LLRC report: used as an ornament, not as a tool

25 January 2012 06:42 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Various Ministers and officials have expressed view for and against the Commission report. One minister calls for a road map to give effect to the recommendations of the report, while other claims that the Commission had gone beyond its mandate and the recommendations are detrimental to the interests of the country. An official, in the meantime, had said that a separate ministry must be created to implement what the Commission had recommended.
Since those views are conflicting, ranging from condemning the report to calling for the implementation of it, none of them could be taken as official view of the government. The leaders seem to want to keep the whole world in suspense as to whether the government would bring the recommendations into effect and if it were to do so when it would kick off the process and would it be in toto or a part of the recommendations.
At the same time government seems to want to show off the LLRC report to the worlds as if a child proudly displaying his new dolls to the next door children. The state media is a good indicator as to how much the government is thrilled with the favourable comments by any foreign dignitary on the Commission or its recommendations.
Even before the report was tabled in the Parliament and became a public document Government Ministers began to praise it. Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights in many cases and Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe was quoted by State media that the final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), would help wipe out the skepticism of certain countries and human rights Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) over the commission’s impartiality and objectivity.
The minister had noted that those who made such comments even before the release of the report would have to eat their own words since the LLRC has presented an impartial, fair and in-depth report. 
Towards the end of the last month Indian government officially commented on the LLRC. The official spokesperson of India’s External Affairs Ministry said in a statement that the government of India welcomes the public release of the LLRC report and takes note of the assurance given by the government of Sri Lanka in Parliament about implementation of many of its recommendations. Sri Lankan State media was upbeat with this statement and gave wide publicity to it; despite it calling Sri Lankan government to put in place a credible mechanism to investigate allegations of human rights violations.
Ten days later Australia commended the Commission report and State media again highlighted it. Australian Member of Parliament Telmo Languiller who is on a brief visit to look into the ground situation in post war Sri Lanka had said the LLRC report sets the framework for practical reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Addressing a media conference in Colombo he welcomed both the LLRC report and the government's response to it, stating that these provide a very good opportunity for Sri Lanka to build a peaceful country.
British Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alistair Burt in a statement to the British Parliament expressed his government’s views on the LLRC report days ago. He said that the LLRC report has many constructive recommendations for post conflict reconciliation and urged the government of Sri Lanka to implement its recommendations soon. Needless to say as to what the government would have done with this statement. 
It goes without saying that those countries commending the LLRC report call the government, directly or by implication, to implement the recommendations of it, particularly those on investigation into the disappearances of persons during the final days of the war and devolution of power. Several smaller political parties in the government too had recently joined the bandwagon.
The Communist Party of Sri Lanka (CPSL), a constituent party in the ruling United peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), though very small, said in a statement that the LLRC report was comprehensive, logical, objective and positive, and its recommendations needed implementation in full. The Leader of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) another small party in the ruling coalition says that “The conclusions drawn are clearly fair and the recommendations are sensible, and it is our hope that the Government will implement them, soon and as completely as possible.”
Parliamentarian and Adviser on Reconciliation to the President Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha who is also the leader of the Liberal Party during a presentation on "Reconciliation, Sri Lanka and the World" made at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a leading private think tank in New Delhi on January 10 had said that Sri Lanka should create a Ministry for Reconciliation to implement the LLRC recommendations.
It is true that there are oppositions for the LLRC’s recommendations from within the Ruling coalition. However, the state media which in most cases acts as indicators of overall mindset of the government shows off the report, leading to inferences that government wants at least for the moment to highlight the report to the world. But when it comes to the question of implementing the recommendations government was apparently not so enthuastic.
Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, soon after the report was made public, had said that it is not compulsory for the government to implement all the recommendations of the LLRC. Asked for a comment about the remarks made by the religious leaders with regard to the implementation of the key recommendations by the LLRC, Cabinet Spokesman Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella had said that the government could not implement the report in its entirety without having a dialogue with all the stakeholders. All-in-all government seems to be using the LLRC report like a child showing off its dress without putting it on.Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha too in his presentation had said “But we should also recognize that the failure thus far of government to work consistently in required areas, to have followed intensively the interim recommendations of the Commission even if common sense had not already indicated the way, has led to suspicions which government must assuage through committed action.”
Hence, it is pertinent for the government to announce its official stance on the implementation of the LLRC recommendations.
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