Colombo ‘committed’ to reconciliation

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Friday appealed to the victims on both sides of the divide to participate in a consultation process.

Aimed at designing a reconciliation mechanism in the post-civil war Sri Lanka, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Friday appealed to the victims on both sides of the divide to participate in a consultation process.

A task force, comprising 11 citizens, has been constituted with Manouri Muttetuwegama, a senior advocate, as chairperson. It came into existence formally on Friday with Mr. Samaraweera launching its website.

Addressing a gathering at the Jaffna District Collectorate, Mr. Samaraweera acknowledged that “there are many here today who still have fears and doubts. But I can assure you that the National Unity Government of President [Maithripala] Sirisena and Prime Minister [Ranil] Wickremasinghe is committed to ensuring the successful completion of this process.”

Pointing out that “bankrupt politicians as well as the ghosts of extremism” were again trying to stir up the people’s passions, he urged moderates to come together.

He added that the process of reconciliation was being undertaken not to “appease international pressure or to keep the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein happy”. It is being done because “we owe it to the people of our nation to forge a new future where all citizens will be treated with equal dignity and respect.”

The panel would hold consultations all over the country and the process would go on till the middle of April. Ms. Muttetuwegama told The Hindu that she did not think the government would await the submission of her panel’s final report to constitute the mechanisms.

Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur, wanted the Sri Lanka government to engage itself in “credible processes.”