The Justice Ministry said yesterday (10) that an Act of Parliament would be introduced to make the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) permanent, as it has been established only under a cabinet memorandum and a gazette.
“We want to establish the ONUR as a permanent Institution, which is why we hope to introduce an Act in the Parliament regarding it. It was established only via a cabinet paper,” Justice Ministry Secretary M.M.P.K. Mayadunne told The Morning yesterday.
The ONUR was established under former President Maithripala Sirisena following a Cabinet of Ministers’ decision in April 2015, and entrusted with the previous National Integration and Reconciliation Ministry as per Gazette No. 1945/41. However, an extraordinary gazette issued in August 2020 brought the ONUR under the Justice Ministry.
“We have recognised that national reconciliation is vital and that work on it should be continued into the future. That is why we aim to establish the ONUR as a permanent Institution,” added Mayadunne.
New appointments to the office were made in February 2021. It is chaired by President’s Counsel Kushan De Alwis while Sunil Kannangara is its Director General.
During 2018, the ONUR implemented the National Reconciliation Policy, education for social cohesion, conflict transformation, a psychological support project, arts and culture for reconciliation, awareness and outreach, and an economic engagement programme in the Northern and Eastern Provinces under the Comprehensive District Development Plan, with the latter economic engagement programme benefitting over 40,000 families