Sunday, 18 August 2019 03:35

Transitional Justice Essential For Reconciliation Says Prime Minister

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of Transitional Justice (TJ) in Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process and pointed out that each country had its own unique course to follow. He praised NPC’s efforts towards furthering awareness of TJ and added that the government was taking steps to establish an inter faith reconciliation council made up of religious leaders.

“We have the strength and you have the strength to do it,” Mr Wickremesinghe said, referring to implementing the TJ process in the country. The Prime Minister was addressing an event to showcase the positive outcomes of NPC’s project Technical Assistance to Justice Institutions, which is implemented in cooperation with Legal Action Worldwide (LAW). Project members, including religious leaders and community leaders, from Hambantota, Galle, Matara, Ratnapura, Kalutara, Badulla, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura,
Kandy and Polonnaruwa attended the event in Colombo. Mr Wickremesinghe added that each community, with its own experiences of war, had its own concerns about the way TJ would affect its interests. He stated that the new situation after the Easter Sunday’s violence should be approached systematically without leaving room for further extremism to breed.

The objective of the project is to enhance popular understanding and support for TJ concepts and processes in Sri Lanka across all ethnicities and religions through community-based information sessions, information material development and dissemination, and other media-driven strategies, in coordination with civil society and government partners. Through the project, NPC was raising awareness about the importance of the TJ concept and addressing the most common misunderstandings surrounding it. The project has capacitated 35 master trainers, who in turn have taught the concept to more than 200 leaders of community-based organizations.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that all major political parties should work together without politicizing efforts aimed at addressing post war issues, so that the problems would not be passed down to the next generation. “While other countries have moved forward, we are lagging behind due to racial and ethnic violence. We all have a responsibility to look past ethnic differences and take the country towards success,” he said, while praising NPC’s work towards reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

NPC Chairman Joe William pointed out that it would be a mistake to think that past events would not have consequences. “Ethno religious intolerance, economic hardships, corruption, unemployment and feelings of injustice create conditions for renewed conflict, which could be reignited by even a minor disagreement,” he said.

Hambantota MP Mahinda Amaraweeera, Sarvodaya leader Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, actor, Kamal Addararachchi, Rupavahini Chairperson Inoka Sathyangani and musician Ishaq Baig attended the event. A document collating the master trainers’ recommendations for the effective implementation of TJ at grassroots level was handed over to Mr Wickremesinghe, Mr Jayasuriya and Mr Amaraweera.



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