Sunday, 06 November 2016 02:43

NPC Fosters Reconciliation in Batticaloa Featured

One hundred students drawn from the Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim communities attended an NPC workshop on Transitional Justice at the Eastern University in Batticaloa conducted under its project, Initiating Multi-level Partnership for Conflict Transformation (IMPACT).

In their group discussion when they were asked to list their priorities in terms of reconciliation. The students said that the law must apply equally to all, regardless of status or ethnicity. They also recommended having educational campaigns on the important reform processes within the country so politicians could not exploit the ignorance of the people.

The students took care not to hurt the sentiments of those of other ethnicities. However, none of them were aware of the public consultations process that had taken place with regard to both constitutional change and the reconciliation mechanisms. This corresponds with the findings of public opinion surveys on public knowledge about political processes.

In the absence of public education programmes, there was a danger that nationalist propaganda could fill the vacuum. Among the charges made by the Eluga Thamil protest rally is that there is Sinhalese colonisation of Tamil lands and the building of Buddhist temples in these areas. Charges that give emotive or misleading interpretations about the reforms that are taking place are made in the South. The possible resurrection of the LTTE due to the actions of the government and the division of the country by the international community are some of the favourite propaganda lines. Unless countered effectively this can lead to a loss of trust and confidence and back to a negative cycle of renewed conflict.