The National Peace Council (NPC)

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Sri Lanka: Religious Values Survey

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Case Studies in Reconciliation

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Translation of Tamil newspaper reports on the Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission hearings held in Killinochchi and Mullaitivu

Given below are translations of reports on the hearings of the Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) held in Killnochchi and Mullaitivu that appeared in Tamil newspapers.

Due to the deafening silence and at times selective hearing of the English and Sinhala language media, which have either completely failed to report on the hearings held in Killinochchi and Mullaitivu or have done so in a cursory and/or selective manner, this compilation is posted to ensure the voices of the war affected are heard, and recorded for posterity.

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Towards a Culture of Reconciliation in Peace, Unity in Diversity

The long drawn conflict was addressed by Government, Religious Bodies and NGOs towards rendering humanitarian services, and respect for human rights alongside peace negotiations. Following the end of the conflict last year, these efforts need to be transformed to a larger process of Reconciliation and its underpinnings for continuation of the logical process.

Simply stated, Reconciliation is a process of restoring parties to a conflict through the previous situation. It goes beyond forgetting, forgiving, or repentance to new and stronger relationships within affected parties – perhaps with new information and insights that invariably developed in Reconciliation.  There is a need for overall Reconciliation could be one of the most valuable and important “LESSONS LEARNT” for an acceptable lasting and fulfilling way forward.

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Reconciliation Not Accountability

The Government seems to think that economic development of the North & East will resolve all the problems of the Tamils and that the Tamil demand for a political solution can be ignored. If we want to have a Sri Lankan nation we must consciously develop a Sri Lankan identity. A Sri Lankan identity means there should be no more appeals to Sinhala nationalism or Tamil nationalism. In Tamilnadu Tamil nationalism withered away only after the Tamil language was recognized and equal rights were conceded to the minorities in India. It cannot be different in Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese fear that Tamils threaten the unity of Sri Lanka as one nation because of their claim to the traditional lands in the North & East. But the answer is not to seek to plant more Sinhalese in these areas and reduce the Tamil majority for that would only worsen the fear and suspicion of the Tamil people that the Sinhalese are seeking to dominate them. The stoppage of State aided colonization has always been a demand of the Tamil people to which we have to pay heed. Peace can come only through justice and reconciliation.

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Let Us Stop Pointing Fingers and Move Forward Together

Without question, 2009 will be a watershed year for the history of Sri Lanka.  A year later, the government is concerned with a successful annual celebration parade, while the international community is focused on a war crimes investigation.  Perhaps both interested parties are missing the larger point of reconciliation and reconstruction.  The absence of war does not ensure peace.  Such an environment is achieved through dialogue and cooperation between conflicting parties.  Recently, the National Peace Council (NPC) invited me to join a conference that had been arranged to inform community members of Puttalam and surrounding areas of the situation of IDPs as it is being played out inside the camps. 

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