Reconciliation a priority for Sri Lanka’s government: Harsha De Silva

Nov 15, 2016 (LBO) – Reconciliation is a priority for Sri Lanka’s unity government and transitional justice is an important aspect of this, Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva said.

“Reconciliation is not a box that can be ticked or a journey that can end as per a timeline. There are no magic portions to achieve what we set out to achieve,” he said.

“It requires hard work and constant striving, and a commitment towards which our nation should be bound across generations.”

De Silva was speaking at the Regional Consultations on Transitional Justice in Asia-Pacific, held at the Hilton Colombo, on November 9th.

The unity government was a necessary step to obtain the bipartisan consensus required to face “the important challenges before our nation, which include reconciliation and peacebuilding,” he added.

The co-sponsorship of Resolution 30/1 titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,’ constitutional reforms, and an Office on Missing Persons are some of the steps taken towards reconciliation, the deputy minister said.

A task force on national consultations will hand over their report to the President and the Prime Minister this month, which will also look at the design of truth-seeking, justice and reparations mechanisms.

“As contexts differ and there are no cookie-cutter models that can be adopted in sensitive processes such as transitional justice, this is a journey that our nation has to undertake and chart on its own.”

“Yet, we cannot afford to experiment or make mistakes. Therefore, we rely on technical expertise as well as advice, and Pablo and the OHCHR officers have been excellent partners to us in our journey.”

Ensuring that people receive a quick economic peace dividend is a significant area that attention is being paid to, he added.