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    Commonwealth Secretariat and Sri Lanka Human Rights Council Work to Develop National Reconciliation Action Plan Featured

    June 28, 2014

    The Human Rights Unit (HRU) of the Commonwealth Secretariat organized a programme aimed at devising a time-bound action plan on reconciliation for the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL).

    The working session for this purpose took place last month in Colombo with the participation of the HRCSL Chairperson Justice Priyantha Perera, Commissioners Dr. Sri Warna Prathiba Mahanamahewa and Mr. Thangarajah Edward Anandarajah, and the staff of HRCSL. The main expected outcome was to formulate an action plan and to identity what role HRCSL can play to contribute to the ongoing reconciliation process.

    The programme drew on the experiences and expertise of local and international resource persons such as Advocate Lawrence Mushwana, the Chair of the South African Human Rights Commission and the current Chair of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) as well as the Ombudsman for Namibia Advocate John Walters. Local experts included Executive Director of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies Mr. Jeevan Thiagarajah, Executive Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) and member of the Sri Lanka Law Commission Dr. Mario Gomez and Executive Director of the National Peace Council Dr. Jehan Perera.

    “I feel the HRCSL can choose to play a few key roles supporting reconciliation, including representing beneficiary claims, convening systematic, simultaneous, monthly listening sessions with returnee families in villages on key benefits intended from the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), its status and feedback on implementation and commissioning a study on amnesty in Sri Lanka,” Mr. Thiagarajah said.

    The working session focused on the LLRC National Plan of Action (NPoA), promoting national reconciliation at the grass roots level, the role of national human rights institutions in promoting reconciliation, possible role of the HRCSL in national reconciliation efforts, HRCSL mandate, strategic plan and the work plan for 2014.

    The following are some of the key actions that were identified:

    1. Monitoring the implementation of the trilingual policy.

    2. Including human rights education in school curriculums.

    3. Monitoring elections in the North and East.

    4. Addressing human right issues of the affected communities in Mannar.

    5. Conducting continuous meetings with the civil society to identify human right issues.

    6. Settling matters in the field at the ground level related to land issues with the help of the regional staff of HRCSL.



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