Nearly four years since the end of the country’s civil war, Sri Lanka remains a divided, post-war society, as the ethnic conflict burns on. It has been fifteen months since the Final Reportof the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was made public. In July2012, the GoSL released an Action Plan to implement the LLRC recommendations, yet little progress has been made on this front. Instead, a host of problems related to the judiciary,governance and militarization, among other issues continue to plague the island nation.TSA’s third report,
The Numbers Never Lie: A Comprehensive Assessment of Sri Lanka’s LLRC Progress
, provides a detailed look at the Government of Sri Lanka’s LLRC progressthat includes both quantitative and qualitative analysis. TSA surveyed 1,786 householdsacross 208 GN divisions in nine districts throughout the North, East and Hill Country. Invirtually all crucial areas, the GoSL has failed to implement the recommendations outlined inits own presidentially appointed commission. From questions related to disappearance,arbitrary detention and the rule of law to political rights, language policy, land, compensationand militarization, the GoSL continues to fall short of expectations. And, disappointingly, a proper recounting of the war’s final phases – a
sine qua non
of reconciliation – has not taken place. Sri Lanka’s grip on reconciliation is more tenuous than ever and significant changesare urgently needed in order to ensure that the island does not fall into a more pronounced period of ethnic strife.Accordingly, TSA calls on members of the international community to pass a strongresolution at the 22
session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) – includingan independent Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to examine wartime atrocities committed by both government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). According toTSA’s survey, 118,036 people perished from September 2008 – May 2009 as a result of thefighting. Like many of the other survey findings, this number is impossible to ignore.Last year’s United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution on Sri Lanka wassignificant – as Sri Lanka was placed on the formal agenda of the HRC for the first time. Astensions rise in Geneva, it seems likely that Sri Lanka will remain on the Council’s agendafor the foreseeable future. Sri Lanka needs help from outside because the country’s domesticinstitutions are in a state of utter decay. Nonetheless, there are still many reasons to beskeptical about what can be accomplished at the Council.The LLRC recommendations are clear. But – in spite of a few positive achievements – the benchmarks have not been met. The present administration has had more than enough time to prove that it is serious about human rights, institutional reform, devolution and genuinereconciliation. It was not long ago that the international community found itself on the wrongside of history. The results were disastrous, as tens of thousands were slaughtered in theVanni. With an eye towards a lasting peace, TSA sincerely hopes that the internationalcommunity will not make the same mistake twice.