the past, the government would be able to take measures to ensure that the country will never ever fail to such a destabilized situation as it failed during the past 30 years, and foster unity among the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual society that is Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Lanka Sama Samaja Party General Secretary and Scientific Affairs Senior Minister Prof Tissa Vitarana commended the report as a balanced and fair analysis. He welcomed the statement in it which stated that the Sri Lankan armed forces had not deliberately targeted civilians, and said that this point is extremely fair.
He also observed that a separate committee should be appointed to look into each and every human rights issue mentioned in it. He said that those who are guilty over these incidents, should be punished so that even the international community will admit that there is no need for an international intervention.
Prof Vitarana observed that the report is a very good initial step, adding that more remains to be done.
“The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission has drawn our attention to a number of important issues,” National Languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said.
In considering the evidence presented to it, the Commission has made a number of important recommendations. The minister stressed the importance of implementing the recommendations of the Commission to solve issues that have plagued the country for decades.
The minister said that the Commission’s recommendations with regard to missing persons and LTTE cadres held in detention were timely and welcome. He also said that the country needed to move away from the wartime military control in all aspects of civilian life.
Asked if the report will satisfy foreign governments, the minister said that he personally has little regard for what those countries had to say and that most have a very different agenda to the ones they claim to have in public.
Nanayakkara said that it is up to us to correct our mistakes and move forward.
“The report has drawn a good path for a road to true reconciliation”. The minister said that the government must study the report carefully and implement its recommendations for the country’s benefit.