Truth, Justice and Reparation
‘Sri Lanka is deeply committed to Truth, Justice and
Reparation’, Head of the Sri Lankan delegation to the 17th
session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Minister
Mahinda Samarasinghe said in his statement to the world forum.
Indeed, Sri Lanka has committed herself to the establishment and
sustenance of these values and some results of this commitment
are already making themselves visible in the work of the Lessons
Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). It is, in fact,
quite some time since Sri Lanka considered herself
conscience-bound to incorporate these values in her constitution
and traditions of governance, and the fundamental rights chapter
of our constitution and other documents setting out the
cornerstones of good governance, bear this out.
The Minister has dwelt at some length on the work that the
LLRC has set for itself and it is plain to see that justice to
those affected by the Lankan conflict and the bestowing of
reparations to the latter constitute a good part of its
operations. For this purpose the LLRC has been travelling the
length and breadth of Sri Lanka, and as the Minister pointed
out, has been listening to the grievances of affected persons
and groups and is in the process of restoring to them what is
due to them. That is, restorative justice is a foundation of the
work the LLRC has taken on itself.
Following the clear and categorical rejection of the
controversial Darusman Report by the Lankan state, very much
would depend on the achievements of the LLRC in the crucial
areas of Truth, Justice and Reparation. Accordingly, the
operations of the LLRC would not only need to be increasingly
result-oriented but they should prove invaluable and supremely
effective in the establishment and sustenance of Truth, Justice
and Reparation. Thus, would the current criticisms emanating in
some quarters against Sri Lanka prove to be lacking in both
substance and foundation.
Meanwhile, increasingly positive developments in the areas of
rehabilitation and reconstruction would prove to the world that
Sri Lanka is very much on the mend. Minister Samarasinghe has
already outlined to the world the pluses achieved by Sri Lanka
in these areas and such efforts would need to continue on a
sustained basis if our values of Truth, Justice and Reparation
are to be increasingly served.
We have stressed over the past couple of days, the importance
of Sri Lanka starting anew and this objective should be the
foundation of the thinking of not only the state but also of
those who mean well by this country. President Mahinda Rajapaksa
has time and again emphasized the importance of Sri Lanka rising
as one man, in a spirit of unity among its communities, to meet
and overcome the challenges ahead and such thinking should be
the basis of the collective endeavours of the people of this
country to emerge as both a united and strong country.
The government has gone some distance in establishing
important infrastructure facilities in almost all parts of the
country and such efforts must continue if development is to
filter through to the masses. Besides, such development must
prove to be equitable and not the sole preserve of specific
groups and classes.
Fortunately, the state has realized the importance of
bringing healing to those sections which have been affected by
the conflict. For instance, former LTTE cadres are being
rehabilitated, rendered effective persons and returned to civil
society. This amounts to building up persons and more and more
of this is needed if the wounds of the past are to heal fast.
Once returned to society, these persons must also be provided
the opportunities to further their prospects and be useful
Sri Lanka has also done right by reaffirming her commitment
to her international obligations, rights and duties and has,
generally speaking, underscored her continuing engagement with
the UN system. This is, in fact, one of the most effective ways
of defeating any hostile international moves that have been
launched to undermine Sri Lanka’s interests. To the degree to
which Sri Lanka remains committed to the UN, to the same degree
would she be in a position to muster international support to
ward off hostile moves against her. In fact, Sri Lanka already
has an abundance of good will and support internationally and
the proof of this is the strong likelihood of the Darusman
Report not having any takers at the current UNHRC sessions.
These developments are an indication that the anti-Lanka
destructive politics engaged in by sections of the Diasporic
community would not yield any dividends for its perpetrators.
Sri Lanka is in a strong position in the international community
and Diasporic elements’ efforts to destabilize her would only
back-fire on them or fizzle-out. Rather than continue on this
futile track, these sections would do well to accept President
Rajapaksa’s invitation to help out in rebuilding Sri Lanka and
thereby make this country a thriving state in which all our
communities would be winners.