The National Peace Council (NPC)

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இறந்துபோனோரை நினைவூ கூற தோல்வியடைந்தவர்களுக்கு உரிமை இல்லையா?

மூன்று தசாப்த காலமாக நடைபெற்ற கலவரமான யூகத்தில் ஆயூத தாரிகளால் மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்ட தாக்குதல்களினால் கொல்லப்பட்டவர்களை நினைவூ கூறுவதற்கு யாழ்ப்பாண பல்கலைக்கழக மாணவர்கள் ஒழுங்கு செய்த அனுஷ்டிப்பு நிகழ்வை ஆவணப்படுத்திய செய்தி ஆசிரியர் திரு.தேவானந் பின்வருமாறு விளக்குகின்றார்.

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CONCESSIONS TO HUMAN RIGHTS PRESSURES AND A P0LITICAL SOLUTION

The government’s decision to respond positively to a request by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay to have an advisory and technical team visit Sri Lanka represents an important shift in government policy. The government’s previous position was that that the international human rights community had no role to play in investigating allegations of human rights violations within Sri Lanka, as that was a matter for the Sri Lankan government itself in conformity with the principle of national sovereignty. It was on this basis that the government opposed the UN Human Rights Council resolution in Geneva in March of this year which, amongst other things, mandated Commissioner Pillay to send an advisory and technical assistance team to Sri Lanka.

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LLRC ACTION PLAN AND TAKING LLRC REPORT SERIOUSLY

The detailed action plan prepared by the government with regard to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and released last week has been done in a highly professional manner, and would be the envy of many a dysfunctional previous commission of inquiry.   On the face of it, the government appears to have taken the LLRC commission report seriously as the Commissioners would have wished and the international community has already called for.   There are 91 recommendations that the action plan takes cognizance of.  Each of these recommendations is looked at in terms of specific activities they entail.  The action plan also identifies the government agencies that will be responsible for implementing each of these activities within a specified time frame, most of them ranging from 6 to 24 months.

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DISPELLING PERCEPTIONS OF UNCARING GOVERNMENT IN THE NORTH

Those who travel from Colombo to the north, be they nationals of Sri Lanka or foreigners, are likely to be impressed by the developments that they see when they travel by road.  The view on the A9 Highway, once called the Highway of Death due to the scores of lives lost in fighting to control it, is a constantly improving one. The journey now takes around ten hours, down considerably from what it used to be. The well constructed roads make travel most comfortable and the main source of concern would be traffic police waiting in the shadows to catch speeding drivers.  The roadside restaurants are numerous and more and more of them offer clean restrooms that were rare in the past.  At journey's end there are a range of hotels to choose from, some even equipped with swimming pools. These developments that are visible and earn the praise of nationals and foreigners alike are a result of the macro-economic policies of the government.

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PUTTING SOCIAL INTEGRATION POLICY INTO ACTON

The national social integration policy of the government is the latest in its multi-pronged effort to affirm and reaffirm its commitment to improvement in practices of governance and making Sri Lanka the home of all Sri Lankans.  It comes at a time when the flight of boat people from Sri Lanka to Western countries has reached a level that is attracting international media attention that is not complimentary to the country.  Less visible is the brain drain that is depleting the country of its best human resources as I discovered over the weekend to my dismay when I rang up to make an urgent appointment with my doctor.  The launch of the National Policy Framework for Social Integration that took place at the President’s House in Temple Trees follows the report of the Lessons Learn and Reconciliation Commission which was validated by the UN Human Rights Council in March and the National Human Rights Action Plan to be submitted at its forthcoming meeting in November.  It was also significant that the launch took place on July 16, exactly a week before the anniversary of the anti-Tamil pogrom that commenced on July 23, 1983 that spelled the disintegration of a democratic and plural society.

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DELAY IN PROVINCIAL ELECTION KEEPS NORTHERN RESENTMENT ALIVE

It was past eight pm and most of the two to three hundred strong audience present at the open air theatre of the Centre for Performing Arts in Jaffna had not dispersed.  They had come to be part of the golden jubilee celebration of the CPArts founder, Fr N M Saveri. Most of the audience was composed of women and youth.  Despite the lateness of the hour there was no sign of uneasiness or tension.  This was unimaginable during the years of the war.  There was no visible presence of security forces.  The relaxed and peaceful environment can be taken as one of the positive features of the post-war period.

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NDIA’S KEY ROLE IN INFLUENCING INTERNATIONAL OPINION

The government is bracing itself to meet the next round of international human rights challenges that will arise with the commencement of sessions on the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in November.  The UPR comes in a four year cycle for all member countries of the UN, where they are obliged to present a report on their progress in upholding international standards of human rights.  As countries, like individuals, are inclined to view themselves in a self-indulgent manner, the UPR requires three other countries to monitor and comment on each country when it submits its report.  In Sri Lanka’s case, the three countries are India, Spain and Benin.

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WEAKNESS IN GOVERNMENT’S SHORT TERM WINNING STRATEGY

The one day visit of Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon to Sri Lanka is revealing of the power structure in the country in relation to Indian priorities.  He met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.   The shortness of the visit made it imperative that choices had to be made about who was to be met, and that the three Rajapaksa brothers came first.  They clearly hold the key to Sri Lanka’s present and future directions, at least in Indian eyes.  The only other person to be met by the Indian troubleshooter was Tamil National Alliance leader R Sampanthan, which also gives an indication of Indian concerns with regard to Sri Lanka.

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COMMUNITY OPINION ON POST-WAR DEVELOPMENTS

The adequacy and need for further humanitarian initiatives to assist war-affected people three years after the war’s end is one on which there is contrasting opinions within the country and internationally.  When faced with any call for improvement, the standard response of government authorities is to claim that Sri Lanka is a model of post-war resettlement and rebuilding which other countries can learn from.  There is always an angry official denial that any serious problems exist. As a result the general opinion outside of the North and East is that the problems of the war-affected people have been more or less resolved by the government.  However, by and large, people are open minded and willing to see a different side if there is someone willing to show it to them.   This is what was evident at a recently held inter religious conference that was the culmination of a two year process of working together for reconciliation.

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UNTAPPED POTENTIAL FOR UNITY AND JOINT PROBLEM SOLVING

The inability of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to deliver his speech at the opening session of the Commonwealth Business Council in London last week was a replay of the scuttling of the President’s intention to address the Oxford Union last year.   On that occasion there was strong manifestation of ill feeling and even hatred that apparently intimidated the organizers of the event into cancelling it as the last moment.  There was reason for the government to have been aware of the possibility of disruption on this occasion too.  The organizers would have been aware of the massive protests that the Tamil Diaspora had been able to organize during the last days of the war when they sought international intervention to stop the war. 

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The National Peace Council (NPC) was established as an independent and impartial national non-government organization...

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Contact Information

Address: 12/14, Balapokuna Vihara Rd, Colombo 06
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +94 11 281 8344, +94 11 285 4127, +94 11 280 9348
Fax: +94 11 281 9064


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