Lanka plans to act on ethnic reconciliation

Cabinet clears implementation of 285 LLRC suggestions; political issues yet to be taken up

Published: 28th July 2012 08:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th July 2012 08:00 AM   |  A+A-

The Sri Lankan government has announced a road map for the implementation of the recommendations of an ethnic reconciliation commission which was set up after a three-year war to end Tamil separatism.

Lalith Weeratunga, secretary to the Sri Lankan President, told newsmen here on Thursday that the cabinet had approved a National Action Plan (NAP) to implement the 285 recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

The NAP, drafted by a small committee headed by Weeratunga, covers a wide range of issues including human rights, protection of land rights, post-war resettlement and restitution, compensation for losses suffered and ethnic reconciliation.

The NAP has identified the ministries and agencies that should implement each recommendation. It has given each activity a time-frame for completion. For example, in the case of an army man violating human rights, the investigations  within the army should be completed in one year.

Legal action as per Martial Law should be taken within two years and any further proceedings in a general court of law should be completed within two years.

Land Issue

On the sensitive issue of land, the NAP has said that a Land Commission should be appointed within two years to go into all the issues afresh. Within three months, the government should submit a report on the problems associated with alienation of State Lands in the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern provinces. 

Eighty per cent of land in Sri Lanka is held by the State. The alienation of State Lands has been a sensitive issue with strong ethnic overtones.

Political Issues

Since some of the key recommendations of the LLRC were political in nature, their implementation had to be debated at the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on ethnic reconciliation and constitutional reform, Weeratunga said. However, the PAC is yet to be constituted. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is refusing to join it.

Completed Tasks

The Minister of External Affairs, G L Peiris, said that some important tasks like the resettlement and rehabilitation of the war refugees and clearing the war-zone of land mines were on the verge of being completed. According to him, there is now only one High Security Zone in the former war zone and that is around the Palaly airport in Jaffna.

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