Recovery and non-repetition of conflict are at the core of Government's reconciliation efforts. Restitution, compensation and healing are ancillary principles that apply, said Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights, in his address at the Defence Seminar 2012 in Colombo today (10).
It is a uniquely Sri Lankan approach to a uniquely Sri Lanka situation, he said.
The Minister said that there is no “cookie cutter”, one-size-fits-all solution. Sri Lanka must learn as it goes along and evolve solutions by itself.
“Of course we look to other countries and regions for ideas. The approaches adopted in Rwanda with regard to poverty eradication and development in the process of reconciliation are interesting. South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a model we studied carefully. Many policy makers made in depth studies of the still evolving situation in Northern Ireland,” the Minister added.
Stating that Accountability appears to be the main thrust of Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process, he said ‘While acknowledging that credible allegations must be looked into, the LLRC found specific information and referred it to the Government for action’.
When the Government goes before international human rights forums such as the UN Human Rights Council in September, it will share the progress made in all aspects of the promotion and protection of human rights, the Minister said.
“We can do no more than present our case and ask for a fair and impartial hearing. This is no more than we have always demanded,” he further said.
The Minister is of the view that the peace won at such cost will not be a stable peace until and unless the legitimate aspirations of all communities are met in a substantive and satisfactory manner.
The consensus formula to the national question thus evolved, needs to be democratic, pragmatic and home grown, in order to be sustainable, he said.
In the context of reconciliation is that reconciliation cannot take place in a vacuum, the Minister said. The people of the North and also to some degree the people in the East were deprived of the benefits of national development for 30 years due to the presence of the LTTE in those areas.