By Kamal NIssanka –
Recommendations Require Swift and Systemiatic Implementation
The Liberal Party has studied the recommendations in the report and believes these could be used to promote consensus and as a starting point for national integration and reconciliation.
The Liberal Party sees the recommendations as dealing with three areas. Firstly it deals with measures to restore normality with regard to problems that occurred during the long effort to overcome terrorism. In this regard the party welcomes the recommendations regarding disappearances, rehabilitation and law enforcement mechanism as required for surrendered cadres ,and protection for vulnerable groups. It is pleased that government has moved swiftly with regard to resettlement and rehabilitation ,but believes that as the commission recommends ,measures to promote livelihood ,including much better and more comprehensive training programs and provisions of credit facilities are essential. We support a program of household survey of those affected by the conflict and also the drafting of legislation to overcome continuing uncertainty about the missing. Control of the actions of armed groups is also essential and in this regard we have long talked of the need for strengthening the police and ensuring professionalism as well as accountability.
Even more important are recommendations with regard to causes of unrest and in particular the role played by restrictive language policies in making minorities feel they were discriminated against. We note the recommendations made now were first advanced by the Liberal Party in the program it put forward at its inception 25 years ago. We thus welcome the recommendations on the national mixed school with ethnic and religious diversity , equal language rights and better language teaching. We also welcome the recognition that power must be given back to the people through devolution on the basis of nine provinces but also with greater responsibility to smaller units.
Finally with regard to accountability we welcome the recognition of the Report that there is no basis for wild general allegations , whilst affirming that incidents about which clear allegations with detals are available should be further investigated. We also welcome reiteration of the need to deal more effectively with past incidents such as those examined be earlier commissions of inquiry, with judicial actions when warranted. We agree however that accountability is more vital as it affects the living, so that recommendations regarding the missing and the need for investigation and closure where possible should be urgently implemented.
We note too the recommendations with regard to ensuring a coherent land policy are important and the Liberal Party also expects from all political parties not to use the issue of land policy for mere political advantage. The Liberal Party supports the view of the commission that the existing demographic pattern should not be affected as a result of state land policy but that land may be bought by any citizen in any area or province depending on market forces and market prices. Ensuring that the landless affected by war are given adequate land is however a priority.
The Liberal party also supports the recommendations by the commission that hate speech should be avoided in all situations and reiterates the need to engage with hostile diaspora in a constructive manner.
The Liberal Party affirms that coherent action is essential and hopes that effective mechanisms that may be held accountable are soon put in place.
Kamal NIssanka -Secretary General,The Liberal Party ( Sri Lanka)