Implementing the LLRC recommendations
government has unveiled its road map for carrying out those
recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)
hitherto unimplemented. The Cabinet approved the ‘National Plan of
Action to implement the recommendations of the LLRC’ (NAP) on Wednesday
and it was made public at a press conference on Thursday.
The LLRC was appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa more than two
years ago, in accordance with the Commissions of Inquiry Act, to look
back at the conflict Sri Lanka suffered and to look ahead and see what
needed to be done to ensure an era of healing and peace building in the
External Affairs Minister Professor
G. L. Peiris
Media Minister Keheliya
Secretary to the President
In November 2011 it submitted its report, wherein it made
recommendations regarding the correction of crimes and human rights
violations, the resettlement of displaced people and the redressal of
the grievances of the various ethnic groups which make up the
The Cabinet appointed a committee headed by the Secretary to the
President Lalith Weeratunga to oversee the implementation of these
recommendations. The committee categorised the 285 recommendations in
the report into broad groups, pertaining to National Policy, the final
phase of the conflict, human rights and national security concerns, and
resettlement, development and reconciliation - to be implemented on
long, medium and short term basis.
It found that many of the recommendations have already been
implemented, while some are in the process of implementation. According
to Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, the Cabinet spokesman, the
government has already executed 60 percent of the short-term
In confirmation, External Affairs Minister Professor G. L. Peiris
said that 98 percent of the work pertaining to Internally Displaced
Persons (IDPs) 90 percent of that connected to the re-integration into
society of ex-combatants and almost all demining activity had been
completed, while all the High Security Zones except for Palaly had been
The NAP provides a time-table for put into action the various
uncompleted LLRC guidelines, in the areas of international humanitarian
issues arising from the final phase of the conflict, Human Rights, Land
Return and Resettlement, Restitution/ Compensatory Relief and
The scheme of implementation of each recommendation is broken down by
Activity (the tasks to be carried out), Key Responsible Agency (the
government establishments tasked with execution), Key Performance
Indicator (the variable to be used as the index of success of each task)
The time-scales for carrying out the activities relevant to each
recommendation vary from six months to three years; in the case of the
tasks being sequential, the period for implementing the corresponding
directive can be as long as five years.
Committee chairman Weeratunga told the press that there would be
follow-up discussions with the agencies involved and vigorous monitoring
of progress. He added that the LLRC report, which was in English will be
published next week, translated into Sinhala and Tamil.
The NAP deals with a raft of issues, from Human Rights violations to
problems of land settlement. However, international media attention has
been drawn mainly to the planned tasks relevant to the international
humanitarian issues arising from the final phase of the conflict.
The LLRC found that, while there was no military policy of
deliberately targeting civilians, there had been ‘considerable civilian
casualties’ and it urged the government to investigate incidents which
might point to ‘wrongful conduct’.
The NAP attempts to deal with this suggestion are being criticised by
the foreign media, by non-governmental organisations and by the
An LLRC sitting. File photo
Much of this criticism was related to the cumulative five-year
time-frames of some sequential tasks. For example, Tamil National
Alliance parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran was dismissive, calling it
a plan prepared for ‘foreign consumption’ and the time-frame an attempt
to drag on the issue so that international attention would be lost.
British Channel 4
However, Minister Rambukwella said that the NAP showed that ‘the
government has dispelled all doubts about its sincerity in trying to
implement the recommendations’, while committee chairman Weeratunga said
it showed that the government was keen to move the process forward.
Of special significance in this context is the six months’ time-table
given to the army to complete ‘follow up action’ over allegations
contained in the British Channel 4 television documentary that members
of security forces had killed surrendering cadres of the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009, which shows that the government is
willing to go the extra mile.
Certainly, the announcement of the NAP will be a severe blow to
critics of the government, particularly to those of the hegemonic
ideology of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora.
Even before the USA tabled its resolution at the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), calling on the Sri Lanka government
to implement these proposals, these critics had been harping on the
government’s alleged intention of ignoring the LLRC report.
Now it appears that the wind has been taken from their sails. Tired,
lack-lustre separatist politicians must now restrict their criticism to
jaded comments about the whole process being a sham.
The cynical Diasporic hacks will have to adapt to using ‘time-frame’
as an obscenity in conjunction with ‘cover-up’. The rest of the world
and, it is hoped, the international Sri Lankan Tamil community, will
await full evidence of the implementation or otherwise of the NAP before
making a judgement.