A truth and reconciliation commission should be set up to investigate the injustices suffered by the various communities with the aim of eliminating misunderstanding and distrust that exists among different communities… The 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which is necessary for democracy to be meaningful, should be fully implemented…”
These are some of the recommendations submitted to the government as a step towards resolving the national question. They are not recommendations from the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) set up by the government or part of any proposal forwarded by the UNHRC to Sri Lanka. They are among the several proposals submitted by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to the government and the country soon after the war ended on May 27, 2009. The preamble to the set of proposals states thus:
“Sri Lanka has reached a victorious juncture. The confidence that our Motherland could overcome all challenges and rise up victoriously is being instilled in the minds of all Sri Lankans -- Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays, and Burghers living here or abroad.
It should be emphasiSed that it is the responsibility of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government not to allow this valuable opportunity be lost to the Motherland and the people who love it… It is the responsibility of the government to make an immediate and practical move towards achieving peace, unity and reconciliation. We present the proposals as something the government needs to do during the next three months beginning from June 1, 2009 so that the masses could be convinced that the government would definitely turn towards the direction that overcomes challenges…” When these proposals were presented ‘Channel-4’ did not know anything about Sri Lanka; Darusman and company did not have any idea of becoming members of an experts’ panel; there was no LLRC and the United Nations was not looking at Sri Lanka; the United States was bogged down in the war fields of Iraq and Afghanistan and the flag-waving Rajapaksa regime did not have time to think about the proposals or did not consider it as important because it was too busy cooking milk rice to celebrate the ‘victory.’
If the government had not been blinded by the dazzle of the war victory and launched a truth and reconciliation process it would have been a lesson and an eye opener to the US and the Government could have obtained massive international funds to salvage and rebuild the North and East which had been destroyed by the thirty-year war. These funds could have been used to reconstruct the infrastructure and helped improve the living standards of the people in the North and East. However, the country and the people were denied the benefits that the proposals could have brought if implemented, but unfortunately it also became just another instance in history.
Now, after the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka was adopted at the 19th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Western imperialism has got an opportunity to interfere in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. The international community is now demanding that the recommendations made by the Government-established LLRC be implemented. Despite these recommendations not achieving all the expectations of the imperialists, they could make use of such an opportunity to carry out their agenda. They expect to drag out the maximum from the government that they hope to cow down. This is why the 3rd condition of the Geneva resolution includes the clauses that the Sri Lankan Government should obtain, “advice and technical assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to present a report on the provision of such assistance to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-second session.”
It is nonsensical to hear various ministers have been telling the media that “the LLRC is not a Bible and the Government will implement only what it thinks is necessary”. The government could have created an atmosphere that would have avoided hard-to-be-implemented recommendations being included in the resolution. Minister G.L. Peiris, during a parliamentary debate in Parliament, revealed, though not directly but somewhat unwillingly that the government was in a dilemma and caught with its back to the wall with regard to implementing some of the LLRC recommendations. He said the government fully accepted the LLRC recommendations but that did not mean all those recommendations would be implemented.
The minister said a Parliamentary Select Committee will discuss the matter in detail and take the decisions.
The government confronted with continuous defeats in the economic and political spheres is attempting to cover up behind the mask of pseudo patriotism and using anti-imperialist slogans in an attempt to suppress the anti-government feeling that would definitely rise against it in the future. This is why the government is getting its supporters to take to the streets and convening public rallies calling them ‘Country first’ (Was it then the second item in the government’s agenda all this while). It is for the same reason that certain ministers in the government who have been forced to remain with the government for their political survival jabber about boycotting US products and are suggesting a referendum on implementing the LLRC recommendations.
It is futile to expect the government that only brags it would defeat imperialist interventions to do so. It is essential to build a genuine anti-imperialist front that encompasses Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslim, Malays and Burghers. It is only then, however difficult it may be, the government could defeat imperialism and its efforts to interfere in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.