Sri Lanka should adopt a home-grown solution to the ethnic issue, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of South Africa cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world,… …South African High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Geoff Doidge, told Ceylon Today. Sri Lanka, in an attempt to restore goodwill of the US, which saw a decline during the Rajapaksa regime, has decided to consider two processes to address the issue of war crimes probe and a reconciliation and healing mechanism.
The government has shown interest in a two-pronged approach to deal with the issue of war crimes and the ongoing UN inquiry.
Minister of External Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera, said in the US last week that the South African model of reconciliation, as a parallel to the UN review, will work out for Sri Lanka. He also said, unlike the South African model, the purpose of the process in Sri Lanka would be to facilitate healing and reconciliation and not amnesty. A delegation led by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Nomaindiya Mfeketo, will hold meeting in this regard on 24 February, with the government officials on how to assist in Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process. In line with what Foreign Minister Samaraweera has said in the US, the officials from South Africa are expected to discuss the possibility of instituting a truth-seeking mechanism suitable for Sri Lankan circumstances.
“We would be assisting Sri Lanka in finding a purely home-grown process,” the South African High Commissioner said.
The 24 February meeting will explore what kind of support the Sri Lankan Government needs in finding such a process. However, the High Commissioner reiterated that the process would not base on the TRC of South Africa.
“South Africa’s TRC cannot be replicated anywhere in the world and at anytime, and we believe a different model, a home-grown mechanism is what the Sri Lankan Government wants,” he added.
Meanwhile, former Deputy Foreign Minister of South Africa, Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, who is one of the delegates said, after they return to South Africa in March, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will arrive in Sri Lanka, for further talks.
Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim told Ceylon Today that the SA team is coming to prepare the groundwork for the arrival of Deputy President Ramaphosa, who intends to meet the new government officials to take over the discussion on the TRC from where it had stopped.
“Our delegation is to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries and also to report to Ramaphosa, the Special Envoy of President Jacob Zuma on Sri Lanka, on the country’s present situation, whether they like the SA’s experience to be used as a tool for reconciliation or not,” he explained.
Calling it an advance group that is coming here prior to Ramaphosa’s visit, Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim said, last July they had a fruitful discussion with the former government and that they intend to be here again to see whether the TRC model is workable.
He also said they intend to continue the dialogue from where it ended, with the new regime.
“We are coming here to keep briefing on the South Africa’s reconciliation experience, which was a successful process. Whether it should be adopted or not is left to the new government,” he added.