Saturday, 04 August 2018 09:27

Young People Speak Out on Transitional Justice

Two workshops on Transitional Justice (TJ) for youth were held in Kurunegala and Jaffna under NPC’s project Youth Engagement with Transitional Justice for Long Lasting Peace, with the participation of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM).

At the Kurunegala workshop, which included people from the Puttalam District, participants said that seeking the truth was a necessity. They wanted counselling and memorialisation as part of reparations as well as a financial plan for those who were affected by the war.

One participant said that as there was no way to learn the Tamil language, he was unable to communicate properly with Tamils and Muslims because of the language barrier. All the participants agreed that war crimes had been committed. The majority of them disagreed with the statement that the LTTE had fought for Tamil people’s rights. Most of the participants accepted that Muslim people had suffered because of the war. Some of them believed that international intervention was needed to investigate war crimes.

The Jaffna workshop included participants from Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi. Most of the youth had been directly affected by the war and had no hope in government initiatives on TJ. They had to be persuaded to reflect on their responsibility to act as a pressure group for the state programme on TJ. They had not been interested in knowing about TJ but through the training, they saw the opportunity to engage with other young people in the country about the issue.

Female participants were encouraged to contribute to the discussions during the workshop and showed the importance of hearing marginalized voices.