Minorities’ Perspectives

Issue - 02 www.thepeoplesrights.org/ September 2012
Peoples Rights is a website aimed at promoting and protecting human rights in Sri Lanka.

THE LLRC and the UNHrc Resolution
The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) was formed in 1996 in the firm belief that the vital contribution of civil society to the public policy debate is in need of strengthening. CPA is committed to programs of research and advocacy through which public policy is critiqued, alternatives identified and disseminated. CPA is an independent, non-partisan organization which receives funds from international and bilateral funding agencies and foundations. Web www.cpalanka.org, Email info@cpalanka.org, Telephone: +94 (11) 2565304/5/6

The LLRC: Timeline
President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed the eight member 10 May Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) with a mandate to examine the causes and impact of the conflict and to suggest recommendations to promote national unity and reconciliation and to identify mechanisms for restitution to the people affected by the conflict. The commission consisted of chairman C.R. de Silva, Chandirapal Chanmugam , Prof. Karunaratne Hangawatte, Maxwell Paranagama, H.M.G.S Palihakkara, Dr.Rohan Perera,Mano Ramanathan and M. T. M. Bafiq (replaced commissioner M. Jiffry following his demise).The commission was initially given a mandate of six months. The LLRC commenced its public sittings.

04 February

2010 2011

The IAAC released its progress report titled, “Progress Report on the Implementation of the Interim Recommendations of the LLRC”.

The LLRC concluded its public sittings held in Colombo and outstation which included Jaffna, Puttalam, Mullaitivu Vavuniya, Killinochchi, Batticaloa, Ampara, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Moneragala, Galle and Matara. The commission had received 1,000 oral submissions and 5,000 written submissions by then.

30 March

12 April

11 August

The LLRC submitted its 13 September interim report to the President. The report covered the following issues; detention, land, law and order, administration, language and socio-economic issues. The Inter Agency Advisory 27 October Committee (IAAC) was appointed through a cabinet paper to facilitate the implementation of the LLRC’s interim recommendations. The IAAC consisted of Chairman Mohan Peiris, Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs, Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development, Secretary of the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms, Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs and Secretary of the Presidential Task Force. The LLRC’s mandate was extended by six months. The IAAC commenced its functions.

The United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon handed over its final report to the Secretary General. The panel’s report found credible allegations on war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). The panel called for an independent international mechanism to investigate these allegations.

10 May

The LLRC’s mandate was extended for another six months till 15 November 2011.

08 November 24 November

The National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights tabled by Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and the Special envoy of the President on Human Rights was approved by the cabinet. The five year action plan consists of eight sections including civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, torture, rights of children, labour rights and rights of migrant workers, rights of displaced persons.

14 September

Source : The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission

The LLRC handed over its final report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The LLRC’s multiple recommendations were listed under the following themes; Recommendations on International Humanitarian Laws pertaining to the final phase of conflict, Recommendations on Human Rights, Recommendations on Restitution/ Compensatory Relief, Recommendations on Land Issues, Observations on Issues impacting on Post Conflict and Reconciliation.

20 November

16 December

LLRC

2

The LLRC report is presented to the Parliament and made public.

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

The establishment of the Lessons Learnt Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) by the Government on 15 May 2010 seemed to indicate the Government’s intention of initiating a process that would examine issues that have contributed to the war and to identify lessons that need to be learned. While there were domestic factors for the creation of such a mechanism, the continuing international attention on the last stages of the war, including the establishment of a Panel of Experts by the United Nations Secretary General increased pressure on the Government to move forward was a critical factor in the establishment of the LLRC. Heralded by some as a key post-war development who also found that the final report offers constructive recommendations for assisting the post-conflict transition process, others have critiqued the LLRC on a number of counts including the mandate and composition, problems faced by victims and witnesses and limitations in the findings and recommendations. The LLRC having completed its report, the onus is now on the Government to act on the findings and recommendations. A five member Court 03 January of Inquiry, headed by Kilinochchi Security Forces Headquarters Commander, Major General Chrishantha de Silva, was appointed by Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya to inquire into the observations made by the LLRC report on casualties in the final phase of the war and to probe on Channel Four video footage. President Mahinda Ra04 February japaksa in his Independence Day speech stated, “We have already started implementing what was in the Commission. The report was tabled in Parliament on December 17. Since then we have done a lot.” Attorney General Eva 19 February Wanasundara stated to Sunday Times that the President had requested the Attorney General department to study the LLRC report and to report back to the President. She further claimed that the department had sent and analysis on the report and was asked to start implementing the report based on their analysis. The Advisor to the President on Reconciliation, Rajiva Wijesinha, presents the draft National Policy on Reconciliation. equately address serious allegations of violations of international law and called upon the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations made in the report of the LLRC session and to take all necessary additional steps to fulfill its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans. Minister Nimal Siripala de 26 March Silva states that the LLRC has exceeded its mandate and the Government has to consider what parts of the recommendations can be implemented immediately and what parts of the recommendations need further attention. A Presidential Committee headed by secretary to the 06 May President, Lalith Weeratunga to work on an action plan to implement the recommendations of the LLRC was appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Cabinet approves the “National Action Plan on the implementation of recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” Action Plan drafted by the presidential committee headed by Lalith Weeratunga.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)

2012

26 July

10 March

The United Nations Hu22 March man Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted the resolution proposed by the United States (A/HRC/19/L.2/Rev1) regarding promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, with 24 votes in favor, 15 against and 8 abstentions. In the resolution Council noted that the LLRC report does not ad-

The Action Plan is presented and made public by the Government. The action plan covers the areas of International Humanitarian Law Issues: Human Rights: Land, Return and Resettlement: Restitution/ Compensatory Relief and Reconciliation. Minister of Mass Media and Information and Cabinet Spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella states that the Government has implemented 60% of the LLRC recommendations.

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

LLRC

3

Statements made By the Sri Lankan Government and Political Parties on the LLRC Final Report
“The achievement of national reconciliation is one of the principal aims of the government after the eradication of terrorism... To do so, the first requirement is the spirit of inclusivity. We have to put behind us the anguish of a painful conflict and to confront the challenges of the future as one nation… The Commission offers us detailed observations & recommendations on international humanitarian law issues relating to the final phases of the conflict. The report clearly accepts the position that protection of civilian life was a key factor in the formulation of policy for carrying out military operations and that the deliberate targeting of civilians formed no part of this policy. Military operations were conducted professionally, but if there is evidence of transgression by individuals, this of course should be examined... On the basis of evidence placed before them, the Commission points to several specific episodes which, in their view, warrant further investigation. These episodes are referred to in the Report, in a variety of settings… It is a matter of the greatest importance to the government to have the truth relating to each of these matters established in a manner that puts controversy to rest for all time. The government has asserted clearly on many occasions that, if reliable evidence is available in respect of any contravention of the law, the law of the land will be set in motion… In these circumstances designed, settler centered communication campaign to provide fuller information will be immediately undertaken. The Government accepts the Commission’s recommendations about formulation of a land use plan for each district in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and, as a longer term initiative, the establishment of a national Land Commission for the country, as a whole… Security Forces will continue to be deployed as appropriate in all parts of the island, including the Northern and Eastern Provinces. However, now that conditions of normalcy have been re-established, it will be the deliberate policy of the Government to ensure the withdrawal of Security Forces from all aspects of community life, their role being confined exclusively to security related matters… The Government places particular emphasis on bringing about a total end to the possession of unauthorized weapons. No one is more concerned than we are, as a government, with this phenomenon, because of its potential to stultify our central objectives. The relevant information contained in the Report will be acted upon… Sound prioritization is an essential aspect of a practical strategy for implementation. It is important to distinguish between measures addressing humanitarian needs as a matter of urgency and longer term initiatives.” Source: http://www.peaceinsrilanka.org/ press-releases-details/press-releases-details/2907

The Leader of the House, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resource Management, Nimal Siripala de Silva 16th December 2012 in Parliament
the proper course of action is to set up a mechanism for gathering and assessing factual evidence relating to the episodes indicated, buttressed by a strong investigative arm... The Government would like to set out some basic principles with crystal clarity. It is a false and indeed mischievous canard, that the government is committed to a policy of changing the demographic composition of the areas affected by the conflict. It is our firm resolve to ensure that all those who have been dispossessed of their lands, are afforded the opportunity to return to the lands they occupied… The government finds helpful the Commission’s suggestions regarding the institutional mechanism to deal with land documentation and user-right issues. The launching of a well-

“Lessons Learnt

and Reconciliation Commission has stated that all are responsible for this problem. All those who act according to their conscience should take heed

LLRC

4

President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the 64th Independence Day celebrations in Anuradhapura, 04th February 2012

of this statement. Therefore, we have already started implementing what was in the Commission. The report was tabled in Parliament on December 17. Since then we have done a lot.” Source: http://www.president.gov.lk/speech_New. php?Id=122

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

“While welcoming the observations

and the recommendations relating to Reconciliation (paragraphs 9.167 - 9.285) and in particular regarding Human Rights (paragraphs 9.42 – 9.120) the UNP wishes to emphasize that the need of the hour is a fully functioning democracy wherein no sector be it ethnic, religious or political will be discriminated… The onus is now on the government to announce a detailed road map for implementing the recommendations together with a clearly stated timeframe. The UNP also notes that the Government has so far failed to implement the interim recommendations of the Commission. Therefore the Government must establish its bona fides by taking immediate action on all recommendations which

in Port of Spain in 2009. Sri Lanka as a member of the Commonwealth is a Party to this Affirmation... The government must take the first step to create an environment to build a national consensus based on unity, strengthening democracy, power sharing, equality and respect for the rights of all communities. All of us have a duty to respond and a role to play. This will also enable the government to implement in the fullest our obligations under the international agreements on Human Rights to which we have subscribed. The success of such an approach depends on the ability to transform our attitudes and thinking…”

are agreed to by the Opposition Parties in Parliament that have submitted their observations. This road map must finally make a reality of our commitments to the Affirmation of Commonwealth Values and Principles by the Heads of Government

Source: http://unp.lk/index.php?option=com_con tent&view=article&id=491:ranil-wickramasinghellrc&catid=97:news&Itemid=264
pertain to accountability, and undertaking – without prejudice to the position that such recommendations collectively fall short of advancing accountability in Sri Lanka – to support genuine endeavours to implement such recommendations; The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) concludes for the reasons provided hereinafter that the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission does not address important questions of accountability; was designed to shield civilian and military leaders responsible for serious crimes from blame; and evinces the Sri Lankan State’s unwillingness to acknowledge and address issues of accountability.” Source: “Response to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission Report”, Tamil National Alliance, January 2012. support his moves. In addition, the TNA and the SLMC have been talking to each other and have an understanding. Therefore, this is an opportunity that should not be missed.”

“Recalling the post-independence

history of Sri Lanka and the systematic physical, structural and psychological violence that has consistently been directed at the Tamil-speaking people of Sri Lanka, particularly the Tamil people of the North and East...

Asserting that a process of genu-

ine reconciliation must of necessity place victims of the war at the heart of the process, be directed at ascertaining the truth, render justice to victims and provide adequate reparations to them; Recalling that the Government of Sri Lanka assured the world that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission would fully address all accountability issues for alleged violations of International Humanitar-

ian Law amounting to war crimes, and other human rights abuses; ….. Disappointed with the failure of the Sri Lankan government to constitute an adequate and credible mechanism for reconciliation which would have enjoyed the confidence of the victims of abuses committed during the final stages of the war; Acknowledging the inclusion of certain positive recommendations in the LLRC report, which do not

“Everything is on the table now. There

is no need to play hide and seek. The government should implement each and every recommendation mentioned in the report by getting inputs from all parties especially the minorities. Only President Mahinda Rajapaksa can solve this issue. He has the support of the majority and they will

The Secretary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, Hasan Ali

Source: http://www.nation.lk/edition/ index.php/component/k2/item/224-llrcreport-out-what-next

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

LLRC

5

devolution, observance of human rights and international humanitarian law, socio-economic development, solution of livelihood issues-broadly issues affecting hearts and minds of the people.

“Contrary to comments made by certain extremist elements, it is the considered view of the C.P.S.L. that the Commission has not transgressed its mandate in any manner… In the view of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, the L.L.R.C. Report is comprehensive, logical, objective and positive, and its recommendations need implementation in full… The L.L.R.C. Report highlights the

imperative need on the part of government and political parties for (i) political will and sincerity of purpose (ii) Seeking a settlement through a consensus (iii) an adequate understanding of the ground realities, (iv) approaching the process in a spirit of tolerance, accommodation and compromise. The L.L.R.C. also rightly identifies the areas where decisions are needed. Namely they are good governance,

In our view, the L.L.R.C. has provided a framework to all stakeholders to enable them to construct a platform for consolidation of post-conflict peace and security and development of mutual trust and co-operation among the diverse communities...” Source: http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat =article-details&page=article- details&code_title=43018

tion among communities...” The LLRC Report is in marked contrast to the Darusman Report, which gives undue weightage to propaganda material prepared by and for the terrorist LTTE, and gives less credence to the view point of the lawfully elected Sri Lankan Government... It may not be feasible to deal with all issues at once, they may need to be prioritized and taken up in a phased manner. Early implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC by the Government would promote national reconciliation and help to strengthen confidence in the outcome of talks...” Source: http://www.dailynews.lk/2012/01/12/news35.asp

“The LSSP welcomes the LLRC Re-

port because it provides a positive and constructive basis for achieving reconciliation and national unity. It is a balanced, serious and comprehensive report that also makes available, as a separate Annexures publication, all the data drawn on by the LLRC Commission in preparing its report in a transparent manner. The conclusions drawn are clearly fair and the recommendations are sensible, and it is our hope that the Government will implement them, soon and as com-

pletely as possible… The claim made by parties like the JHU that the Commission has exceeded its mandate, in recognizing the need for devolution, is without any foundation. Because clause 5 of the President’s mandate to the Commission clearly states “ institutional, administrative and legislative measures which need to be taken in order to prevent any recurrence of such concerns in the future, and to promote further national unity and reconcilia-

“The President appointed this com-

mission not with a genuine intention of studying the occurrences that occurred during the 30 year old separatist war or the socio- economicpolitical reasons that effected the separatist struggle in Sri Lanka and finding solutions for the issues but to evade the accusations and pressure that were aimed towards the government at the end of the war... It should be stated that the commission was not established to find solutions for the national question that still exists even after a thirty year war, or learn any lessons, or to establish national unity or consensus but

one that was appointed to evade the issue confronted by the President and the government. As in other instances this is a waste of public money and time. It yet again indicates that governments that have ruled and also the present gov-

ernment have no intention or ability to solve or even take a step towards solving the national question under the capitalist system nor would they ever comprehend the question correctly...” Source: http://www.jvpsrilanka.com

LLRC

6

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

“It must be

But instead of that they have merely stated that there is an ethnic issue and that a certain solution for it would be the devolution of power. We are totally Minister Champika Ranawaka, against this suggesSecretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya tion. They should have remained within their (JHU) limits and come up Source: http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page= with whatever suggesarticle-details&code_title=42026 tions...

stated that the panel seems to have exceeded the limit that had been given or stipulated. They have expressed certain suggestions exceeding that limit.

The committee that was formed to look into incidents from February 2002-May 2009 has come up with the suggestion that the solution to the North-East ethnic issue is devolution of power. That is a clear example of them exceeding their powers and limits…

The JHU feels that the LLRC panel has also violated the norms of justice and equality through such suggestions. The report compiled by the LRRC states that the LTTE has killed 9878 innocent civilians. But they have failed to state as to how the LTTE should be held accountable for such mass-scale deaths of innocent civilians. They have also stated that more investigations must be carried out into crimes that have been committed by the government security forces. They have no issue when the LTTE committed large-scale crimes against innocent civilians. And what are the concerns that they have when one of the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization is decimated by a legally elected government of a country...”

“About what the Report said
about the EPDP... I am going to Court. It is affecting my name. My position is that there was an ulterior motive — that is why before it was submitted to Parliament, it was leaked to some media. While I endorse the other recommendations, I will go to court over allegations levelled against the EPDP.”

“I don’t agree with all the
contents in the LLRC report. But the approach of the report is important. The LLRC report has not laid adequate emphasis on the damage caused to the Sinhala and Tamil community by Tamil separatism.”

Source: http://www.lakbimanews.lk/index. php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3951:ahinsaka-kolla-douglas-to-takellrc-to-court&catid=47:interview&Itemid=48 01 January 12

Leader of the Ealam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP), Douglas Devananda

The Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF), Wimal Weerawansa
Source: http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2012/01/01/pol01.asp

“LLRC report has correctly addressed to unify the minorities in the region with regard to their ethnic enmity status. It has quite rightly pointed to the implementation of the languages and language policy which needs to be fully implemented promoting their ethnic relations together with public media and related programmes.”

“The LLRC has failed

to go deeper into the issues of abductions, disappearances and extra-judicial killings of Tamil people before and during the war. Considering the history of the ruling regime over the implementa- The Leader of the DPF tion of the promises Mano Ganesan made earlier, the sincere implementation of the been nullified by the stateLLRC recommendations is exceedingly uncertain, ment issued by the govalthough the statements ernment over its implemade by Patali Champika mentation in the House.” Ranawaka of JHU had Source: http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=articledetails&page=article-details&code_title=43515

Source: “http://epaper.lankadeepa.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx

The Leader of the Democratic Left Front and Minister of Languages and National Integration, Vasudeva Nanayakkara

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

LLRC

7

“The Centre for Policy Alternatives

Statements made By Civil Society Actors and International Actors on the LLRC Final Report
gated for human rights violations and para-military activity, and its recommendations in respect of the Northern Muslims evicted by the LTTE and the Up Country Tamil population. The attention accorded by the LLRC to the situation of these two communities strengthens the coherence of this report on the pivotal issue of reconciliation for the peoples of Sri Lanka... It is pertinent to note the hardship and subsequent harassment faced by civilians who testified before the commission and the insufficient time allocated to civilians to make oral submissions before it... Our disappointment extends to the commission’s treatment of the issue of the number of civilians in the Vanni during the last phase of the war and the provision of food and medical supplies to them…

(CPA) welcomes the release of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report, its analysis of the root cause of the conflict, the cataloguing of the atrocities of the LTTE, recommendations in respect of governance – especially the de-politicisation of existing institutions, the introduction of Right to Information legislation, militarization, attacks on the freedom of expression, language rights, reconciliation and the investigation of the allegations contained in the Channel Four documentary as well as the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for disappearances and civilian deaths . We also welcome the LLRC recommendation that named individuals and organizations associated with the government be investi-

We note that the LLRC report is the initiation of a process of reconciliation; not the end of it. Furthermore, the LLRC clearly states that it is the GOSL that has to take the lead in the process and in particular, in arriving at a political and constitutional settlement based on devolution of “the ethnic problem as well as other serious problems that threaten democratic institutions”. In this regard as in all others, we also note that the implementation of the LLRC recommendations necessitate a major paradigm shift by the GOSL…”
Source: http://www.thepeoplesrights.org/2012/01/ release-of-the-lessons-learnt-and-reconciliation-commission-llrc-report/

Council reiterates our call for the appointment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to go more deeply into the entire tragedy of the war to ensure that victims are heard, their grievances addressed, compensation given and perpetrators identified and provided Source: http://www.peace-srilanka.org/ index.php?option=com_content&view=ar with an opportunity for repentance ticle&id=424:governmental-follow-up-toand amnesty… llrc-report-is-important&catid=17:media NPC urges the government to appoint a Presidential Task Force of independent persons selected with the concurrence of the opposition and given cabinet status to oversee the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations…”

“The National Peace

Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo
“We have to be happy about the report.
We don’t have to feel that it has to be the answer to all our questions. Still we can present it as a report that will help us to achieve or start work towards achieving peace in our country.”
Source: http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2011/12/25 /new02.asp

Friday Forum
“We welcome the news that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has submitted its final report to H E President Mahinda Rajapakse. Friday Forum supported the LLRC process fully and expressed their faith in the Commission being able to present a report of value addressing

LLRC

8

issues of terrorism, accountability, national reconciliation and peace with dignity and equality for all Sri Lankans... The Friday Forum now wishes to urge the President to release, without delay, the Report in full for public review and discussion. There have been conflicting statements from various sources in this regard and a clear statement from

the Presidential Secretariat as to when the report will be released in full will be welcome. It will be appreciated that public commissions of inquiry are appointed by the President on behalf of the people and the costs of their sittings, deliberations and submissions are met from public funds...”
Source: http://http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat =articledetails&page=article-details&code_title=41400

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

“The report of the Sri by the United Nations
Lankan government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) disregards the worst abuses by government forces, rehashes longstanding recommendations, and fails to advance accountability for victims of Sri Lanka’s civil armed conflict The serious shortcomings of the 388-page report... highlight the need for an international investigative mechanism into the conflict as recommended

Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts in April. The LLRC’s findings, largely exonerating government forces for lawsof-war violations, stand in stark contrast to those by the UN Panel of Experts, the UN special envoy on extrajudicial executions, and other independent organizations. ”
Source: http://www.hrw.org/news/2011 /12/16/sri-lanka-report-fails-advanceaccountability

“The commission hav-

ing had no mandate to investigate was, from the beginning, subjected to manipulation by those in power who used the commission to state the government’s point of view about the incidents relating to the period between 21st February, 2002 and 19th May, 2009. The commission in its final report has reproduced quite faithfully the government’s version as told by ‘those witnesses’ who came before the commis-

sion to narrate the official version. The very absence of the affected population made the possibility of any independent report quite impossible. Therefore there is no reason for disappointment in this final report as the whole exercise relating to this commission was meant to be a farce, particularly to counter the criticism from UN agencies and other outside agencies for a credible inquiry.”

Source: http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-207-2011

“The report acknowl-

edges important events and grievances that have contributed to decades of political violence and civil war in Sri Lanka and makes sensible recommendations on governance, land issues and the need for a political solution. But it fails in a crucial task – providing the thorough and independent investigation of alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that the UN and other partners of Sri Lanka have been asking for.

It is now incumbent on the international community, through the UN Human Rights Council, to establish an independent international investigation in 2012. Without such an investigation, accountability for the crimes committed at the end of the civil war is highly unlikely; without accountability, and a full understanding of the nature of the violations which took place on all sides, the seeds of future conflict will grow.”

“Minority Rights Group

International (MRG) welcomes some recommendations made by the Sri Lankan government’s ‘Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission’ (LLRC), but condemns its failure to deal with the crucial issue of accountability regarding events during the latter stages of the war in 2009… The report contradicts the findings made by the panel of experts appointed to look into this issue by the UN Secretary

General, and by other national and international human rights organisations, including MRG. The report also does not discuss further serious human rights violations, including torture and sexual violence, perpetrated by government forces… In this context, MRG says, international action is now crucial...”

Source: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2011/ asia/statement-on-the-report-of-sri-lanka-s-lessons-learnt-and-reconciliationcommission.aspx

Source: http://www.minorityrights.org/11141/press-releases/mrg-calls-for-independent-international-mechanism-to-deal-with-issue-of-accountability-in-srilanka.html

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

LLRC

9

The International Community Responds to the LLRC Final Report
United Nations The Spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
“Sri Lanka’’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission tabled its report in the national Parliament yesterday, and Mr. Ban welcomed the public release of the report, according to information released by his spokesperson last night.

United States Spokesperson of the United States, Department of State, Victoria Nuland

The spokesperson said Mr. Ban hopes the Government will (sic)forward with its accountability commitments in good faith as an essential step towards reconciliation and lasting peace in the island country.”

Russian Federation Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Alexander Lukashevich

results of its work will make a great contribution to the acceleration of the national reconciliation process, as well as to the strengthening of peace on the island... We highly appreciate efforts of the Sri Lanka Government in solving the post-conflict problems on the basis of state integrity, multinational consent and respect for the rights of all ethnic and religious groups of Sri Lanka… We are convinced in sincere concernment of the Sri Lanka Government in implementing the recommendations made by the LLRC...”

“We are confident that the

Commission has addressed a number of the crucial areas of concern to Sri Lankans. In particular, the report recognizes and makes substantive recommendations in the areas of reconciliation, devolution of authority, demilitarization, rule of law, media freedom, disappearances, human rights violations... And while we’re still studying the full report, I do have to say that we have concerns that the report, nonetheless, does not fully address all the allegations of serious human rights violations that occurred in the final phase of the conflict. So this leaves questions about accountability and – for those allegations, and so we urge the Sri Lankan Government not only to fulfill all of the recommendations of the report as it stands, but also to address those issues that the report did not cover…”

“The

European Union European Union High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union, Catherine Ashton India Ministry of External Affairs, S.M. Krishna

“The High Representative takes note of the presentation of the Lessons Learnt and

Reconciliation Commission report to the Sri Lankan Parliament. She hopes that the report will contribute to the process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka. A detailed and careful study of the measures proposed to implement the recommendations in the report is needed, including on the issue of accountability.”

tunity to forge a consensual way forward towards reconciliation through a political settlement based on devolution of power. It recognises that a political solution is imperative to addressing the root cause of the conflict and notes that the Government should provide leadership to a political process which must be pursued for the purpose of establishing a framework for ensuring sustainable peace and security in the post-conflict environment… We hope that the Government, of Sri Lanka recognising the critical importance of this issue, acts decisively and with vision in this regard…”

“The LLRC report has underlined that the present situation provides a great window of oppor-

Norway Minister of Environment and International Development Erik Solheim. Norway

“The report contains many important recommendations…

United Kingdom Minister of Foreign Office in United Kingdom, Alistair Burt

There are still many unanswered questions that must be clarified as regards who is responsible for the many civilian deaths in the final phase of the war. Norway urges Sri Lanka to investigate this matter fully.”

lieves that the report contains many constructive recommendations for action on post-conflict reconciliation and a political settlement. Implementation of these recommendations, however, is the real test of Sri Lanka’s progress… The British Government is, on the whole, disappointed by the report’s findings and recommendations on accountability.”

“The British Government be-

LLRC

10

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

The UN Resolution on Sri Lanka
The United States of America, on 7th March 2012 tabled the draft resolution on Sri Lanka titled “Promoting Accountability and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka” at the 19th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to discuss the human rights situation in Sri Lanka including the implementation of the Government’s own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). The first two paragraphs request the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the findings of its own LLRC. It calls on the Government to address alleged vialations of human rights.The third paragraph calls for support for the Government of Sri Lanka to implement these findings through the assistance of various UN actors in consultation with the Sri Lankan Government. Contrary to some speculations, the resolution does not call for sanctions, military intervention or punitive action against the Government of Sri Lanka. The only requirement by the Government is to provide a comprehensive action plan as to how the LLRC will be implemented, a simple requirement that will also provide information to the citizens of Sri Lanka and others as to how the Government will set about fulfilling their obligations. On 22nd May 2012 the resolution (A/HRC/RES/19/2) was passed with 24 votes in favor, 15 votes against and 08 abstentions.
(Source: http://www.thepeoplesrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Question-Answer-Sheet-on-the-Resolution-tabled-at-the-United-Nations-Human-Rights-Councilon-Sri-Lanka. pdf )

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

LLRC

11

Statements made by the International Community on the UN Resolution
United States U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe
“A major achievement at this session was the adoption of a resolution on the Promotion of Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka. This is an important step for the people of Sri Lanka as it encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to take the necessary measures to address accountability and continue on the path toward reconciliation. With this resolution, the Council sent a strong signal that Sri Lanka will only achieve lasting peace through real reconciliation and accountability.”

ernment of Sri Lanka without interference from outside forces. The international comRussian Federation munity should not make hasty and ill-founded judgments. The Russian Federation reRepresentative of Russian Federation in Geneva mained firm in its position that country situations could be considered in the Council

“The process of national reconciliation in Sri Lanka should be carried out by the Gov-

only with the agreement of the State concerned and attempts to dictate to a sovereign State how policy should be carried out was unacceptable.”

India consultation between all groups. India had noted the Sri Lankan Government’s commenceMinistry of External ment of dialogue with all parties, including the Tamil National Alliance. The Sri Lankan GovAffairs, S.M. Krishna ernment should play the lead role in this regard. India was confident that implementation of

“India believed there was a window of opportunity to forge reconciliation through political

the report would foster substantive reconciliation. India subscribed to the general message of the resolution, but any assistance should be taken in consultation with the Sri Lankan Government.” more with the Human Rights Council on past human rights violations. Respect for the rule of law and addressing accountability are in the EU’s view necessary steps towards national reconciliation and sustainable peace. The EU has expressed strong concern at this session at reported acts of intimidation and reprisals against civil society representatives both in Sri Lanka and in Geneva and has called on the Government to respect and protect their rights.” resolution submitted by the United States was a product of the politicization of human rights. The reconciliation efforts of Sri Lanka were beyond the mandate of the Human Rights Council. Sri Lanka required the assistance of the international community. The draft resolution interfered in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka and violated the principles of the United Nations. The international community should provide the Government with sufficient time and space to complete the national reconciliation process and China called on all Member States to reject the draft resolution.”

European Union Representative of European Union in Geneva

“The EU fully supported the resolution on Sri Lanka, which invites the country to engage

China The representative of China at the UN mission in Geneva

“Constructive dialogue and cooperation was the proper way to resolve conflicts. The

Thailand nity as well as to engagement, cooperation and dialogue with the country concerned. Sri Lanka had shown a clear willingness to cooperate. For the moment, the home-grown process should be Representative of Thailand in Geneva prioritized. So far, Sri Lanka had shown its willingness to cooperate with the Council...
“ Nigeria, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on resolution L.2/Rev.1, said Nigeria had decided to vote for the resolution, not to censure Sri Lanka but to encourage the process of reconciliation in the country. Nigeria had fought a civil war and the wounds of war had healed through an open and inclusive reconciliation process. Nigeria was ready to assist Sri Lanka and wished the Government and the Sri Lankan people every success in the reconciliation process.”

“Thailand had always attached much importance to accountability and the fight against impu-

Thailand urged the Sri Lankan Government to implement without delay, the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission.”

Representative of Nigeria in Geneva

Nigeria

“ Uruguay, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Uruguay would vote in favour of the resolution, as it was balanced and constructive. It sent a clear message from the Representative of international community that it was willing to cooperate with the reconciliation efforts at the Uruguay in Geneva national level. Uruguay appreciated the efforts of the Colombo Government, including the priorities for human rights laid out in the Action Plan and measures contained therein. The Council had cooperation instruments and tools for achieving these objectives, working together with the authorities. Uruguay urged Sri Lanka to investigate human rights violations, including reprisals against political opponents, human rights defenders and reports of enforced disappearances.”

Uruguay

LLRC

12

LESSONS LEARNT AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful