30 October, 2020

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Sustaining Peace – Sri Lanka’s Priority Number One

By Mano Tittawella

Mano Tittawella

Mano Tittawella

Sustaining Peace is, and must be, the number one priority. The new Government took office with a commitment to securing long term peace and reconciliation, premised on the principles of good governance while strengthening democratic institutions and ending long years of impunity and inequality.

*Speech made by Mano Tittawella, Secretary General, Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechnisms at the event with the participation of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

Thank you, your excellency, Secretary General, for your remarks and continued support.

Having emerged from many conflicts and the resultant years of oppression and suffering , Sri Lanka knows only too well the value of Peace. Perhaps , for the first time, we are in a position whereby we can look to a prosperous and peaceful future from a point of stability, hope and opportunity.

Sustaining Peace is, and must be, the number one priority. The new Government took office with a commitment to securing long term peace and reconciliation, premised on the principles of good governance while strengthening democratic institutions and ending long years of impunity and inequality.

The Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM) was established to help take these priorities forward, and we are working in close partnership with civil society, including youth and victims of conflict, the private sector, the United Nations and other development partners and of course the many arms of Govt both national, provincial and local.

Indeed, I would like to especially thank the Secretary General for the UN’s support to our nationally led peacebuilding efforts, and in particular the recent commitments that have been made from the UN’s Peacebuilding Fund.

Sustaining peace is a complex and long term endeavor that requires

  • Addressing the core grievances of affected communities;
  • Helping these communities to deal with the past and look to the future with optimism and hope;
  • Building trust and a sense of unity across ethnic and religious groups; and
  • Strengthening institutions so that they effectively, equitably and transparently respond to people’s needs.

In the last several months alone, some important initiatives have got underway

The Consultation Taskforce has held public hearings with communities across the country, and initial reports indicate a willingness to cooperate, need for trust building, a viable commitment and action plan for ground level delivery of high quality public services and the need to create opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.

The Government has taken steps to move forward with the establishment of the Office of Missing Persons and the issuance of Certificates of Absence. Moves that will help families across the country to establish what happened to their loved ones, enabling them to move forward in an appropriate way. The Reparations and Truth Seeking Commissions will be established and a suitable Accountability Mechanism will follow.

More families have been able to return home through the release of land. More releases are in the pipeline.

A new National Security Act will replace the often maligned and abused PTA. The practise of confession based convictions will give way to more modern, humane and effective investigative practises.

The Constitutional Reform process has begun, a process that will hopefully bring a lasting political settlement

The Office of National Unity and Reconciliation, ONUR, has continued working to promote mutual understanding and harmony, through initiatives with schools, government officials and communities.

The critical importance of psycho social support and assistance for enlightened education has been recognised and plans are being drawn up to support these initiatives..

Rectifying gender inequalities and empowering women, remains at the core of all these plans and will bring justice and equality to them too.

The reconciliation and no recurrence programme touches and advances the progress on many of the Sustainable Development Goals that Sri Lanka is committed to.

These are just a snapshot of the important work that is taking place, and much remains to be done, but I am confident that we are moving in the right direction.

What is critical is that we see sustaining peace and promoting reconciliation as a national responsibility. It is a commitment requiring the hearts and minds of people from all corners of Sri Lanka and for this I especially count on the support of everyone here today.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    3

    Absence of war is peace.And everything is peaceful in SL. KiMooon just had peaceful, joyful, hilarious Holiday in SL. Also would have received lot of animate and inanimate gifts including a baby Jumbo. There is already peace in SL. Why talk about an unnecessary subject.

  • 6
    1

    Mr Mano Tittawella
    Can you find the actual marks I got in My GCE(A?L) exam in 1971.I felt the marks were altered to my disadvantage and eroding my mind day by day. It removed all my confidence in life. It removed my trust on truth, fairness, hard work, perseverance and honesty. I need the truth before I leave this world.

  • 3
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    “Be honest to your words”

  • 4
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    Laudable and enjoyed reading this.

    Sustaining peace requires compromise. That is something the LTTE fascists never wanted.We are glad that the previous regime some of you malign so much defeated the LTTE. Yes it was at tremendous cost but you or CBK or others will not be talking freely today and neither would FM Samaraweera with his one sided rhetoric if the war did not end. At least CM Wigneswaran speaks of the need for all tamils to learn Sinhala now too. Why is that the minority refuses to learn the language of the majority? What is going on in Malaysia? Everyone needs to learn Bahasa Malaysia now. Yes give all languages parity but is it racism and superiority complex of the Vellala and Brahmins who made pawns of the lesser caste LTTE that is preventing them from acknowledging the language of 74% of the people?

    Peace also requires a reality check. It requires and end to segregated ways of life some people want for some regions of SL and not for others. Addressing core grievances should not exclude any community and should not just be focused on one community.

    However, PTA was necessitated at that time and perhaps is now antiquated. Ruling by emergency is also now not required. If you recall, long before the LTTE and terrorist problem, a certain SLFP led government also kept extending the emergency and they paid a heavy price at the polls in 1977. Ironically, as a result of ISIS and Islamic Jihadi radicalism a lot of liberal western nations are also moving fast towards passing draconian measures to deal with the threats they face. So it was just a case of time and necessity.
    US had to pass laws against legalized segregation but in SL there is defacto segregation and racial exclusivity that some seek.

    Grassroots democracy and devolution of REAL decision making processes at regional level will be required. The absurd provincial government system with its replicated redundant bloated bureaucracies and entitlement system has not worked out well right? All it did was add to expenditure.

    Yes indeed from race riots to 1971 JVP uprising, to the period from 1988-90, Batalanda and the 1983 ethnic pogrom all must never be allowed to repeated.

    Why is giving economic decision making power considered a threat by the majority? Why not real devolution while keeping key aspects of governance at the federal level? Why not look at Canada or India where State governments have a lot more power than your useless Provincial councils?

    Changing laws and passing new more democratic and equitable constitutions are easy; but changing people’s views, biases and prejudices is hard.

    Take a good look at the US today. With all their hollow preaching in SL, it remains more divided than before on racial lines. Take a look at how a Demagogue has swept the polls of his party where almost all his votes came from the White Christian mostly blue collar lesser educated people and they love his message. It is a message of suspicion and hate and anti illegal immigrant and anti trade. How did it come to this? Are there lessons SL can learn from that?

    My fervent hope is, that noble people like you will listen to all groups of people WITHIN Sri Lanka and not too much to economic emigres or even the so called self appointed obdurate corrupt Tamil Transnational government(they are like that fraud Ahmed Chalabi). None of us will return and we fled or moved away for so many reasons. Act fast so that real refugees can return; act fast so the ones trapped in India are felt welcome. Act fast to bolster private property regimes and enforce private property regimes and give back the land and houses lost to those who fled.

    Why did the JVP rebel? It was for the same reasons that the LTTE found people to fight and that is inequitable economic opportunity. Devolve development decision to the smallest possible governing unit. Even bribes and commissions will then be doled out at the smallest level and not the way Basil and MR and others did with macro projects and the thievery at the top level. You will see how fast the minorities will be happy if their local leaders can steal just as fast as the top rungs in power.

    Start a modern database and collect all the information necessary to hand back land to victims. Do not ignore victims of the majority community and do not ignore those who sacrificed everything so that the war will end. It is now 7 years since the last shots were fired and the last suicide terrorist bomb blew themselves up.

    My fervent hope is people realize that going back to hell on earth that is not an option. . If you want to talk reconciliation everyone has to be honest about crimes against humanity and pogroms. And to this date no one even knows what happened to the 600 policemen who were ordered to surrender by foolish Premedasa. Isn’t bringing closure to their families also a sine qua non of reconciliation? The LTTE violated all norms of war and Geneva Convention by executing those prisoners and also draining their blood while they were alive to treat their wounded.

    Loved reading your speeching. Floreat comrade Floreat.

  • 4
    3

    Winning hearts and minds does not mean being like bombastic Jehan Perera and other pseudo intellectuals on Foreign payroll lecturing only to Sinhalese about changing their mindset and to share power and land and all resources. You will have to tell Tamil racists they need to CHANGE too. Why are Tamil racists not called out for who they are? They do not want Sinhalese or Muslims in the North. Why is that? Then why are 55% of Tamils living in Sinhala Eelam?

  • 3
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    They do not want Sinhalese or Muslims in the North. Why is that?
    Because the drug addict, alcohol addict. thugs, criminals and convicts are not wanted there. Peace loving, honest, hardworking are always welcome.

    • 2
      4

      Far

      please take our children to your place because there’re all types of unwanted people here and abuse.

      Come to our area and tell us the reason that you don’t have such animals.

      Are you sure that VP didn’t engage in drug dealing to earn money to buy arms.

      What a good set of people you are.

  • 3
    3

    Right now in Jaffna there is a huge Tamil youth problem. The problem is alcoholism and drugs. Why? because tamil youth are getting free money from their relatives who are economic refugees in Canada, Germany, Switzerland etc on a large scale. They sit and do nothing but drink. Rapes by TAMILS have increased. Robberies by Tamils and murders by Tamils of fellow Tamils in Jaffna have increased. Now Jaffna faces the same problems that afflict youth in the South. VP was cruel and did not give freedom. Now too much freedom is being abused by Tamil youth like monkies. Alcoholism is rampant. Heroin and Ganja use is rampant. Smuggling of drugs from India is booming ; carried out FOR Tamils by TAMILS. Wigi is squirming and like Hitler he wants to blame others for the character flaws of Tamils. Typical racist.

  • 1
    0

    How does one jump on this Reconciliation bandwagon? what are the required educational qualifications? MBA? Will this result in lots of soft money and Business class travel facilities like what Norwegian puppet Jehan gets? If so I can bet a lot of people will make out like Bandits after this Reconciliation experiment is completed. Interesting how former President’s cronies are all in this bandwagon now. Noble intentions no doubt but the motives ? are they all altruistic or another way to get great jobs? Also does it ignore Kandyan Peasants whose cries and pleas have been ignored for decades after they lost their land to Indian Serfs during Colonial times?

  • 1
    0

    What is this sustaining peace ?

    Sri lanka is the only country in which the govt is taliking very dishonest always. It is manipulation and exploitation for ever. Readers are just deaf, blind and dumb.

    Never talk positive. When are going to talk straight and handle problems straight head on.

    They find PTA bad onlynow. what is wrong. present govt always criticizes the previous govt. Politicians always say they are expose something or some one but nothing happens. They always talk what they are going to do. but, we ca not find results of anything they did.

  • 1
    0

    The Sri Lanka story now is very sad for all Sri Lankans irrespective of Sinhalese, or Tamil. In the recent past the Country’s downfall is solely because of the authoritarian and anti racial platforms used by irresponsible politicians to come back to power . All the Governments, SLFP or UNP ruling alternatively spread anti Tamil violence in the South at first and gradually brought violence into North and East where all those in the South took refuge after getting slaughtered by Government supporters. Tamils in North and East whose occupation was farming or employment were widely occupying or travelling to the South and other provinces for business and work. The majoritarian Governments took all possible steps including violence to stop Tamils from employment, entering college, and eroding their business. It is by all means acceptable for the Tamil youths to take up to arms to protect themselves and innocent Tamils from state sponsored violence against Tamils.
    The majority Sinhalese got the taste in suppressing the Tamils and used the Government to take over not only their work but also their properties in the south. Now all are watching how the Government sponsored Sinhalese are taking over the Tamils properties in the North and East. United Nations is somewhat ethical and because the international community found out the problems faced by the minority, they are only extending a helping hand to the same majoritarian and communal minded Government to bring about a reconciliation. But this reconciliation is not what is happening. What is happening is more and more antagonizing the minority by parking more and more Sinhalese in the North and East and pretending to do development in the North and East, putting up a lot of Buddhist temples where there are no Buddhists and letting the army guard their new projects. Are there anybody responsible in Sri Lanka or the UN to take the criminals to task and do real reconciliation?

  • 1
    1

    AN UNPRECEDENTED EVENT HAPPENED. LTTE THUG TERRORIST SYMPATHIZERS attacked Sri Lanka’s top Diplomat/High Commissioner to Malaysia and got away. This is a world first. Wonder what LTTE appeasers like the FM will say now. And what will Jehan Repugnant NPC say now. It was just some boys letting off steam? It was in the spirit of reconciliation. PROTECTION granted to diplomats is SACROSANCT. Otherwisew nations will be at war.

    Even during war Diplomats are protected and considered VVIPS. Shame on Malay police but above all SHAME on LTTE thugs in Malaysia and we need to find out if they are illegal immigrants or Malaysian citizens. This is a barbaric act and FM should not be such an appeaser and condemn this attack. So should CBK and RW and My3. Shame shame. Reconciliation cannot come at the price of safety of our diplomats.

  • 0
    0

    Such a innocent speech has much to be commended. This is our hope as well, however many people see problems all over the place. Yes, keep the peace, stop ambassadors from being attacked as well.

  • 1
    0

    I hope this is not a case of another of Chandika’s catchers crawling out of the woodwork ! Mano we will be watching you closely, please don’t let Yahapalanaya down again .[Edited out]

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