Citizen Dialogue on the LLRC 2012

Sharing Public Opinions on the LLRC
at Hotel Renuka Colombo -03 19th March 2013

Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is an independent, non-partisan organization that focuses primarily on issues of governance and conflict resolution. 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 programmes of research and advocacy through which public policy is critiqued, alternatives identified and disseminated.

Address

: 24/2 28th Lane, off Flower Road, Colombo 7

Telephone : +94 (11) 2565304/5/6 Fax Web Email : +94 (11) 4714460 : www.cpalanka.org : info@cpalanka.org Page | 2

CONTENTS
CHAPTER - I
Citizen Dialog on LLRC 2012 / Executive Summary ----------------------------------------------------- 4   Project Outcomes ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 5-9 Recommendations -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 9-11

CHAPTER - II
Public Opinions on the LLRC/Methodology --------------------------------------------------------------12   LLRC Witness Survey-----------------------------------------------------------------------------13-26 LLRC Workshop Participant Survey ----------------------------------------------------------27-30

CHAPTER - III
 ANNEXE ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 31-37

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CHAPTER - I

Citizen Dialogue on the LLRC 2012
Executive Summary
The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) presented their much awaited report and recommendations on Dec 16 2011. Following a war which lasted almost 30 years, and resulted in death, destruction and devastation, this report is the result, after 18 months, of a presidential commission of inquiry studying the failure of the ceasefire agreement of 27/2/2002, highlighting lessons learnt, and aiming to promote national unity and reconciliation among all communities. This can be said to be one of the most important documents in the history of Sri Lanka. Nevertheless the failure of the government in implementing these recommendations led to the UNHCR resolution against Sri Lanka in 2012. The main requirement of the resolution was proper implementation of the recommendations according to an Action Plan and review and reporting of progress. This caused a contentious situation in the country and divided opinions. The majority opinion was that the internal problems of the country should be settled without foreign intervention. The less popular opinion was that some recommendations would to an extent solve serious issues of Tamil and Muslim minorities and therefore full and expeditious implementation would reduce continuing conflict and even the possibility of renewed hostilities. A number of factors underpin these responses. One of these is that the first LLRC witness enquiry was carried out, outside of a broad public space. The second is that, authorities responsible for creating awareness among the public on the LLRC, have evaded such responsibility. In fact, the report itself was only available in English, and not in Sinhala or Tamil. Some elements of the government itself engaged in inciting the public against some recommendations and despite the country being bound to international agreements and UN conventions, the government maintains that it is implementing LLRC recommendations. Similarly although the LLRC recommendations clearly suggest involving them, the government has rejected support from Civil Society organisations, and instead incited and spread hostile attitudes about such organisations among the public. The public for its part is uncertain as to what to believe. In this situation, a broad public discourse has not been carried out in the country, on how to work towards genuine reconciliation and a united future.

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Firmly believing that civil society has an important and constructive contribution to make to the conflict transformation process in Sri Lanka, CPA worked to promote a democratic dialogue at community level on the contents and recommendations of the LLRC report (and the resulting Action Plan) and to channel resulting opinion into a national discourse on implementing the LLRC, while increasing overall awareness of the LLRC report, among the public at large. Project Outcomes Books and Publications 1. As an initial step, CPA prepared, disseminated and launched relevant information on the LLRC report in the public sphere. Accordingly, a publication, edited by Attorney-at-Law SG Punchihewa was launched in both the Sinhala and Tamil languages. This was a simplified, attractive publication, designed to be easily understood by its intended audience, the general public. This publication was prepared using as a basis, the recommendations of the LLRC report. The report of the Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka(“Darusman” Report) and recommendations of the European Commission. 2. The September 2012 edition of the Saama Vimarshi (Peace Monitor) periodical edited by Lionel Guruge and published by CPA, discussed the LLRC report and was published in both Tamil and Sinhala languages under the theme of “Will LLRC become reality?” Over 67000 copies of the LLRC book, and 63,500 copies of the Saama Vimarshi periodical (70% Sinhala/ 30% Tamil) have been disseminated and links to these were distributed electronically to mailing lists of 8,000 persons. A relevant amount of feedback was received from people who requested these periodicals at dialogue sessions, and on an individual and organizational basis, leading to the creation of interest groups. Statistics on printed publications Books Sinhala Tamil Total Magazine(Periodical) Sinhala Tamil Total Grand Total Numbers 45,000 24,000 67,000 Numbers 46,000 17,500 63,500 130,500

Table – 1 (source- Based on project datas and reports)

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3. An E copy of the above mentioned book and periodical is available in the three main languages on the CPA website. Month/2012 September October November December Total Num of users 1800 3700 2100 405 8005 Sinhala 1425 2275 1120 245 5065 Medium Tamil 375 1425 980 160 2940

Table 2 (Source - Data and reports of the project)

Training Sessions and Workshops The Citizen Dialogue on the LLRC project targeted the raising of awareness in more than 130,000 stakeholders through meetings and awareness raising publications on LLRC, as well as increased capacity in 47 trainers trained on conducting community dialogues. 47 competent trainers selected from partner organizations in the field were given a comprehensive five day training in all matters of the reconciliation process leading to the LLRC, and on strategy for raising awareness among people on the LLRC recommendations. Each trainer conducted an average of 42 sessions. Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, S.G. Punchihewa Attorney-At-Law, Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne, K.Gurubaran and A. Sarjoon, University lectures and Senior Journalists including Thimbirayaga Bandara, attended as resource persons in these sessions and workshops through these open dialogue sessions and workshops, CPA was able to identify some misconceptions about the which were well established in the society, as well as able to create a pool of trainers able to clarify such problems. A total of 1033 community level discussions were carried out island wide with the facilitation of trainers, with the participation of more than 30,990 attendees

Number of District level Trainers Total number of trainers Male Female 45 40 05 Eastern Province Ampara Batticaloa Trincomalee Anuradhapura Polonnaruwa 02 02 01 02 01
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North central Province

Uva Province Western province

Southern province

Northen Province

Central Province

Sabaragamuwa province North Western province

Badulla Monaragala Colombo Gampaha Kalutara Galle Matara Hambantota Jaffna Kilinochchi Mannar Vavuniya Mullaitivu Kandy Matale NuwaraEliya Kegalle Ratnapura Kurunegala Puttlam

02 02 02 01 02 02 02 03 02 01 02 02 01 02 02 02 01 01 03 02

Table 3 – Source - data and reports of the project

These dialogue sessions emphasized citizen participation. Politically motivated and interested citizens, professionals from various fields, and a number of members of the clergy attended these sessions. Resource persons for these dialogue sessions were connected from Colombo. These dialogue sessions were completed with a total participation of over 30990 citizens.

Number of dialogue sessions held in district level Province District Number of dialogue sessions held in district level 43 41 44 41 38 44 40 35
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Eastern province

North Central Province Uva Province Western province

Ampara Batticaloa Trincomalee Anuradhapura Polonnaruwa Badulla Monaragala Colombo

Southern province

Northen Province

Central Province

Sabaragamuwa province North Western province

Gampaha Kalutara Galle Matara Hambantota Jaffna Killinochi Mannar Vavunia Mullaitive Kandy Matale NuwaraEliya Kegalle Ratnapura Kurunegala Puttlam

32 40 35 45 63 40 35 44 41 38 47 42 45 43 38 40 39

Table 4 (Source – Data and reports of the project)

These sessions resulted in discussion of a number of current political opinions and ideas, and resulted in a group of people with a serious interest in the recommendations of the LLRC coming together. Thus it can be seen that the results of these sessions continue to flow into social discourse in different levels through various forums. It was clear that it was important to collect the observations and opinions of witnesses who gave evidence before the LLRC. Therefore a report of such witness opinions was produced. For this purpose, the opinions of 46 persons who had given evidence before the commission were taken. A report on public opinion on the LLRC was also compiled based on the feedback from participants at the dialogue sessions held at district level. In this process it was identified at the citizen level, that if there had been a prior awareness raising process on the LRRC recommendations at the initial stage, the situation would have been different. The lack of citizen participation at the policy- making stage results in social discrimination. It is caused by the autocratic behavior of rulers who act as they wish. Also, the necessity of continued information on LLRC related issues was identified by citizens. There was another observation. In addition to the attitude by the government, media and academic institutions too had evaded their responsibility for ensuring awareness on these matters. The combined effect of this negatively impacted on citizen’s attitudes. Similarly it became clear from citizen attitudes, that the media promptly publishes news on the UN responses as it happens, whilst evading any responsibility to educate the
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people on the recommendations and their background. Based on the coercion by government leaders and local politicians, citizens appeared at mass demonstrations; however they had little or no understanding of what they were doing. As mentioned in the novel of Ignazio Silone’s Fontamara, villagers of Fontamara were similarly helpless after being sent to towns for rallies and being misguided. A popular attitude was then that agreeing with the LLRC recommendations amounted to overturning the war victory.

Challenges/Obstacles At the citizen level, challenges and obstacles faced were minimal. However there was a level of rejection from some parties such as Government Administrative officers and Security personnel, based on the belief that these recommendations-although established by state appointed commission-were against the interest of the country, as well as an attitude of hostility against Civil Society organisations, and tactic implication that such hostility was acceptable. Threats have been received to some trainers and facilitators from regional political leaders. However, as a whole, the results were positive and encouraging. Though citizens had been accustomed to not questioning such issues, it was clear that they had the capacity to understand such issues. Therefore, the majority of persons who participated continue to be interested in the process.

Recommendations
1. The LLRC process was carried forward without broad citizen participation. The role of citizens in the obtaining of testimony was at a minimum level. Political leaders and high officials like Minister Champika Ranawaka and the Defense Secretary were given priority during collection of testimony. In taking the discourse on the LLRC Process to the people, one factor identified was that there is no understanding about this among government officials and among people. Therefore the government should start creating awareness among the people. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure this. The government should take a political stance about implementation of the LLRC recommendations. In the presentation of a new constitution, then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaranatunge was prepared for such. She was of the firm belief that such should be implemented. The Government should also have such readiness.

2.

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3.

Opposition parties including the United National Party (UNP) and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) should fulfill their responsibilities instead of leveling accusations at the government. The education of the public on these specific political matters is the responsibility of political parties and civil society organisations. The education at least of their constituents on matters of the LLRC, has not been carried out. Necessary steps to fulfill this are urgently needed. The media too has not fulfilled its responsibility in informing the public on matters of the LLRC. As well as informing on these recommendations, the creation of a related discourse on this subject, should be initiated without delay. The National Plan of Action on the implementation of recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) drafted to win reprieve from the UNHCR has not yet been translated to Sinhala and Tamil. Out of the 285 recommendations in the LLRC report, only 133 have been included in the Action Plan. There is no specific mention of when deadlines commence, and the time line for such implementation. Therefore the government should take steps to present these clearly. There is no transparency to be observed in the Action Plan. Many responsibilities have been allocated to the Defense Ministry and many have been allocated only by name, what is needed is movement towards the creation of a new constitution respecting the rights of all ethnicities, such that a situation of conflict and hostilities in the future will not arise. Steps have not been taken to promote harmony and co existence among ethnicities; although this is mentioned in the LLRC recommendations, the government has not implemented these. It is not enough to simply assure the international community that measures are being taken to promote reconciliation. There should be a creative process to make a space for co –existence between the North and South, from village to village, school to school and religious center to religious center for example. In the national budget millions of rupees are allocated for various issues. However it is not clear how much has been set aside for the implementation of the LLRC process. There are also recommendations which can be implemented within existing structures, which do not need any financial outlay. The tasks of making decisions on recommendations of the LLRC, expression of opinions and producing information on this to the public has been discretely handed to certain nationalist elements, leading to negative attitudes among the public. This has to be changed.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10. In the presentation of the New Constitutional proposal (Political Package),Chandrika Bandaranaike took on herself the responsibility via the Saama Tawalama (Peace Cart), “Book and Brick” and Sudu Nelum and similar movements
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to involve the people. However, this government has not taken the lead responsibility for the LLRC implementation. After a war lasting 30 years, in order to prevent such a situation arising again, the recommendations of the LLRC need to be discussed broadly and lead to the introduction of a new constitution. If this is not the final focus, the existing problems will not only continue, it may not be possible, in the future, to prevent a more dangerous situation than that already experienced, arising.

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CHAPTER - II

Public Opinions on the LLRC
Methodology
In order to obtain opinion about the LLRC report, two semi structured questionnaires were designed by Social Indicator, the survey research unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives. The two questionnaires were for those who gave testimonies to the LLRC (LLRC Witness Survey) and those who attended the LLRC awareness workshops conducted by the Outreach Unit of CPA (LLRC Workshop Participant Survey). The questionnaire for those who gave testimonies attempted to gauge awareness of the content of the report and to what extent, their expectations of the LLRC, opinion of the report and recommendations and the implementation of the action plan. The questionnaires for workshop participants looked at respondent opinion on LLRC recommendations and the Government action plan as well as their thoughts on implementation and the key actors of that process. The questionnaires, which were to be self administered, were translated into Sinhala and Tamil. Organisations and individuals who testified were met with individually and given the questionnaire. Completed questionnaires were returned to the Outreach Unit. Workshop participant questionnaires were distributed to all participants to fill out at the end of the workshop. The questionnaire for those who gave testimonies to the LLRC was completed by 47 respondents.As the workshops were held in every district of the country, 60 completed questionnaires by workshop participants were randomly selected from each district, making the sample for the workshop participant survey 1500. Once the data from both surveys were entered into a data base, the data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).

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LLRC Witness Survey
Field visits
The following opinions are of 22 people who gave testimonies at the LLRC field visit hearings. Their current districts of residence are Batticaloa, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Killinochchi. All 22 respondents are above the age of 30.

Awareness and expectations from the LLRC
Respondent knowledge about the LLRC and its purpose is quite low. A respondent living in the Killinochchi district has specifically stated that there has been insufficient awareness in the Killinochchi and Mullaitivu district and majority of the people have not understood the LLRC. It’s evident that most of their interest in the LLRC was because they believed that the commission would provide answers regarding those who disappeared during the war or were arrested. When asked how they first heard about the LLRC, 20 of the respondents said that they heard through the media. 3 people said that the purpose of the LLRC was to find a solution to those affected by the war while another 3 people said that it was committee that was set up in the pretext of finding a solution. This question went unanswered by 6 respondents. Others who answered gave the following responses –     A commission established to find the root causes of the 30 year ethnic conflict. (2) To release those who have been arbitrarily arrested (2) A commission appointed to find a solution to the ethnic conflict. A commission appointed to find those who have been reported missing due to the war. A commission appointed to solve the impending language issues in the country and thereby resolve the ethnic conflict

The primary sources of information for news and updates about the LLRC have been newspapers and radio. 10 respondents who said newspapers cited Thinnakural, Veerakesari and Uthayan while 11 respondents who said their primary source was radio mentioned Shakthi FM, Sooryan FM, Vasantham FM and BBC as examples.

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What were respondent expectations when they gave their testimony? 12 out of the 22 respondents stated that by giving a testimony to the LLRC, they expected answers with regard to those who have been reported missing during the war. 3 said it was because they wanted to seek justice and 2 said that they expected to see the release of people who have been arrested. 2 other individuals who answered this question gave the following answers –  The commission would be attentive to the information given with regard to the final stages of the war. To bring an end to human rights violations

When asked if the final LLRC report fulfilled their expectations, 20 respondents said no while 2 did not answer the question.

LLRC report and recommendations
Only 2 respondents out of the 22 were aware that the final LLRC report has been made public. This is to be expected given that the translations of the report in Sinhala and Tamil have not been made available by the Government and official Government copies of the report exists only in English. When asked how they obtained copies of the report or document/booklet about the LLRC, 7 respondents said the Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2 said National Peace Council, while four others gave the following four responses – from a friend, from the newspaper and from an official from the commission. The following statements were given and respondents were asked to select the statement with which they agreed the most.

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Graph 1 - Which of the following statements do you agree with?

No answer

5

I do not know anything about the contents of the LLRC report I have not read the LLRC report but I know the contents of the sections relevant to me/ of interest to me through awareness from other people/ media I have not read the LLRC report but I know all or most of its contents through awareness from other people/ media I have read about the sections relevant to me/ of interest to me through a booklet or document about the LLRC I have read the sections relevant to me/ of interest to me in the LLRC report

5

2

4

2

0

I have read about all/ most of the report contents through a booklet or document about the LLRC

2

I have read the LLRC report completely or have read most of it

2

0

1

2

3

4

5

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The following are the opinions of the respondents on the recommendations made by the LLRC. Graph 2 - What is your opinion about the LLRC recommendations? (Can select more than one answer)

No answer I do not know what the recommendations are Only some of the recommendations should be implemented They did not include/address several crucial issues or did not address them adequately Fell short of expectations Exceeded my expectations Some recommendations are not very realistic They are practical
0 1 2 3 4 5 0 2 2 4 4

5

5

7 6 7 8

Respondents who said that the recommendations are practical also selected the answer that the recommendations did not address crucial issues and that they fell short of expectations. A respondent who said that the recommendations are practical believed so for the following reason –  Certain issues such as rehabilitation, release of those detained by the military, livelihood issues can be implemented

4 respondents who also believe the recommendations are practical stated that although the recommendations can be implemented, the Government is wasting time and not committing towards implementation. Those who stated that the recommendations fell short of their expectations, did not address several issues or did not address them adequately gave the following reasons as explanations –   Inadequate solution given to those affected by the war (2) Insufficient attention given to the information regarding the civilian death during the last stages of the war
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  

The white flag issue was inadequately addressed. The testimony given was not adequately perused nor published The majority of those who were affected by the war did not come up to give their testimony due to fear; hence their actual problems and needs are not reflected in the report The report does not address the root causes of the war nor deal with the human rights violation issues

One respondent who said that only some of the recommendations can be implemented said that only the administrative recommendations can be implemented.

Commitment of the Government
Respondents were asked if they thought that the Government of Sri Lanka was fully committed to implementing the recommendations of the LLRC. None of the respondents said yes, with 15 saying no, 5 saying that they were not sure or did not know and 2 respondents choosing not to answer the question. When asked to explain why they do not think the Government is fully committed, respondents who answered ‘no’ to the question mentioned above said the following –    Recommendations not yet implemented (5) Persons arrested during the war have still not been released (2) Despite it being three years since the civil war came to an end, information concerning people who were reported missing due to the war has still not been revealed to those concerned. (2) Although the final report has been published, biased land acquisition in the North, violence against those arrested and ethnic clashes still continues The testimony given was not publicised to people and has not been implemented Although three years has lapsed since the war ended a viable solution has not been found Threats from the Government still continues

 

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Thoughts about the LLRC
The general impression received from the interviews with the 22 respondents is that there is not a lot of faith in the LLRC. As explained by one respondent “The report does not represent the needs of those affected by the war as the majority of those affected by the war did not come forward to give in their testimonies due to fear since the military was patrolling the areas where the testimonies were being taken. Furthermore, even those who came up to give their testimonies were unable to do so for reasons such as limited amount of time, and certain people were unable to give testimonies due to the fact that they were asked to write in their testimonies.” The effectiveness of the mechanism itself was questioned as respondents stated that the scope of the investigation was very narrow and limited itself within the urban areas, people in remote areas were not adequately educated about the report, the independence of the commission is doubtful due to the fact that they were appointed by the President. With regard to the content of the report itself, some respondents believe that insufficient attention has been paid to the information regarding civilian deaths during the war (including civilians who were trapped and died in the safe zone) and the problems faced by people in the war affected areas.

Hearings in Colombo
25 individuals who gave testimonies at the LLRC hearings in Colombo were respondents in this survey. These individuals included Members of Parliament, members of the clergy, journalists, civil society actors, politicians.

Expectations of respondents
For 12 of the respondents, one of the main reasons they gave a testimony was to do their part towards reconciliation and development – specifically to show respect to the reconciliation process, to showcase the willingness of the society to join hands with the government for the cause of national peace, contribute to the future development of the country, to provide and point out facts that are a hindrance to the peace and unity of the country. Other expectations of respondents includes –  Personal objective in providing a witness statement on the LLRC report was that someday the individuals’ ideas with regard to the recommendations will be published and implemented

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To produce statistical evidence with regard to the destruction caused by the terrorists. However, the LLRC report did not talk about the Sinhalese people. Expected the Chairman of the LLRC to influence the President to deliver peace and reconciliation and to create a better society in Sri Lanka. Share their experiences regarding the civil war In order to prove that various allegations about the Tamil community were wrong. For example, there were claim that the LLRC was against the Tamil community - to prove this wrong During the past years there was a great deal of injustice that was caused towards the Tamil community by many governments. The main objective in providing this witness statement was to point out facts that would help to improve genuine ties with the minority. The recommendations that have been addressed with regard to the minorities are good and should be implemented without further delay To find a solution to the national crisis The generation of bold unilateral gestures by the Sinhala polity towards the embittered Tamils, especially the youth The international community can only support but cannot deliver peace and reconciliation. Peace and reconciliation can only be delivered by Sri Lankans themselves. That was precisely what the LLRC was charged with providing a road map for. I expected the Chairman, in particular, to be able to influence the President.

 

 

9 respondents said that the LLRC report fulfilled their expectations, 10 said that it did not while 3 said they were fulfilled to a certain extent.

LLRC report and recommendations
21 out of the 25 respondents were aware that the LLRC report had been made public. The following statements were given and respondents were asked to select the statement with which they agreed the most regarding the report.

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Graph4 - Which of the following statements do you agree with?

No answer

1

I do not know anything about the contents of the LLRC report I have not read the LLRC report but I know the contents of the sections relevant to me/ of interest to me through awareness from other people/ media I have not read the LLRC report but I know all or most of its contents through awareness from other people/ media I have read about the sections relevant to me/ of interest to me through a booklet or document about the LLRC I have read the sections relevant to me/ of interest to me in the LLRC report I have read about all/ most of the report contents through a booklet or document about the LLRC I have read the LLRC report completely or have read most of it
0

0

2

3

2

5

3

9

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Respondents had obtained copies of the report from NGO’s, the internet, the LLRC staff directly, from friends or place of employment.
Graph 5 - What is your opinion about the LLRC recommendations? (Can select more than one answer)

No answer I do not know what the recommendations are Only some of the recommendations should be implemented They did not include/address several crucial issues or did not address them adequately Fell short of expectations Exceeded my expectations Some recommendations are not very realistic They are practical
0 2 4 6 4

6

1

2

6

6

4

18 8 10 12 14 16 18 20

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Most respondents believe that the recommendations are practical – with some stating that the recommendations exceeded their expectations, while some said that the recommendations did not address crucial issues or that some were not very realistic. When asked to explain the reasons for their opinion on the recommendation, the following was stated by the respondents –  The reason being that actions taken with regard to re-settlement of refugees, elections, structural development and actions taken with regard to demining too are a success. This is a commission that has been appointed by the government. Hence, the government is liable to abide by the recommendations mentioned there in. However, solutions with regard to the political solution in the country have not been fully addressed. The general public is unaware of what the LLRC is all about. The recommendations cannot be understood by people as the details are too in depth. It should be presented in a more simplified way. What we expected was a report, not people’s ideological attitudes. The main problem with regard to the LLRC is that it is working under a certain ideology. While certain NGOs such as CPA and NPCdefine the recommendations on power devolution according to their own ideas, when considering the conditions set forth in those recommendations, we see that they can be put into action. All other recommendations can also be implemented. Most were practical and implementable by a committed leadership Since I was somewhat cynical about the entire process, happy that at least some recommendations were made that would address the grievances of Tamil people. The report does not contain anything regarding the injustices committed towards the Sinhalese. This is a serious crime. I cannot agree with the LLRC report due to the unfairness caused by it to the Sinhalese people. Recommendations with regard to reconciliation and good governance are satisfactory. However there are certain shortcomings in the sections relevant to truth and accountability. The reason (Some recommendations not realistic) being that certain recommendations mentioned in the LLRC only target the minority communities and emphasises on ethnic conflicts. Furthermore, the topic of power sharing is irrelevant. If there are any recommendations that can be duly implemented, such recommendations have to be put into to force. However, if there are recommendations that cannot be implemented, then we need to find out as to why
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 

these cannot be implemented and create a system and work around it and produce our findings to the international community and gain/build their trust.  The commission did not address the crucial issueof the need for the state to investigate alleged war crimes. However, they included important areas not included in the TOR such as the urgent need for identification and location of missing persons, expeditions return of property and land to individuals which were acquired by the state as high security zones, the need for the state to issue a public regret to the nation for the destruction to the life and the property as a consequence of the war. Most of the LLRC recommendations are easily implemented if the will to do so is there. Apprehensions based on reported statements of a few Commissioners prior to the hearings, were largely dispelled by the seemingly genuine attempts made to assess the real situation. Seemingly beneficial recommendations lacked specificity leaving room for procrastination, delay and ultimate disregard. The unlawful incarceration of General SarathFonseka and the wholly indefensible 18th Amendment were apparently unaddressed.

Commitment of the Government
Respondents were asked if they believed that the Government was fully committed to implementing the recommendations of the LLRC. Only 4 respondents said yes while 15 said no. 6 said that they believed to a certain extent that the Government was fully committed. One respondent who answered yes believes so because of the actions taken with regard to resettlement of refugees, elections, structural development and demining have been a success. Those who said no stated the following reasons –  The government lacks dedication/ responsibility in implementing the recommendations mentioned In the LLRC The LLRC was set up to please the international community and as a solution to the western pressure with regard to human rights violations etc. However this does not give solutions to the problems faced by the country. The recommendations mentioned in the LLRC are not being put into practice by the government. Recommendations that could be easily implemented have not been implemented. For example, he national anthem is not sung in both languages. What is being
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implemented is totally in contrast to what is in the LLRC. The action plan does not consist of anything of substance.  Up to now the government has not shown adequate progress in fulfilling the recommendations of the LLLRC. Every measure taken up to now has been only a superficial attempt to show the world that they are implementing the required reforms. The keep it as a buffer for international safety and the LLRC is used to counter attack from the accusations. They appointed a task force and allocated funds in the budget but not at all interested in the implementation process. The initial response to the report was not as expected, being a Commission appointed by His Excellency, I was under the impression that sooner the final report was out, that the Government will immediately implement the recommendations on a short term, medium term and long term basis. The Government set up the LLRC only to please the international community and not due to any commitment to address the issues facing the country. Furthermore, as the LLRC recommendations have gone beyond the objectives set for them by the Government, I doubt the current Government will implement them.

Respondents who said they only believed to a certain extent that the Government was committed put forward the following reasons –  The LLRC does not indicate the destruction the LTTE caused to the socio-economic status of the country and the report does not indicate the Tamil influence on the nation. Hence, the Government of Sri Lanka is not committed in implementing the recommendations. However, there are certain recommendations that have been implemented via the Government, the Parliament and, the President. Sri Lanka may be victims of international influence as the commission came to being as a result of international pressure. Hence, it’s sceptical to a certain extent on the government’s commitment in this regard. There are no direct, clear policies or actions that can be seen with regard to shortcomings in the Constitution and addressing issues faced by minorities. However, on certain other issues we can see that an effort is being made to find clear solutions.

Respondents who said that they did not know or were not sure about the Government’s commitment said –  I do not know whether the Government is committed to implementing the recommendations but I do not believe that all the recommendations need to be implemented. The reason is that the Commission has gone beyond their mandate.
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Some of the recommendations in the report are short term while some are long term. We can say that the LLRC was granted the liberty to make recommendations. The President is not bound to implement them. Some recommendations have been implemented – they are implemented through the Government, through the Parliament, through the Executive. The LLRC has not recognised the socio-economic impact that the LTTE and Tamil nationalism has had on Sri Lanka.

Thoughts about the LLRC Following are some thoughts about the LLRC that were stated by some of the respondents –  LLRC and its recommendations is one positive step the government has taken thus far, putting into force the recommendations would be an advantage to the citizens of the country as it would pave the way for a better future. The issues that we face a nation are not like the issues that the Indians or the South Africans face. The LLRC report does not mention one word about the Sinhalese. The report does not mention about the efforts of Western nations to build the LTTE. The LLRC report should be a teaching tool for civil society. The LLRC comprised of peopleof high intelligence and who have held high positions. The report contains moderate ideas. The fact that our society has moderate people must be appreciated. This is something that is hidden in society and it must be brought out. The recommendations mentioned in the LLRC are nothing close to solving the ethnic crisis in the country. Therefore instead of taking time discussing recommendations that are of no use it is best to find out and discuss solutions to the difficulties and unfairness faced by the Tamils of the country. There are recommendations in the report to provide Government offices in areas outside the North and the East with translators to help the Tamil citizens with the issues they face with regard to the Sinhala language. However, the Tamil language is the administrative language in Government offices in the North and East which causes difficulties to the Sinhalese living in those areas and there were no recommendations made to provide translators regarding this. The LLRC presentsinformation with regard to the Tamil and the Muslim IDPs butdoes not mention Sinhalese IDPs. I personally feel that this is a fair report. The need to strengthen the unity amongst the Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese is mandatory. We as a community should leave no opportunity for any kind of division amongst these ethnic communities.
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The LLRC report includes recommendations that are not relevant to the mandate – such as power sharing and the setting up of independent commissions. The LLLRC recommendations are impartial despite being severely constrained by the TOR and the close allegiance of the members to the government. However, they have chosen to omit the crucial issue of war crimes which is a grave omission. The LLRC should have been used to generate the opinion that society as a whole, especially Sinhala elites were responsible for Tamil militancy. However no such feeling of wider social responsibility after the LLRC report, and Tamil people continue to feel alienated. Even though the Government is not interested in the implementation the NGOs have to take these to the grass root level. I have also not seen the religious leaders taking interest in the implementation process and they need to be enthused about it so that they in turn may take down the line. The recommendations of the LLRC are a starting point, which would show the international community that Sri Lanka is prepared to put things right. In my evidence i had highlighted the question of religious intolerance. Today this has come to the forefront. It is important that this matter be looked into very critically or the outcome will be far greater than the 30 year war that ended in 2009. Despite the fact that the war is over, reconciliation and peace for which the LLRC was established still elude us. The prevailing situation is hardly any better than that which prevailed during the thirty year war. State condoned terrorism has now replaced LTTE terrorism. Further no meaningful action has been taken on the specific recommendations of the LLRC. LLRC commissioners set out a framework and strategy not only for achieving the mission for which they were appointed but also for Sri Lanka to save face internationally and get accepted as a State now reformed. However the leaders have missed the boat by their foolish response strategy to date. I did speak of the disappearance of the 9 priests and more especially of Rev. Fr. Francis Joseph who surrendered after the war in May 2009 and people have seen him at the camp but now he is missing. I spoke of the concept of restorative justice – it is paying compensation for the victims and the perpetrators also be punished. But these recommendations have not figured in the final report. With my recommendations I expected a solution to the national crisis. I wanted the LLRC to generate the opinion that society as a whole, especially Sinhala elites were responsible to some extent for Tamil militancy. It is in this sense of collective culpability that led to the rehabilitation of the JVP and the greater inclusion of rural Sinhala youth in our society. There is no such feeling of

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wider social responsibility after the LLRC report (or very little) and Tamil people continue to feel alienated.  The Reconciliation and Peace, for which the LLRC was particularly established, seems to elude us. The prevailing situation is hardly better than which prevailed during the 30 year war. One cannot be blamed for believing that state condoned (if not sponsored) terrorism has replaced LTTE terrorism. No meaningful action was taken on the specific recommendations contained in the Interim Report of the LLRC. Did the LLRC honestly believe that their final recommendations will be treated any differently? This report was written from a Tamil nationalist ideological perspective.

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LLRC Workshop Participant Survey
The following are opinions of 1500 workshop participants from 25 districts. Their age groups are: Below age 21: Age 21 – 35: Age 36 – 50: Age 50 – 65: Age 65 and above: 11.3% 39.6% 31.7% 14.3% 3.1%

Which statement best describes your interest in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission prior to this workshop?
0.1 6.9 24.9 23.6 A great deal of interest A little interest No interest No answer Don't know/Not sure 44.4

Prior to the workshop, majority of the participants (44.4%) had a little interest in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission while 24.9% said that they had a great deal of interest. District wise, workshop participants with a great deal of interest in the LLRC were from the Kilinochchi (43.3%), Mannar (55%) and Mullaitivu (55%) districts. A high percentage of participants from Gampaha (56.7%), Kalutara (56.7%) and Matale (46.7%) districts said that they had no interest in the LLRC prior to the workshop.

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Some say that the Government’s Action Plan to implement the LLRC recommendations is inadequate. Do you agree?
0.5 4.9 16.7 29.7 Completely Agree Somewhat Agree Neither Agree nor Disagree 7.9 3.9 4.1 32.3 Somewhat Disagree Completely Disagree I am not aware of the government’s Action Plan No Answer

The Government of Sri Lanka released a ‘National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommendations of the LLRC’1 in July 2012, in response to the final LLRC recommendations report. The Action Plan is been categorised under five themes – International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights, Land Return and Resettlement, Restitution/Compensatory Relief and Reconciliation. Implementation details for the selected recommendations include activities, key responsible agency, key performance indicator and a time frame for each activity. Majority of the workshop participants believe that the Government’s Action Plan to implement the LLRC recommendations is inadequate, with almost 30% stating that they completely agree that it is inadequate. Participants with the least amount of faith in the Action Plan were from Mannar (73.3%), Gampaha (55%) and Kilinochchi (51.7%) districts while around 20% of participants from Ampara, Matara and Puttlam districts said that they disagree with the statement that the National Action Plan is inadequate.

1

http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/Current_Affairs/ca201207/National%20Plan%20of%20Action%20_%20LLRC.pdf

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Do you think the Government of Sri Lanka is fully committed to implementing the recommendations of the LLRC?

6.9

11.1 Yes No

35

Don’t Know/ Not Sure No Answer 46.9

Almost 50% of the workshop participants do not think that the Government is fully committed to implementing the recommendations of the LLRC. When asked why they think so, those who answered gave reasons such as translations of the final LLRC report not being made available in Sinhala and Tamil, there being no tangible evidence of recommendations being implemented and general lack of faith in Government appointed commissions and reports. Looking at the opinion district wise, 88.3% of participants from Mannar district do not think that the Government is fully committed to implementing the recommendations, while 81.7% from Kilinochchi and 70% from NuwaraEliya agree with the same. The highest percentage of those who think the Government is committed to implementing the recommendations were from Trincomallee (28.3%), Monaragala (25%) and Kegalle (23.3%) districts.

What do you think is a realistic time period for the implementation of recommendations?
0.1 10 15.7 18.7 13.7 Less Than Six Months Less than One Year In 1-2 Years 2 – 5 Years More than 5 years 20.1 21.6 No Answer Don’t Know/ Not Sure

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Workshop participants were fairly divided on a realistic time period for the implementation of recommendations. Around 20% said less than one year, 21.6% said one to two years and another 20% said two to five years. 36.7% of workshop participants from Mannar said less than six months, another 35% from Mannar said less than one year, 36.7% from Monaragala said in one to two years, 46.7% from Kandy district said two to five years and 66.7% from Ratnapura said more than five years.

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CHAPTER - III

Annex 1 – Questionnaire for LLRC Witness Survey
Questionnaire for people who gave testimonies D1. Age: D2. Sex: D3. District of residence: 1. Please list the three most critical issues you are facing at present a. ....... b. ....... c. .......

2. In your opinion, what was the purpose of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission? ................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................................

3. How did you first hear about the LLRC? a. Media b. Family member/ Friend c. NGO/ Community group d. Other (Please specify) ..................

4. What was your primary source of information for news and updates about the LLRC? (If media, please mention the name(s) of the newspaper/television/radio channel) ................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................................

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5. Are you aware that the LLRC final report has been made public? a. Yes b. No

6. Which of the following statements do you agree with? a. I have read the LLRC report completely or have read most of it b. I have read about all/ most of the report contents through a booklet or document about the LLRC c. I have read the sections relevant to me/ of interest to me in the LLRC report d. I have read about the sections relevant to me/ of interest to me through a booklet or document about the LLRC e. I have not read the LLRC report but I know all or most of its contents through awareness from other people/ media (Go to Q8) f. I have not read the LLRC report but I know the contents of the sections relevant to me/ of interest to me through awareness from other people/ media (Go to Q8)

g. I do not know anything about the contents of the LLRC report (Go to Q8)

7. From where did you get a copy of the LLRC report/ booklet or document about the LLRC? .................................................................................................................................................

8. What were your expectations when you gave your testimony to the LLRC? ................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................................

9. Did the final LLRC report fulfil these expectations? a. Yes b. No c. I do not know the contents of the report

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10. Do you think the Government of Sri Lanka is fully committed to implementing the recommendations of the LLRC? a. Yes b. No c. Don’t know/ Not sure

11. Please give a short explanation for your answer to Q10. ................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................................

12. What is your opinion about the LLRC recommendations? (Can select more than one) a. They are practical b. Some recommendations are not very realistic c. Exceeded my expectations d. Fell short of expectations e. They did not include/address several crucial issues or did not address them adequately f. Only some of the recommendations should be implemented

g. I do not know what the recommendations are

13. Please give a short explanation for your answer(s) to Q12. ................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................................

14. Some say that the Government’s Action Plan to implement the LLRC recommendations is inadequate. Do you agree? a. Completely agree

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b. Somewhat agree c. Neither agree nor disagree d. Somewhat disagree e. Completely disagree f. I am not aware of the Government’s Action Plan

15. If you have any further comments about the LLRC please state them below. ................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................................

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Annex 2 – Questionnaire for LLRC Workshop Participant Survey
Questionnaire for LLRC workshop participants D1. Age: D2. District of residence: D3. Occupation: 1. Which statement best describes your interest in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission prior to this workshop? a. A great deal of interest b. A little interest c. No interest

2. What is your opinion about the LLRC recommendations? (Can select more than one) a. They are practical b. Some recommendations are not very realistic c. Exceeded my expectations d. Fell short of expectations e. They did not include/address several crucial issues or did not address them adequately f. Only some of the recommendations should be implemented

g. The LLRC recommendations should not be implemented h. I am not aware of the LLRC recommendations i. Don’t know/ Not sure

3. Please give a short explanation for your answer(s) to Q2. ................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................................

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4. Some say that the Government’s Action Plan to implement the LLRC recommendations is inadequate. Do you agree? a. Completely agree b. Somewhat agree c. Neither agree nor disagree d. Somewhat disagree e. Completely disagree f. I am not aware of the Government’s Action Plan

5. What do you consider to be the most important recommendations in the LLRC report? ................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................................

6. Do you think the Government of Sri Lanka is fully committed to implementing the recommendations of the LLRC? a. Yes b. No c. Don’t know/ Not sure

7. Please give a short explanation for your answer to Q6. ................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................................

8. What do you think is a realistic time period for the implementation of recommendations? a. Less than six months b. Less than one year

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c. In 1 – 2 years d. 2 – 5 years e. More than 5 years

9. The following statements are about the translations of the LLRC report. Please select the statement that you agree with the most. a. Sinhala and Tamil versions of the LLRC report was released by the Government in December 2011 b. Sinhala and Tamil versions of the LLRC report was released by the Government one month after the English report c. Sinhala and Tamil versions of the LLRC report was released by the Government six months after the English report d. Sinhala and Tamil versions of the LLRC report was released by the Government eight months after the English report e. Sinhala and Tamil versions of the LLRC report was released by the Government one year after the English report f. Sinhala and Tamil versions of the LLRC report has not been released by the Government yet

g. Do not know/ Not sure

10. If you have any further comments about the LLRC please state them below. ................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................................................

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