However, the government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe took the decision to carry forward the reconciliation process which is another opportunity for the unity of the country. The National Peace Council congratulates the government for having had the courage and the wisdom to overcome the objections of nationalists and for having had the national anthem sung in both the Sinhala and Tamil languages on Sri Lanka’s 68th anniversary of independence. This was a message of care to the Tamil people. We believe that there is a need for more messages of care that would demonstrate to the Tamil people that they are not marginalized and are a part of the national polity.
Some other key areas for the government to tackle would be release of land taken over by the military, release of detained persons who have been incarcerated without charge for many years and ascertaining the fate of missing persons. Immediate steps taken in these areas would increase the trust and confidence of the Tamil people in the commitment of the government to resolve their problems and treat them as equal citizens. It would give more time and space to the government to tackle the contentious and sensitive issues of accountability for war crimes. The UNHRC resolution, which needs to be implemented, and the concept of transitional justice, are more than about accountability for war crimes, and include reparations and institutional reforms which could be given the central place at this time.
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organization that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.