Sri Lanka to establish commission for reconciliation
COLOMBO – The government will establish an independent commission for truth, unity and reconciliation through an Act of Parliament, the presidents’ media department said (PMD said in a statement, adding that it was currently in the process as a concept paper in consultation with relevant stakeholders.
The concept paper, used to prepare the final draft of the Bill for Parliament, will soon be available for comments to ensure an inclusive process in developing legislation that strengthens and safeguards national unity through truth, transitional justice, reconciliation, reparation and social cohesion, the PMD said.
“A key objective of this process is to establish the truth regarding post-conflict grievances of Sri Lankan citizens, facilitating reconciliation, reparation and sustainable peace,” it said
The PMD statement explained the proposed commission would acknowledge every Sri Lankan’s inalienable right to ascertain the truth, a pivotal aspect for individuals and communities to heal from past conflicts, while it aims to ensure and strengthen national unity, peace, the rule of law, coexistence, equality, tolerance, respect for diversity and reconciliation among the people of Sri Lanka.
The commitment extends to preventing any recurrence of disharmony and future conflict between the multi-ethnic and diverse communities, it said, adding that the commission would also be tasked with reviewing, considering and facilitating the implementation of recommendations made by past commissions related to Sri Lanka’s post-conflict reconciliation efforts, including the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
Findings from the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, established in 2006 by the Government of Sri Lanka, will also be considered.
The statement noted that the government was committed to ensuring the proposed independent commission acts impartially, free from any political influence and that with a victim-centric ethos, it will become a sanctuary for voices to be heard, pain to be acknowledged and dignity to be reclaimed, providing closure to victims and paving the path for national unity and social cohesion.
Pending the enactment of the proposed new law, the government has initiated the establishment of an interim body, the Interim Secretariat for Truth and Reconciliation Mechanism (ISTRM), which is working to build the necessary legal and policy framework, operational procedures and guidelines for the commission, said, explaining the objective of the ISTRM is to lay the foundation for a home-grown solution for truth, reconciliation and national unity.
The ISTRM is currently engaging with the public and stakeholders to ensure the Commission is built with their participation and consultation, shaping this transformative mechanism and ultimately paving the way for sustainable peace and national unity, it elaborated.