11 December, 2017

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Emulating South African Truth And Reconciliation Commission

By Austin Fernando

Austin Fernando

Austin Fernando

Just after the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM), South African President Jacob Zuma had proposed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for Sri Lanka. He was to discuss it with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Though there had been several Truth Commissions globally, the South African TRC is the best mind-booster when post-conflict justice and reconciliation are considered.

Already there are some who project the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) grabbing this proposal in good faith. Another presents GOSL’s ulterior motives as one way out of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) quagmire in March 2014.

Motivation for TRC

Mentioning of TRC before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), I quoted the preamble of the South African Act No. 34 of 1995 Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation. It read as:

“To provide for the investigation and the establishment of as complete a picture as possible of the nature, committed during the period from March 1, 1960 to the cutoff date contemplated in the Constitution, within or outside the Republic, emanating from the conflicts of the past, and the fate or whereabouts of the victims of such violations; the granting of amnesty to persons who will make full disclosure of all the relevant facts relating to acts associated with the political objective committed in the course of the conflict of the past during the said period; affording victims an opportunity to relate the violations they suffered; the taking of measures aimed at the granting of reparation to, and the rehabilitation and the restoration of the human and the civil dignity of victims of violation of human rights; reporting to the nation about such violations and victims; the making of recommendations aimed at the prevention of the Commission of gross violations of human rights; and for the said purposes to provide for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a Committee on Human Rights Violations, a Committee on Amnesty and a Committee on Reparation and Rehabilitation; and to confer certain powers on assigned certain functions to and impose certain duties upon that Commission and those Committees; and to provide for matters connected therewith.”

TRC objectives in Sri Lankan context

preamble guides us on how it would fit with reconciliatory demands made from Sri Lanka. If listed, a Sri Lankan TRC would observe:
“Causes and extent of gross violations of human rights,” which have been partially addressed by the LLRC.

The creation of a complete picture on nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights committed during a specified period. This “period” runs from 1960 to ’90s for South Africa. The demand from Sri Lanka is for final weeks before May 19, 2009. GOSL spokespersons expand the “period” to mid-seventies and after, also including LTTE’s atrocities. Darusman and LLRC Reports have addressed the “picture”.

TRC’s inquiry arena is unlimited, i.e. “within or outside the Republic”. The predominant demand from GOSL is limited to final battle ground, causing GOSL spokespersons querying on Diaspora activities.

Query on “the fate or whereabouts of the victims” equates the “disappeared” / “missing” mostly raised by internationals, Diaspora, TNA and Tamilnadu. GOSL without bearing accountability, question LTTE atrocities and has arranged for a census on these victims and a Torture Commission.

If granting amnesty to persons on the basis of the above preamble is to be achieved, it will definitely require psychological overhauling to match restorative justice. It is because many Tamils (e.g. demanding inquiry on “Mullavaikkal/Nandikadaal massacres”) and Sinhalese (e.g. reminding “Kebithigollewa, Aranthalawa massacres”) prefer demanding punitive justice. This psychological and attitudinal status is negative for a successful TRC.

May be that “affording victims an opportunity to relate the violations” have worked in South Africa. But will it be applicable here? Will ‘Karmic’ beliefs influence against such thinking? Will such be rekindling violence?

In my LLRC evidence, to elucidate measures to grant reparation and normalization I proposed the use of Pineheiro Principles and distributed summary copies of these principles among LLRC Commissioners. Though the LLRC’s Chairman appreciated it as of “immense value to the Commission in formulating” recommendations, the Pineheiro Principles are never mentioned in the LLRC Report!

Had it been incorporated it might have motivated the GOSL to adhere and the affected/their representatives would have refrained from clamouring for the impossible, because these were UN endorsed methodologies.

South African reconciliation exercise was reinforced with the appointment of Committees on Human Rights Violations, Amnesty and Reparation and Rehabilitation along with the TRC, conferring certain powers on assigned functions and imposing certain duties upon that Commission and those Committees. In Sri Lanka the LLRC Report has covered some such areas, but the UNHRC processes are demanding much more on less focused issues.

Hence, President Zuma’s proposition though appropriate has to be taken with caution. It is double-edged. It could conflict with already taken security stances, cultural or political scenarios. However, we need not photocopy the South African TRC because our society, culture, approaches and the conflict is dissimilar.

Effects of the background for TRC

One may consider these differences with simple reference to the TRC establishment process. For instance, the South African negotiators and former enemies jointly drafted an Interim Constitution. In Sri Lanka this is to be achieved through a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), where the leading Opposition parties are absent. O tempora! O mores! (Oh, the times! Oh, the customs!)
Unfortunately, there are no Mandelas or de Klerks in Sri Lankan politics!

The African National Congress which won power wanted “justice.” They had alternative means to deal with issues, e.g. prosecutions, reparations, rehabilitation. The Apartheid Government wanted “collective amnesty”. The TRC had to address both. In the Sri Lankan context only the GOSL exists to demand trend-setting since LTTE is wiped out; and, the TNA is criticized as “LTTE proxies”, though invited by the GOSL to the PSC!

If President Zuma wished the Sri Lankan TRC to offer amnesty for acts, omissions and offences associated with the conflict, it will require ‘pure rehabilitated minds.’ The Tamil Diaspora had been demanding the punitive pound of flesh of the President and Secretary Defense for violations, while the GOSL totally denied any complicity. How to balance this partiality has to be considered before nodding the TRC.

Nevertheless, under a TRC the events that had led to suffering and violations of rights, life and properties can be addressed on the basis that there is a need for understanding, not for vengeance; a need for reparation but not for retaliation; a need for compassion but not for victimisation. Are these aspirations understood by both sides of the divide, even 4 1/2 years after annihilating LTTE?

Even South Africa faced this problem. Due to similar complications Dr. Alex Boraine, a former Opposition Parliamentarian (unlike Sri Lankans!) hosted seminars that allowed political leaders, civil society representatives and victims of apartheid to explore a Truth Commission approach. GOSL has not tried duplicating such preliminaries, probably because TRC proposal is still an embryo.

Due to these contradictory effects the Sri Lankan TRC process differs. However, in pursuit of national unity and well-being and sustainable peace, reconciliation demands proper processes. In this, partiality will not take the country anywhere. Can TRC build impartiality?

It is said that the TRC dealt with gross crimes against humanity and focused on the specified period. Perpetrators had the opportunity to apply for amnesty for crimes committed during that period. TRC was unique as it allowed amnesty in lieu of truth. Can this be achieved in Sri Lanka where no one admits perpetration or accountability to violations and extremist allegations are leveled?

Understanding of “understanding”

I quote an episode from “Call Me David” by John McSweeney to clearly understand the “understanding” required for reconciliation through a TRC.

“A frail black woman stands slowly to her feet. She is over 70 years of age. Facing her across the court room are several white security officers, one of them, Mr. Van de Broek, has just been tried and found implicated in the murders of both the woman’s son and husband some years before.

It was indeed Mr. Van de Broek, it has been established, who had come into the woman’s home many years back, had taken her son, shot him at point-blank range and then burned the young man’s body on a fire while he and his officers held a party. Seven years later Van de Broek and his cohorts had returned to take away her husband as well. For many months she heard nothing of his whereabouts. Then almost two years after her husband’s disappearance, Van de Broek came back to fetch the woman herself. How vividly she remembers that evening, going to a place beside a river, where she was shown her husband, bound and beaten, but still strong in spirit, lying on a pile of wood. The last words she heard from his lips, as the officer poured gasoline over his body and set him aflame, were `Father, forgive them.’

And now the woman stands in the courtroom and listens to the confession offered by Mr. Van de Broek. A member of the commission turns to her and asks, `So, what do you want? How can justice be done to this man who has so brutally destroyed your family?’ ‘I want three things” began the woman, calmly but confidently. `I want first to be taken to the place where my husband’s body was burned so that I can gather the dust and give his remains a decent burial.’ She pauses, and then continues, `My husband and son were my only family. I want secondly, therefore, for Mr. Van de Broek to become my son. I would like him to come twice a month to the ghetto and spend time with me so that I can pour out on him whatever love I have remaining within me.

‘And finally,’ she says, `I want a third thing. I would like Mr. Van de Broek to know that I offer him my forgiveness because Jesus Christ died to forgive. This was also the wish of my husband. And so, I would kindly ask someone to come to my side and lead me across the courtroom so that I can take Mr. Van de Broek in my arms, embrace him and let him know he is truly forgiven. As the court assistant comes to lead the elderly woman across the room, Mr. Van de Broek, overwhelmed by what he has just heard, faints. And as he does those in the courtroom – friends, family and neighbours, who were all victims of decades of oppression and injustice – begin to sing softly the great hymn, `Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…’

Are Sri Lankans, whether here or abroad, Sinhalese or Tamil, in the military or with LTTE convictions, in the mood to emulate this black woman, at a local TRC? If our psyche is narrow, forget what President Zuma proposed, because the success of TRC in South Africa is not only because of an institution, but due to the respect people had to solemn sympathetic understanding.

Dan Sinh Nguyen Vo says that “reconciliation, at its core, is about restoring the right relationship between people who have been enemies.” Since the “enemy” is non-existent, can GOSL observe the “relationship between people” as Sri Lankan citizens? Is it achievable by amnesty, speaking the truth, hugging a perpetrator like the African woman who embraced the killer of her husband and son, or, by crying for raw blood of unknown perpetrators, as it occasionally happens here? Has GOSL initiated mental conversion of officials, politicians and supporters to do the same with regard to the affected? Has media or clergy commenced new thinking? Have Tamil politicians and the remnants of the LTTE changed themselves? Not much.

A quote from Grace Mandela on Robert Mugabe is appropriate here. While urging African leaders to learn from Mugabe’s mistakes she said “We came together to liberate ourselves but now we show that power and the way you exercise power can pervert you to become precisely the opposite of what led you to became a freedom fighter.” In this regard, Mandela – de Klerk relationship could be guidance to Sri Lankan politicians – Government/Opposition, high and low.

Forces opposing reconciliation blur understanding. In a previous writing when I quoted the black African lady in support of reconciliation, a response quoted another African case record: “We are saying Justice must be done especially when we’ve got a government waited for more than 10 years to take action against the criminals.” Do not we Sri Lankans here similar sentiment with 30 years replacing 10 years proving that Sri Lanka is not short of such revenge enthusiasts. It is the same for those LTTE remnants protesting over age old historic declarations and events too. We must disagree with continuing mutual and reciprocal hatred and revenge, meaning that guillotining will not end. It is frankly because sinners can be with both.

legal academic Eugenia Zorbas, writing on post-genocide Rwanda said ‘National reconciliation is a vague and messy process.’ The current reconciliation dialogue here also confirms this status. Sometimes hard choices have to be selected on reconciliation. Emotional and biased outbursts on such selection will not help the Victor or Vanquished, but a TRC can soothe.

TRCs are a popular vehicle for reconciliation. It aims at truthfulness, creating space for people to feel safe and talk of fears and hopes, hurts and responsibilities. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has argued in favour of a TRC as the most appropriate mechanism to reconcile South Africans. Whether it would repeat in Sri Lanka is worth watching.

Whether outcomes would satisfy the victims’ expectations and dispense justice will depend on the TRC’s processes from preparation of the Terms of Reference, operational genuineness and publicising the unbiased truth from inquiry. Even if all five volumes of African TRC reporting is not read, if the fifth volume that contains the conclusions reached by the TRC, including analyses, findings and recommendations are read by authorities, it would enlighten on how a TRC could be made useful for sustainable reconciliation. President Zuma can assist GOSL, as promised.

Hope for eternity

A quote from Hadis Tirmidi says: “On the day of Makkah Victory, some Sahabas (close associates) said while entering Makkah, “Al-yamu Yamul Marhama” (Today is the Day of Revenge). As the Prophet heard this He said, “Al-yawmu Yamul Marhama” (Today is the Day of Showing Love). It means the Day of Forgetting and Forgiving.” Can a TRC bring us to the Day of Forgetting and Forgiving?

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Latest comments

  • 1
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    Emulating the South African Truth & Reconciliation Commission, mal fide, just as a mime-buying move won’t do. Besides, the South African context andSri Lankan context are as different as chalk is from cheese, so to speak.

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      In what way is the srilankan and south african context different,bandula?Both had civil wars.Both are over and country has to move on into the future healing the wounds of the past.

      • 0
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        Shnkar you Sinkalam,

        You are back to your old tricks again. The Situation in Sinhala Lanka is a World away from South Africa.
        What we had in Sinhala Lanka was Genicide and what we had in South Africa was discrimination based on Colour. TRC in Sinhala Lanka wont work before we have ACCOUNTABILTY so dont talk Bulshit

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          kali you panankottai,plenty of blacks were killed,imprisoned and tortured, including the leader steve biko.Even mandela spent 20 years hard labour working n the quarry lifting stones,and he did not kill anybody for such a punishement.Did he have bitterness and hatred like you?learn from great people and move on.

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            Shankar you Sinkalam,

            If you dont know something dont comment on it and make a fool of yourself. For your information a Civil War in South Africa was averted by the White Minority accepting Majority Rule and Democracy.
            Yes there was a lot of killing in South Africa( Not on the same scale as in Sinhala Lanka )but it was not a Civil War.
            What we had in Sinkala Lanka was a Civil War which was brought upon by you lot. So dont confuse the two.

            • 0
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              kali you arivu ketta kai adi,the definition of civil war is when two parties within a country resort to arms to settle a conflict.Any way what does it matter anyway because instead of playing around with words here we must ask ourselves the question whether this 25 year conflict is going to be a one off event or whether it is going to be a regular recurring type.If we feel that it is a one off event then we can deal with the crimes in a special manner without the normal way of doing things for regular crimes that require punishment as a deterrent.That is why the commission should be conducted in conjunction with LLRC being implemented so that this type of conflict will never happen again.

              • 0
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                No You Idiot go and do your research. You Moron

  • 1
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    With continuing lawlessness and the immoral and unethical activities of the Sri Lanka regime truth was the first casualty and continues to be so.—————————————————————————–In such circumstance how can a Truth & Reconciliation Commission be conducted truthfully in Sri Lanka?

    • 0
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      Truth and reconciliation will only work when underpinned by TRUST.
      In the lexicon of the present Government of Sri Lanka, the words Truth, Reconciliation, Sincerity and Magnanimity are MISSING, whilst the words IMPUNITY, DEVIOUSNESS, OBFUSCATION and DENIAL describe much of what is practised day by day.

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    Excellent comment Bandula, Cannot agree with you more

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      Mr. Fernando says in his article, I quote:
      “Hence, President Zuma’s proposition though appropriate has to be taken with caution. It is double-edged. It could conflict with already taken security stances, cultural or political scenarios. However, we need not photocopy the South African TRC because our society, culture, approaches and the conflict is dissimilar.”
      Will adjustments accordingly help to have a successful TRC on Sri Lankan priorities?

  • 2
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    We will have neither truth nor reconciliation from Rajapaksa. The South African scenario was very different to the Sri Lankan scenario and a T&R commission will not find answers to the war crimes and crimes against humanity questions. The Rajapaksas are likely to agree to the T&R commission because it will let them and their military leaders off the hook for the atrocious crimes they committed on the tamil civilians. The tamil people should reject it outright.

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      terrorist supporter, wait till hell freezes over for truth and till the cows come home for reconciliation . lmao you wouldnt know either if you had them in front of you anyways .

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        Abhaya you Sinhalese Moron,

        Who are the trerrorists. In our eyes it is the Criminals headed by MR and his Cronies. By March 2014 they will be indicted to the HAGUE

  • 1
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    The South African story is somewhat different to the SL one.

    In SA the Apartheid government, illegal occupiers of the land (just as in Zimbabwe), was fighting a True Liberation Struggle spearheaded by the ANC. The government used all the fire-power and mercenaries at their disposal to cause fear and panic among the majority blacks by brutal repression, torture, murder and rape.

    The apartheid laws of SA were unjust, repressive and against all human norms.

    In SA the struggle was never white against black, but was all about a small but invidious set of thieving whites fighting to retain their stolen and ill-gotten wealth.

    Unfortunately, even after nearly 3 decades of independence this status-quo has not changed.

    Most farms, mines and corporate businesses are even today owned by whites. However, there is blatant window dressing with a few “influential and educated” blacks being given “Executive” positions in those organisations with grand salaries and perks without any responsibility.

    The TRC was therefore a mere sop thrown at the blacks to perpetuate the theft of the country’s resources by the minority whites. No perpetrator of “war crimes” was punished, so the whites have the cake and continue to eat it!

    Although the story of the “frail black woman” makes tear-jerking reading, this does not reflect the majority reaction of the blacks in SA to what happened during apartheid rule.

    Austin, as a previous commentator has stated the SA’s TRC has no relevance or bearing to the SL scenario. Pursuing that option will not only delay and confuse the reconciliation process in SL, but would cause more problems than are there now.

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      MNZ your comment was a well thought out one and i commend you for it,but you must be careful to not let your emotions overcome good judgement,where a decision is made that is the best for the tamil people and the country as a whole.You say”The South African story is somewhat different to the SL one. In SA the Apartheid government, illegal occupiers of the land (just as in Zimbabwe), was fighting a True Liberation Struggle spearheaded by the ANC. The government used all the fire-power and mercenaries at their disposal to cause fear and panic among the majority blacks by brutal repression, torture, murder and rape. The apartheid laws of SA were unjust, repressive and against all human norms.” Now if you just substitute SL for SA and LTTE for TNA what is the somewhat difference in the two contexts that you are talking about?Everything else in that statement seems identical to me excepts for the names of the two combatants.You also go0 on to say i quote “In SA the struggle was never white against black,” In SL too the struggle was never between tamils and sinhalese,but was all about a set of politicians on both sides stirring the pot in order to get votes and win elections.They chose the easiest path which was the communal one.Your comment “No perpetrator of “war crimes” was punished,” says it all about your mentality towards this issue.YOu seem to think it is all about punishment.To understand punishment in our penal system you have to ask yourself the question why do we punish people.The simple answer is to act as a deterrent to others who want to commit crimes.All the crimes that took place during this civil war are non recurrent ones because civil wars are one off events.So punishment as a deterrent is not necessary for civil society to move on without disruption.So you have to understand the 2 contexts of normal penal systems and one off events of civil wars that erupt due to poor governance and political issues.That is why a truth and reconciliation commission should be done only in conjunction with the LLRC because all those factors that created the civil war should be also eliminated once and for all so that we or our future generations will never have to go through that horror again.What we need here is the full truth and nothing but the truth to be brought forth through this commission and properly documented for the future generations so that they like the japanese and the germans never repeat the mistakes done by their forefathers.

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        Shankar, many thanks for your comments.

        While I don’t wish to enter into debate on your sentiments, I still stand by my assertion about the TRC: Pursuing that option will not only delay and confuse the reconciliation process in SL, but would cause more problems than are there now.

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    Last year when South Africa Foreign Ministry suggested it to Minister Peiris when he visited South Africa, the Minister was vilified by the Sinhalese just even for letting South Africa suggest it.

    NOW it’s useful to talk about TRC to buy time to do more harm in the North.

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      davi,that is why it is important that the rajapakshes are not allowed to take control of the truth and reconciliation commission.The UN should take control of it and appoint someone like Desmond Tutu as the chairman and in conjunction with him appoint the other commissioners.If the rajapakshes object to that then the cat will be out of the bag that they are just trying to buy time as you mentioned.

  • 0
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    Good suggestion. But will it materialize?

  • 1
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    Sri Lanka should have Apartheid too. Then the colombo Tamils, Batticaloa Tamils and Northern Tamils can have their own EELAMS and work for the TGTE too.

  • 0
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    In South Africa the oppressors lost but in Sri Lanka they still practice persecution and enslavement. How can TRC work in Sri Lanka when the freedom fighters are still tortured and raped. How can the witnesses be protected from security personnel? The GOSL is preparing to counteract possible UN HRC resolution in March 2014 instead of addressing humane problems the war affected people face. First let the truth be uncovered as to the extent of the crimes allegedly committed by both sides of the conflict. Then, only then TRC will serve to reconcile people.

  • 0
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    First of all our Minister for External Affairs has to learn to speak the truth:

    ”28 February 2012, Kampala: Minister Peiris explained in detail at his discussions in Kampala the substantial progress which had been made since the presentation of the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to Parliament on 17th December last year . He said that the government had identified the steps that are required to implement the major recommendations contained in the Report, together with priorities, while also assigning responsibility to different Ministries, Departments and statutory corporations for giving effect in a systematic way to different categories of recommendations” – http://www.mea.gov.lk/index.php/en/media/news-archive/3359-external-intervention-will-gravely-hamper-sri-lankan-process-prof-peiris-tells-leaders-of-ugandan-government

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    Ministry website is economic/al with the truth of offer of experiences from TRC by South Africa:
    http://www.mea.gov.lk/index.php/en/media/news-archive/3365-minister-of-external-affairs-professor-gl-peiris-meets-with-mr-ebrahim-ismail-ebrahim-deputy-minister-of-foreign-affairs-of-south-africa

    ”South Africa continues to encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the LLRC Report in the same spirit as South Africa implemented the TRC processes. South Africa stands ready to assist and share with the Government and people of Sri Lanka its experiences in terms of nation-building through the TRC. In addition to paying a courtesy call on President Jacob Zuma, Minister Peiris also visited the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg” – South Africa and Sri Lanka discuss Peace and Sustainable Political Settlement in Sri Lanka, 7 March 2012, http://www.dfa.gov.za/docs/2012/sril0307.html

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    This should be seen in a completely different context. Nelson Mandela wanted a positive outcome. Before his election he prevailed on the white people not to leave South Africa (SA) for he wanted them to contribute towards building a future SA on a solid political, social and economic foundation. In recent times, leaders like Mandela and Tutu have been bitterly critical of the human rights record in Sri Lanka. They wanted the truth but the Rajapaksa regime is not prepared to face or accept the Truth. Now, when the rather discredited and bankrupt South African leader in Zumo suggests the Truth and the Reconciliation Commission, Rajapaksa with such a mindset conveniently latches on to it to bide for time. Except for the LLRC no other Commission appointed by Rajapaksa has been allowed to see the light of day.Bensen

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    ”Countries have to solve issues of concern in keeping with their values systems with primacy accorded to local procedures, as the needs of the country and its people are important, observed Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L. Peiris during his bilateral meetings yesterday (24th September) on the margins of the 67th Session of the UNGA, with the Deputy Prime Ministers & Foreign Ministers of Oman and the Czech Republic, Foreign Ministers of Bahrain, Cyprus, the Maldives and the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Minister Peiris is leading the Sri Lanka delegation to the UN General Assembly session this year” – 25 September 2012, http://www.mea.gov.lk/index.php/en/media/news-archive/3656-issues-of-concern-to-be-solved-in-keeping-with-countries-value-systems-professor-gl-peiris

    What are these ”value systems” which human beings in other countries have or don’t have please?
    How long will the ethnic minorities have to wait to get justice?
    When did B-C pact, D-C pact, ….. start please, dear Minister?

  • 0
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    Waiting, waiting, waiting, …..

    ”Mr. Ebrahim Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation of the Republic of South Africa, and Mr. Roelf Meyer, former Minister of Defence and Minister of Constitutional Affairs of South Africa, called on Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, at the Ministry on Friday…..A – matter which received emphasis in the discussion was the importance of a home-grown solution if implementation is to be achieved…..The South African delegation told Minister Peiris that they would be happy to render all assistance to Sri Lanka, drawing upon their own experience and insights. Prof. Peiris expressed appreciation of their friendship and goodwill” – 10 August 2012, http://www.mea.gov.lk/index.php/en/media/news-archive/3551-leaders-of-south-african-peace-process-offer-co-operation-to-sri-lanka

    So, at last we have had the elections for Northern Provincial Council in September 2013.

    NOW, …… TRC is begun to be used to buy time to advance Sinhala colonisation of the North and to strangle more Tamil businessmen in bank credits and suicides (that is what we hear and not read about) while Sinhala pavement hawkers and Sinhala vegetable and fish middlemen in their vehicles with cooling facilities reach the farmer in his farm and the fishermen on the beach by the ”infrastructure of roads” depriving the local people of livelihood.

    Good subject matter for the anthropologists.

    • 0
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      Certainly South Africa has been heeding the call:

      What South Africa can do to help with reconciliation in Sri Lanka, Louise Arbour, 24 July 2011

  • 0
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    Truth and reconciliation is identifying all individual atrocities committed by people of both sides and confronting the perpetrators and the victims or their survivors face to face with each other and coming into genuine reconciliation. This calls for magnanimity from all concerned without asking for retributory justice which will only negate the process. It is possible to identify the people from the Sri Lankan forces who are alleged to have committed these crimes. But how about the LTTE cadres who committed crimes as groups, suicide bombings and recruiting child soldiers and are now not able to be identified? Will the LTTE cadres who surrendered, Adela Balasingham , KP or LTTE higher high officials living in the US,UK,CANADA,EU, INDIA & AUSTRALIA etc own up to the atrocities committed by LTTE as a group ask for forgiveness and reconcile with all the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people of Sri Lanka? This is true reconciliation. I am sure President Rajapakse will be able to convince the Sri Lankan people to forgive the LTTE for the atrocities committed on his people and have genuine reconcilliation.

  • 0
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    Austin.

    I wish to comment on the following first:

    1)Already there are some who project the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) grabbing this proposal in good faith.
    2)Another presents GOSL’s ulterior motives as one way out of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) quagmire in March 2014.

    MR is a born racist and he is not interested in Reconciliation and he doesnt understand the meaning of it so there there is nothing to Grab.
    So anything GOSL does should be considered as with an Ulterior Motive to save themselves from being found Guilty of War Crimes.

    The Day of Forgetting and Forgiving cannot happen under those who are responsible for the GENOCIDE.

    Tamils cannot move on without ACCOUNTABILTY.

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      Kali
      All sins as well as merit emanate from the mind. Therefore, if GOSL, internationals, affected etc can make up their minds to face realities of forgetting and forgiving, then everybody can get away from punitive justice and return to restorative justice.
      I am not one who had been affected as a family or person due to the conflict, though I have been affected as a citizen. Therefore, it is easy for me to say what I have said, but it is difficult for the affected to bear. I appreciate it. This is the dichotomy of the issue.
      Nonetheless, what I suggest is for the affected to become the Africa lady in my story mentioned above and the perpetrators, whether they are from the military or LTTE to become “Mr. Van de Broeks”. It is extremely difficult but TRC has proved it could happen, at least to an extent.
      Rather than to be complaining we must build the country and the Nation to be a better country and a Nation. If punitive justice is pursued some rights may be won, but for sure not reconciliation.
      I am coming to 72 years, therefore, I may bear up what happened and happens. But why should I wish the same sinful status to go down the lives of my children and grandchildren or yours?

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    Austin,
    I take your point about the Black Lady and it is a Heart-Rendering Story but the Balcks always had hope of turning the tide as they were the Majority out numbering the Whites by 10 to 1 so it was a matter of Time and the whites realising this relinquished power averting a Civil War.
    The TRC was set up by the Victims to forgive and forget and it amounts to being Magnanimous in victory. But the Sri Lankan Situation is different. We are the victims and the people who will be setting up the TRC have blood on their hands and MR is a master of deception and he will everything possible to Hijack . Therefore they cannot be part of the Reconciliation and the only way then can be part of the process is by subjecting themselves to an Inquiry. ACCOUNTABILITY is a Pre requisite to RECONCILATIION.

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