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LLRC and reconciliation process: GoSL report to UNHRC CCPR Sri Lanka session

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

8. LLRC and reconciliation process 70. His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC in May !0"0 in order to stren#then the national reconciliation process and ens$re the di%idends o& peace to all 'ri Lankans. 7". (he LLRC )e#an sittin#s on *$#$st ""+ !0"0 and any person or or#ani,ation -as &ree to #i%e e%idence )e&ore the Commission. *ll sittin#s -ere open to mem)ers o& the p$)lic and the Commission also %isited areas o$tside o& Colom)o to &acilitate the #eneral p$)lic li%in# in those areas to #i%e e%idence. (he p$)lic -ere a&&orded the option o& #i%in# e%idence in camera. 7!. (he Commission also decided to cons$lt and hear the %ie-s o& persons -ho -o$ld ha%e personal experience and kno-led#e on di&&erent aspects o& matters related to its mandate and in%itations -ere also extended to local ./0s as -ell as ./0s )ased o$tside 'ri Lanka+ that ha%e prod$ced reports on the sit$ation in 'ri Lanka o& rele%ance to the Commission1s mandate. Ho-e%er+ despite these in%itations )ein# extended in #ood &aith+ seekin# a constr$cti%e dialo#$e on -hat the Commission considered as iss$es o& common concern &allin# $nder the p$r%ie- o& its mandate+ they -ere not accepted )y three or#ani,ations i.e. *mnesty 2nternational+ H$man Ri#hts 3atch and 2nternational Crisis /ro$p. *s the p$)lic sittin#s pro#ressed and conse4$ent to the -ide media co%era#e+ there -as a keen response &rom mem)ers o& the p$)lic to express their %ie-s )e&ore the Commission"7. 75. (he Commission handed o%er its Report to His Excellency President Rajapaksa in .o%em)er !0"". (he Report -as s$)mitted to Parliament and made p$)lic on "6th 7ecem)er !0"". 78. (he Report contains detailed annexes+ compiled &ollo-in# inter%ie-s -ith o%er "+000 persons -ho #a%e e%idence )e&ore the Commission+ and

o%er 9+000 s$)missions -hich had )een recei%ed. 79. (he /o%ernment on its o-n accord has )een p$rs$in# action on many areas prior to the release o& the LLRC Report+ res$ltin# in the con%er#ence o& policies -ith re#ard to the implementation o& the recommendations. 'i#ni&icant pro#ress has )een made -ith re#ard to resettlement o& 27Ps+ in&rastr$ct$re de%elopment projects in con&lict a&&ected areas+ reha)ilitation and reinte#ration o& ex:com)atants and initiatin# a process to address reconciliation iss$es inter alia thro$#h a political process. (he /o'L remains committed to p$rs$in# the implementation o& the recommendations o& its o-n domestic mechanism the LLRC. 76. (he Ca)inet o& Ministers in May !0"! decided that a (ask ;orce headed )y the 'ecretary to the President -o$ld monitor the implementation o& the recommendations o& the LLRC."8 2n <$ly a matrix containin# the .ational Plan o& *ction to implement the LLRC recommendations de%eloped )y the (ask ;orce and presented to Ca)inet -as appro%ed settin# o$t the main &oc$s areas &or implementation"=. (he main &oc$s areas are 2HL 2ss$es+ H$man Ri#hts+ Land Ret$rn and Resettlement+ Restit$tion>Compensatory Relie& and Reconciliation. (he (ask ;orce has indenti&ied a correspondin# acti%ity+ an implementin# a#ency+ a key per&ormance indicator and a time &rame in respect o& each recommendation.!0 77. 'pecial emphasis has )een #i%en to re#$latin# the acti%ities re#ardin# the mana#ement o& land in the .orthern and Eastern Pro%inces. (he Ministry o& Land and Land 7e%elopment has decided to resol%e the land disp$tes in these areas )y implementin# a special pro#ramme o& -ork. 'peci&ic Ca)inet appro%al has )een recei%ed &or policy proposals relatin# to the matter. *mon#st the steps )ein# taken+ directions ha%e )een #i%en to temporarily s$spend the distri)$tion o& lands. Priority is to )e #i%en to those persons -ho ha%e )een displaced or &led &rom their nat$ral locales or lost their lands.!" 78. *n amendment to the Prescription 0rdinance is presently )ein# considered -here)y displaced or disad%anta#ed o-ners o& land -ill )e exempted &rom the r$les o& prescription d$rin# a period o& 50 years+ d$rin# -hich the armed con&lict took place+ so as to ena)le them to de&eat any ad%erse claims )ased on the r$nnin# o& time. 7=. 3ith re#ard to matters o& acco$nta)ility+ the LLRC report clearly states+ that protection o& ci%ilian li&e -as a key &actor in the &orm$lation o& policy &or carryin# o$t military operations and the deli)erate tar#etin# o& ci%ilians &ormed no part o& this strate#y!!. 80. (he /o%ernment on its o-n accord has already carried o$t a series o&

meas$res incl$din# a comprehensi%e cens$s in the .orthern Pro%ince -hich -ill ena)le &irm and %eri&ia)le concl$sions to )e arri%ed at on iss$es in%ol%in# acco$nta)ility+ -itho$t any element o& conject$re or spec$lation. (he /o%ernment has asserted clearly on many occasions that+ i& relia)le e%idence is a%aila)le in respect o& any contra%ention o& the la-+ the domestic le#al process -ill )e set in motion. 8". *s no comprehensi%e cens$s had )een carried o$t in the .orthern Pro%ince since "=8"+ the 7epartment o& Cens$s and 'tatistics -as char#ed -ith the task o& makin# an En$meration o& ?ital E%ents (E?E in the .orthern Pro%ince -hich -as completed in !0""!5. (he main o)jecti%e o& the E?E !0"" -as to pro%ide the /o%ernment -ith important in&ormation concernin# the pop$lation and %ital e%ents in the .orthern Pro%ince -hich -ere not recorded since "=8" d$e to acts o& terrorism pre%alent in the Pro%ince &or 5 decades. 2t is to )e noted that this en$meration -as cond$cted )y (amil /o%ernment o&&icers mostly school teachers ser%in# in the .orthern Pro%ince. 3hile critical &or socio:economic and de%elopment plannin#+ the en$meration+ &ollo-ed )y an 2sland:-ide cens$s in !0"!+ -o$ld pro%ide an acc$rate pict$re o& patterns o& deaths+ o$t-ard mi#ration -ithin and o$tside the co$ntry+ ca$sed )y the con&lict and other reasons. * comparison o& the pop$lation data &rom the en$meration and &rom the island -ide cens$s -ill ena)le the /o'L to #ain an $nderstandin# the ca$ses o& deaths as a res$lt o& the con&lict. Ca$ses co$ld incl$de L((E cadres killed in action+ L((E cadres and ci%ilians -ho escaped the con&lict and mi#rated to other parts o& the co$ntry>or o%erseas+ ci%ilians likely to ha%e )een killed in the cross&ire+ ci%ilians killed )y the L((E -hilst escapin# &rom their control+ &alse reportin# and deaths reported )$t not occ$rrin# d$rin# the period o& the h$manitarian operation. 8!. *dditionally+ the 'ri Lanka *rmy has commenced in%esti#ations+ &irstly+ )y appointin# a @oard o& 2n4$iry to st$dy the LLRC recommendations and &orm$late a %ia)le action plan to implement the recommendations that are rele%ant to the *rmy and+ secondly+ a Co$rt o& 2n4$iry has )een appointed to in%esti#ate alle#ations o& ci%ilian cas$alties and the Channel 8 story+ irrespecti%e o& the &act -hether the %ideo &oota#e -as #en$ine or not. (he 'ri Lanka.a%y has also initiated similar meas$res. (hese )oards ha%e commenced -ork and se%eral -itnesses ha%e testi&ied. 85. 3ith re#ard to the cases relatin# to "7 aid -orkers in M$th$r (*ction Contre La ;aim and the 9 st$dents -ho met -ith their deaths in (rincomalee+ the cases -ere re&erred to the *ttorney:/eneral -ith a %ie- to ascertainin# -hether a prima &acie case exists to la$nch prosec$tions. (he *ttorney:/eneral has ad%ised the 2nspector:/eneral o& Police (2/P to cond$ct &$rther in%esti#ations.!8 'teps ha%e also )een taken )y the

*ttorney /eneral1s 7epartment to per$se the material placed )e&ore the LLRC to ascertain -hether it -o$ld )e possi)le to imp$te lia)ility so that o&&enders co$ld )e identi&ied and prosec$ted. 2t is expected to &inalise )oth these matters -here it -o$ld )e possi)le to arri%e at a concl$sion -hether the a%aila)le material -arrants a criminal prosec$tion and -hether there is s$&&icient e%idence to esta)lish the identity o& the o&&enders. 2& ade4$ate e%idence is disclosed )y the in%esti#ations+ &ilin# o& indictment is possi)le -ithin one month therea&ter. 9. Parliamentary Select Committee 88. * central &eat$re o& the /o%ernment1s approach to e%ol%in# a consens$s &orm$la -as the esta)lishment o& a Parliamentary 'elect Committee (P'C + aimed at achie%in# m$lti party consens$s in respect o& constit$tional chan#es re4$ired &or a s$staina)le political en#a#ement. (he nominations &or the P'C &rom the opposition political parties are a-aited !9. Parallel -ith this m$lti:party mechanism+ the /o%ernment is en#a#ed in )ilateral disc$ssions -ith (amil political parties as -ell as M$slim representation. Mind&$l o& the &act that all pre%io$s attempts at e%ol%in# a constit$tional &orm$la &ailed d$e to the lack o& consens$s+ the /o'L remains optimistic that the P'C -o$ld help achie%e the re4$ired consens$s+ #i%en its incl$si%ity+ transparency+ and commitment to democratic ideals. 10. Other measures to strengthen reconciliation 89. 2n order to address the lan#$a#e iss$e+ the /o%ernment has anno$nced its (rilin#$al Lan#$a#e Policy in <an$ary !0"!. *s a component o& the reconciliation process+ and takin# into acco$nt the important &oc$s o& the LLRC recommendations in this re#ard (amil speakin# police o&&icers ha%e )een deployed in the co$ntry incl$din# the .orth and East. Ci%il 'er%ice in the .orth and East is lar#ely represented )y the (amil and M$slim comm$nities. National Action Plan on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights 86. 7omestically %ery speci&ic meas$res ha%e )een adopted )y the /o%ernment to sa&e#$ard h$man ri#hts. '$)se4$ent to a commitment made )y the /o%ernment at the &irst cycle o& the APR process in !008+ a .ational H$man Ri#hts *ction Plan &or Promotion and Protection o& H$man Ri#hts (.HR*P -as de%eloped thro$#h a cons$ltati%e process in%ol%in# ci%il society+ the A. and the /o%ernment. 87. (he *ction Plan presents a str$ct$red &rame-ork to monitor the implementation o& existin# la-s+ policies and practices and enhance a

)etter $nderstandin# and respect o& h$man ri#hts. (he three )road o)jecti%es o& the .HR*P are the achie%ement o& #en$ine and s$)stanti%e impro%ements in the o)ser%ance o& h$man ri#hts+ the promotion o& #reater a-areness o& h$man ri#hts+ )oth in the #eneral p$)lic and in speci&ic sectors+ and the promotion o& coordination o& h$man ri#hts acti%ities amon# di%erse #o%ernment a#encies and non:#o%ernmental or#ani,ations. (he .HR*P recei%ed Ca)inet appro%al in 7ecem)er !0"". 88. (he implementation sta#e o& the *ction Plan+ incl$din# monitorin# and e%al$ation+ is c$rrently $nder-ay -ith the initial e%al$ation sched$led &or 7ecem)er !0"!><an$ary !0"5. (he .HR*P addresses 08 areas+ %i,+ Ci%il and Political Ri#hts (CPR + Economic+ 'ocial+ and C$lt$ral ri#hts+ childrenBs ri#hts+ la)o$r ri#hts+ mi#rant -orker ri#hts+ and the pre%ention o& tort$re+ -omen1s ri#hts and the ri#hts o& 27Ps. *n inter:ministerial committee on h$man ri#hts has )een esta)lished that -ill o%ersee its implementation and action is )ein# taken to act $pon other identi&ied initiati%es in keepin# -ith the stip$lated time &rames. *t the operational le%el+ a )ody o& senior o&&icials o& key instit$tions has )een char#ed -ith o%erseein# implementation in line -ith their respecti%e mandates and a dedicated $nit has )een esta)lished to s$pport the %ario$s o%ersi#ht mechanisms. 8=. Examples o& implementation o& si#ni&icant acti%ities incl$de the preparation o& dra&t le#islation on occ$pational sa&ety+ health and -el&are at -ork )y the Ministry o& La)o$r and La)o$r Relations (La)o$r Ri#hts + directi%es iss$ed )y the Police 7epartment to ens$re physical sa&ety o& persons taken into c$stody and the pro%ision o& access to le#al co$nsel as o& ri#ht (Pre%ention o& (ort$re + the adoption and implementation o& a national (rilin#$al policy as -ell as the enhancement o& scope and reach o& .ational ?ocational C$ali&ication (.?C )y the (ertiary and ?ocational Ed$cation Commission (Economic 'ocial and C$lt$ral Ri#hts + accelerated deminin# and a-areness raisin# amon# 27Ps o& risks d$e to mines and Anexploded 0rdnance (AD0 (Ri#hts o& 27Ps + implementation o& the national action plan s$pportin# the Pre%ention o& 7omestic ?iolence *ct o& !009 (Ri#hts o& 3omen + stren#thenin# capacity to s$pport Child Helpline (Ri#hts o& Children + esta)lishment )y the 'ri Lanka Police 7epartment o& a special $nit to com)at h$man sm$##lin# and tra&&ickin# (Ri#hts o& Mi#rant 3orkers + completion o& re%ie- and impro%ement o& trainin# sylla)$s and period o& trainin# &or police o&&icers. Legislati e !easures to Strengthen Ci il and Political Rights =0. 2n !007+ Parliament enacted an *ct to #i%e E&&ect to the 2nternational Co%enant on Ci%il and Political Ri#hts (2CCPR relatin# to H$man Ri#hts -hich has not )een #i%en reco#nition thro$#h le#islati%e meas$res and to pro%ide &or matters connected thereto or incidental thereto+ *ct .o. 96 o&

!007. (2CCPR *ct "7. (he /o'L acted -ith restraint to protect ci%ilians thro$#ho$t the H$manitarian0peration. * E,ero ci%ilian cas$altyF policy -as adopted+ and 'ec$rity ;orces made e%ery e&&ort to minimi,e collateral dama#e d$rin# the armed con&lict.*s the H$manitarian 0peration pro#ressed in the .orth an increasin#ly isolated and desperate L((E leadership s$rro$nded itsel& -ith a h$man shield comprisin# many tho$sands o& ci%ilians &or sel&: preser%ation.*&ter the clearance o& the terrorists &rom Gilinochchi in <an$ary !00=+ the/o'L made e%ery e&&ort to enco$ra#e the mo%ement o& ci%ilians to #o%ernment controlledareas incl$din# con%eyin# messa#es thro$#h the Anited .ations and the 2nternational Committee o& the Red Cross (2CRC . Ho-e%er+ the L((E &orci)ly pre%ented and killed many ci%ilians -ho attempted to escape. "8. (he /o'L did not+ at any sta#e+ corral the ci%ilian pop$lation in the 3anni as alle#ed )y some 4$arte rs. (he &orced mo%ement and corrallin# o& ci%ilians -as an act o& the L((E+ -hich )latantly $sed the ci%ilians as a h$man shield. "=. 2n order to protect ci%ilians held )y the L((E+ the /o'L identi&ied areas o& lar#e ci%ilian concentrations and instr$cted 'ec$rity ;orces to a%oid &irin# into s$ch areas. (his -as ho- the E.o ;ire HoneF (.;H came into )ein#. (he assertion that 'ec$rity ;orces declared areas .;Hs and &orced people into them is a #ross distortion. * .;H -as identi&ied to pro%ide a re&erence point &or 'ec$rity ;orces to take preca$tions in plannin# operations. (hese ,ones -ere readj$sted ha%in# re#ard to the mo%ement o& ci%ilians $nder L((E comp$lsion. *nno$ncements on radio and thro$#h lo$dspeakers+ airdropped lea&lets+and re4$ests con%eyed thro$#h international a#encies -ere $sed to in&orm ci%ilians o& sa&e locations and enco$ra#e them to escape &rom the con&lict area. (hro$#h an a)$ndance o& ca$tion+ Anmanned *erial ?ehicles (A*?s -ere deployed o%er these areas to make an acc$rate assessme nt o& the #ro$nd in -hich ci%ilians -ere held. (he 'ri Lanka .a%y esta)lished sec$re sea corridors &or ci%ilians escapin# &rom the areas $nla-&$lly occ$pied )y the L((E -hich -ere contin$o$sly kept $nder close s$r%eillance. !0. (he 2CRC+-hich -as present in the con&lict ,one till the end o& the con&lict assistin# )oth the /o%ernment and the L((E+commended the .a%y &or its -ork in resc$in# ci%ilians. !". *s detailed a)o%e+ it is e%ident that the H$manitarian 0peration -as carried

o$t -ith $tmost care to sa&e#$ard ci%ilian li%es. *ll 'ec$rity &orces I*rmy ("==7 + .a%y (!00! *ir ;orce (!00! J ha%e 7irectorates o& H$man Ri#hts and 2nternational H$manitarian La- (2HL esta)lished internally. 'ec$rity ;orces recei%ed in : depth trainin# on HR and 2HL thro$#h these directorates. *ssistance &or trainin# pro#rammes -ithin the directorates -as o)tained &rom /o%ernment and non:#o%ernmental and international or#ani,ations s$ch as 2CRC+ Anited .ations 7e%elopment Pro#ramme (A.7P + the then Ministry o& 7isasterMana#ement and H$man Ri#hts (M7MHR + @ritish Co$ncil+ H$man Ri#hts Commissiono& 'ri Lanka (HRC'L + .ational 2nstit$te o& Ed$cation+ and Centre &or the 't$dy o& H$manRi#hts at the Ani%ersity o& Colom)o and 'ri Lanka ;o$ndation 2nstit$te. !!. (rainin# in h$man ri#hts and international h$manitarian la- has )een contin$o$slycond$cted &or the armed ser%ices and police.(he 2CRC in 'ri Lanka contin$ed to cond$cttrainin# pro#rammes on 2HL &or sec$rity &orces+ p$)lic o&&icials and ci%il societyor#ani,ations. !5. Police 7epartment has incl$ded H$man Ri#hts as a s$)ject &or all recr$its at thetime o& their )asic trainin#. 2n addition in all ad%ance trainin# pro#rammes &or the o&&icersin ser%ice H$man Ri#hts is ta$#ht as a s$)ject. * H$man Ri#hts 7i%ision -as esta)lishedin the Police 7epartment in !00!. Re&erence is made to para#raph 9 o& the Concl$din#0)ser%ations in that re#ard and the a)o%e meas$res are hi#hli#hted to demonstrate actiontaken )y the /o'L. !8. Monitorin# o& 'ec$rity ;orces cond$ct and the process o& in%esti#atin# alle#ed in&rin#ements )y its personnel is an inte#ral part o& the e&&ort to sa&e#$ard h$man ri#hts. * sophisticated instit$tional s$pport mechanism -ithin the 'L* exists. (he 'L* and thePolice 7epartment ha%e the #reatest interactions -ith ci%ilians d$e to its #ro$nd role. !9. (he /o'L notes -ith the satis&action the comments o& the Committee in para#raph 9on the meas$res taken )y the 'tate Party to impro%e a-areness o& h$man ri#hts standardsamon# p$)lic o&&icials and the mem)ers o&the armed &orces and in%esti#ations o& h$manri#hts %iolations. (he meas$res detailed a)o%e demonstrate the 'tate Party1s contin$in# &oc$s in this area to impro%e a-areness on h$man ri#hts standards and 2HL. ccprcentre

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