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Sunday, June 16, 2024

LLRC report out what next?

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report presented to the Parliament on last Friday envisaged with 285 main recommendations including allegations for both the major political parties of the country and Tamil political leaders. It has also called for a joint declaration of apology from political leaders of all sides to the country’s citizens who have suffered as a result of the 30 year long conflict.

The Commission further recommends that a separate event be set apart on National Day to express solidarity and empathy with all victims of the tragic conflict and ‘pledge our collective commitment to ensure that there should never be such bloodletting in the country again.”

“Based on the testimonies it received the Commission feels that this commemorative gesture, on such a solemn occasion , and at a high political level, would produce the necessary impetus to the reconciliation process the nation as a whole is now poised to undertake,” the LLRC report says.
The Commission highlighting the lack of a political consensus and a multi-party approach on critical national issues such as the issue of devolution said “the process of reconciliation requires the full acknowledgement of the tragedy of the conflict and the collective act of contrition by the political leaders and the civil society, of both Sinhala and Tamil communities.”

The final report of the LLRC specially points out that the conflict could have been avoided had the Southern political leaders of the two main political parties acted in the national interest and forged a consensus between them to offer an acceptable solution to the Tamil people.

It further says “Tamil political leaders were equally responsible for this conflict which could have been avoided had the Tamil leaders refrained from promoting an armed campaign towards secession, acquiescing in the violence and the terrorist methods used by the LTTE against both the Sinhala and Tamil people, and failing to come out strongly and fearlessly against the LTTE and their atrocious practices.”
The Nation had a cross-section from a few ministers, parliamentarians, politicians and professionals though the most of them were not fully gone through the report. Here are excerpts of their views.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Suresh Premachandran expressed his disappointment over the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report stating that it did not address the main reasons behind the ethnic crisis.

TNA Parliamentarian said the report mainly defended the army while criticising certain individuals of misconduct and human rights violations. “This problem is not about taking action against certain individuals. The problem at hand is larger than that,” he said.
Premachandran also pointed out that the LLRC did not have the mandate to investigate into the incidents during the final stages of the war. “The mandate was to look into reasons for the failure of the ceasefire agreement of 2002,” he added.

Premachandran also said the report had failed to mention a solution or a framework through which a solution should be reached. “The Commission has failed to look into the reasons that caused the conflict and has also failed to come up with a framework to the solution. Nothing has been mentioned about devolution of power. No one has been held accountable for the issue,” he said.
Senior Minister, Scientific Affairs, Professor Tissa Vitharana said the LLRC report indicated of a serious effort to address the political issues of the country and called upon the government to implement its recommendations in full.

He said the Commission had looked at matters from an objective angle and raised pertinent points. “The report indicates a serious effort to address the country’s ethnic crisis. This would help create a better impression of the LLRC in the eyes of the people here and abroad,” he said.

UNP Parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said the government should address the recommendations given by the LLRC immediately.

“I am yet to go through the report. But what I can say is that the report and its suggestions should not go into dustbin. This is a very important report and the government should consider its recommendations and act on them as soon as possible,” he said. Democratic People’s Front (DPF) Leader and former parliamentarian, Mano Ganeshan said it was the government’s responsibility to act upon the recommendations of the LLRC. He stated the LLRC had been the focus of the local and international community following the release of the report of the UN panel.

“I am yet to go through the complete report. But, what I can say from the information I have received is that the LLRC has not addressed some of the core issues,” he said.
Chairman of the National Peace Council (NPC), Dr. Jehan Perera says the commission has drafted its recommendations keeping in mind the people, the victims and democracy of the country. Perera said the commission had accepted that there was an unresolved Tamil grievance and pointed out the failure of the political leaders to find a political solution to the ethnic crisis. He said this was a shift from the government thinking, which was focused on economic development post war.

“The commission has also expressed its concerns over the failure of the government to implement some of its interim recommendations fully. It has said that the government needed to take conclusive actions against issues such as disarming armed groups,” he said. “The recommendations have been written with care for the people and the democracy of the country. Now the challenge for the government is to implement the recommendations,” he said.
He said that while the commission had said that the government had given highest priority to civilian safety, it had also recommended investigations into the allegations of human rights violations and issues relating to war crimes.

JVP Propaganda Secretary and Parliamentarian, Vijitha Herath said the party would not comment on the report before reading it. “We need more time to study the report fully. Our focus is not solely on the LLRC report alone but also on other issues that surround it. We plan to study it in detail and release a statement to the media soon,” he said.

General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Hasan Ali said this was a golden opportunity for the country go towards a solution to the ethnic crisis. He said the report of the LLRC submitted to Parliament last week amidst huge expectations, should be used to address the issues of the minorities and find a solution acceptable to all.
“Everything is on the table now. There is no need to play hide and seek. The government should implement each and every recommendation mentioned in the report by getting inputs from all parties especially the minorities,” he said. 
He also said the TNA had assured that it would not accept a solution that would not address the concerns of the Muslims.

“Only President Mahinda Rajapaksa can solve this issue. He has the support of the majority and they will support his moves. In addition, the TNA and the SLMC have been talking to each other and have an understanding. Therefore, this is an opportunity that should not be missed,” he said.
JVP Parliamentarian (rebel group) Ajith Kumara said it was encouraging to note the commission had accepted that the Tamil people had been subjected to injustices while blaming the Sinhala and Tamil political leadership for their grievances.

“We would need to study the report carefully before taking a stand. However, it is encouraging to note the report has acknowledged that the Tamil people have been subjected to gross injustices, and that the main political parties that governed this country are chiefly responsible for the ethnic problem. It is also noteworthy that the report blames certain Tamil political parties for not speaking up against LTTE terrorism. These acknowledgments are welcome,” he said.

JHU Legal Advisor and Western Provincial Council member, Udaya Gammanpila said that the party was yet to discuss the report. He said the party would meet and decide whether to accept or reject the recommendations by the LLRC. “We do not want to jump to a speedy conclusion regarding this report. There are several options open to us. We can reject them entirely, welcome them, or welcome them subject to certain conditions. We are going to appoint a committee to study the entire report. We will make our stand known within a week,” he said.

Compiled by Arthur Wamanan and Sandun Jayawardane
The Nation


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