Progress In Implementing The LLRC Recommendations - By R.M.B Senanayake Source from - Colombotelegraph
- Created on 03 May 2013
I attended a seminar held at SEDEC by Caritas on the 30th. I went for it because it showed that the government is keen to engage with civil society on the issues spotlighted in the LLRC report. The Keynote speaker was to be Mr. Anura Dissanayake, the Additional Secretary to the President who is the official in charge of implementing the LLRC recommendations. He however did not attend and instead Dr Chandradasa of the Presidential Secretariat addressed the gathering. Dr Chandradasa pointed out that he is a Presidential adviser on a different subject but had come to the rescue of the organizers. He showed slides which displayed the various recommendation of the LLRC Report, how their implementation had been entrusted to different Ministries and progress in the implementation. He promised to make available this document to the participants. He said that the LLRC Report has been translated into Sinhala and Tamil and are posted on the presidential websites www.presidentsoffice.gov.lk and on www.priu.gov.lk. Since the report is valuable to promote reconciliation is it not necessary for it to be printed and distributed to the people? After all the reconciliation requires that the two communities know what happened and what was wrong with the way that the country was then governed.
- Created on 28 November 2012
The landscape in the more densely populated parts of the once war ravaged North is a rapidly changing one. The government focus on investing in physical infrastructure such as public buildings and roads is showing visible results. Suddenly the skeletal structures of buildings get filled out and transform the appearance of an entire area. When we passed the town of Kilinochchi, the onetime administrative capital of the LTTE, it was lighted up even though the hour was late in the night. It looked like a model town. The challenge for the government will be to make this external change an internal one as well, in which the people who meant to be the beneficiaries also rejoice in the transformation and feel that justice is being done to them.
- Created on 11 October 2012
The government has overcome several formidable challenges to itself in the past few weeks. It has now secured control over the Eastern Provincial Council even though it failed to win the majority of seats in it. The governmentâ€™s ability to thrash out an agreement on favorable terms with the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is an indication of its virtually unassailable political position in the country. Although the SLMC was clearly not happy with the terms being offered to it, the leadership of the party has evidently decided that joining the government is better than being in opposition to it. Those who politically oppose the government and considered a threat run the risk of losing all.
- Created on 17 September 2012
The last fortnight has seen several important international visitors to Sri Lanka. These have included a large number of Parliamentarians from Commonwealth countries who attended the meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Colombo. The Sri Lankan government took this opportunity to present its side of recent history and post-war developments to the visiting dignitaries. Delegations of the Parliamentarians were taken on well organized visits to different parts of the country, including the north and east. Media reports indicate that many of them were impressed by the normalcy they witnessed as well as the economic development of the former war zones of the north and east.
- Created on 03 September 2012
Sri Lanka is generally seen by is people as being a small country. Those inclined to oppose the decentralization of power to the provinces, especially those in which the Tamil and Muslim people predominate, are apt to even describe Sri Lanka as a tiny country. But in actual fact Sri Lanka is not so small or tiny. It is a medium sized country with a territory that is bigger than many European countries. Sri Lanka’s population makes it larger than more than half of the world’s countries in terms of population. Even geographically Sri Lanka is larger than about 40 percent of the world’s countries. This means that Sri Lanka is too big to be governed as a fiefdom and requires a good system of governance in order to survive.
- Created on 28 August 2012
The public meeting last week by university academic staff led by the Federation of University Teachers Associations was a success both in terms of numbers who participated and the government’s response to it. The outcome of the event also points to the possibility of domestic pressure as against reliance on international pressure to make the government move. The modestly sized Hyde Park where the event took place has been a favourite site for public rallies and demonstrations organized by left and socialist parties in the past. This time it was members of universities, both staff and students, who filled most of the park. One of the achievements of the organizers was to get some 40 other groups to join the meeting. Those who were on the platform included the icon of the trade union movement Bala Tampoe of the Ceylon Mercantile Union, and the Ven. Maduluwave Sobitha, the convenor of a peoples movement towards a just and righteous society to bring democracy back to Sri Lanka.
- Created on 20 August 2012
The highlight of last week’s visit to Sri Lanka by Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee of Liberia was the presentation of a Sri Lankan Women’s Agenda on Peace, Security and Development to the government. The many co-sponsors of this Women’s Agenda would have wished to make this presentation directly to President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself. However, they had to be content with handing over the document to senior minister Tissa Vitarana whose commitment to minority rights and inter-ethnic reconciliation has made him a popular and trusted figure to civic activists. At the event organized in Kandy by Visaka Dharmadasa whose soldier son went missing in the war and now heads the Association of War Affected Women, it was Professor Vitarana who took to the floor on behalf of the government.
- Created on 14 August 2012
In a matter of three to four months the government will be facing scrutiny at the UN Human Rights Council which will be scrutinizing the four year report of the Sri Lankan government for the period 2008-12 in terms of the UN’s Universal Periodic Review. This will be followed by the UN Human Rights Council meeting of March 2013 at which the government will be scrutinized on account of its implementation of the LLRC report. This will be followed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo later in the year that some Commonwealth heads are contemplating a boycott of if the Sri Lankan government does not improve its human rights performance. Unlike in the recent past, the government appears to be taking the challenge of the international human rights community seriously this time.
- Created on 06 August 2012
The government’s decision to respond positively to a request by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay to have an advisory and technical team visit Sri Lanka represents an important shift in government policy. The government’s previous position was that that the international human rights community had no role to play in investigating allegations of human rights violations within Sri Lanka, as that was a matter for the Sri Lankan government itself in conformity with the principle of national sovereignty. It was on this basis that the government opposed the UN Human Rights Council resolution in Geneva in March of this year which, amongst other things, mandated Commissioner Pillay to send an advisory and technical assistance team to Sri Lanka.
- Created on 30 July 2012
The detailed action plan prepared by the government with regard to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and released last week has been done in a highly professional manner, and would be the envy of many a dysfunctional previous commission of inquiry. On the face of it, the government appears to have taken the LLRC commission report seriously as the Commissioners would have wished and the international community has already called for. There are 91 recommendations that the action plan takes cognizance of. Each of these recommendations is looked at in terms of specific activities they entail. The action plan also identifies the government agencies that will be responsible for implementing each of these activities within a specified time frame, most of them ranging from 6 to 24 months.