Major step towards normalization
process in this country has been further advanced with the
decision by some 1,800 rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres to join the
Civil Security Department. Equally encouraging is the news that
by doing so they will be directly participating in Northern
development projects. Thus, the lives of these young persons,
which were nearly blighted by the LTTE, are being revived and
made to flower. The possibility is great of having happy endings
to the tragic life stories of these unfortunate young persons.
A very important aspect of the country’s normalization
process that is thus unfolding is that the state is playing a
very pivotal role in it by acting according to the tenets of
justice. It is ‘Recalling’ these young persons back to ‘Life’ by
giving them the opportunity of integrating with mainstream
society and of making a contribution towards the public good.
The state, in other words, is playing Mid Wife to the process of
bringing to birth useful lives which could contribute towards
The role of the state needs to be focused on because until
recent years the state was seen by some sections as part of the
problem which came to be described as the Lankan conflict.
Hopefully, with the state continuing to launch more and more
initiatives which would help in strengthening the bonds between
the communities of this land, the state would cease to be seen
as being biased against this or that community.
The problem commonly identified as the ‘ethnic issue’ is many
sided and complex but the perception that the state was not
acting justly, was a major factor in the conflict that resulted
in decades-long bloodshed and political turmoil. Whether the
state was culpable, as made out, is a contentious matter but the
fact is that the perception was held by some youthful sections
of the North-East, with, of course, disastrous consequences for
Accordingly, the mentioned ventures by the state in the
direction of national integration are to be warmly welcomed
because they help to put the record straight with regard to the
role of the state in nation-building. Under the Mahinda
Rajapaksa administration, the Lankan state is going some
distance to be even-handed in its handling of issues relating to
our communities and this constructive role needs to be regarded
as of crucial importance in this context. One of the end results
of the state’s current initiatives is that it will cease to be
seen as part of this country’s conflict and this is vital from
the viewpoint of nation-making.
The news of the 1,800 rehabilitated former LTTE cadres
joining the CSD comes close on the heels of the disclosure that
several youth from the North are being admitted to the National
Cadet Corps as Second Lieutenants and this too is a vital
development from the perspective of national integration. Once
again, what is notable is that these youths are joining the
state sector in important capacities and here again the
potential for strengthening national unity is enormous.
Currently, quite a number of eyes are on the LLRC
recommendations and on their implementation.
The state is on record that all the implementable
recommendations would be given practical effect and this should
help clear the air. There is no question of the government
underplaying the importance of the LLRC recommendations. The
latter will be progressively implemented by a wide range of
state agencies under the supervision of a committee headed by
the Secretary to the President and there would be no baulking on
this important undertaking.
Now, all the recommendations of the LLRC are promotive of
national integration and the recruitment of rehabilitated former
LTTE cadres into state institutions is proof that the process of
implementation has begun. Some may see these measures as
inadequate and as not being implemented at the required speed,
but the process of implementation has begun in earnest. It
stands to reason that the full implementation of the
recommendations would require some time.
We do not think it would be in the national interest for
sections to downplay the importance of the LLRC. Nor would it
accrue to the national good for the LLRC to be viewed cynically.
If a just peace is to take root in this country and if future
generations are to inherit a stable Sri Lanka, national
integration must win top priority and the LLRC recommendations
given our wholehearted backing.
Highest prevalence of malnutrition in South Asia
The South Asia region, including, Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
has the highest prevalence of malnutrition in the world. There are
336 million people chronically hungry in South Asia. With a
prevalence of child malnutrition estimated at over 46 percent of
children in the age group 0-5 years, the prevalence is much higher
than in Sub-Saharan Africa which is 26 percent.
Mid-East remains a seeming Gordian Knot
The ongoing recriminations between Israel and
its foes in the Middle-East are proof that the Middle East problem,
as it has come to be known, is the seeming Gordian Knot of global
politics. We say ‘seeming’ because this is an issue over which much
progress could have been achieved, in terms of conflict-resolution,
over the years, provided the more predominant powers of the world
worked doggedly and unitedly towards resolving the issue, instead of
reducing it to a pawn in domestic as well as inter-state politics.
Developed countries must share the burdens:
Emphasis on commitment to Sustainable Development - President
Twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio,
where countries adopted Agenda 21 - a blueprint to rethink economic
growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection –
Rio+20 again brought together governments, international
institutions and major groups to agree on a range of smart measures
that can reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy
and a more sustainable and fair use of resources.
Preventing languishing in jail
When I wrote about the Laws' Delays last week, I
was referring to delays in bringing forward laws or amendments that
everyone agreed were essential, but which were held back because of
inefficient coordinating mechanisms for all stakeholders. This
factor, combined with the lethargy or perhaps diffidence that
affects so many government departments, leads to protracted
suffering for citizens.