Saturday, 20 October 2018 03:09

Youth in North and South Learn About Transitional Justice

A training workshop on Transitional Justice (TJ) was held in Vavuniya for 37 youths in the Vavuniya and Mannar districts under NPC’s project Youth Engagement with Transitional Justice for long-lasting Peace in Sri Lanka.

At the workshop the young people were taught the four pillars of TJ through presentations, discussions and games. There was also a session to show participants how to seek correct information in the print and electronic media.

One issue raised by the young people was that victims in Mannar thought the certificate of absence provided by Office on Missing Persons was actually a death certificate. This had created confusion among relatives of the disappeared.
During discussions with the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanism (SCRM) representatives, the participants raised several issues including reparation for war victims, return of seized land, the duties of the OMP, statistics on missing persons, effects of micro loans, and taking the message of reconciliation to the grassroots.
Under the same project, another training workshop on TJ was held for in Matara youth from Galle, Matara and Hambantota.
When asked why they were participating in the training, the young people felt knowledge of TJ was important to improve understanding among all ethnicities and bring about reconciliation. They said that although the war was finished, there was no peace so they wanted to know how to build a united country.

During the discussion, some participants who were from army families explained how they had suffered from the war as children.

A similar workshop was held in Nuwara Eliya for 26 members of youth clubs, vocational training institutes and school students.

The participants were taught the basic principles of TJ and said they could share their knowledge with others after the training.

They also learnt about the new constitution, the International Criminal Court and war crimes, which encouraged them to work for peace and reconciliation while building their leadership skills.

The participants felt that TJ was important because during the war human rights had been violated, so justice should be done for the victims. Truth seeking was needed to know what happened to missing persons, they said.