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Friday, July 21, 2017
War is a manmade disaster that demolishes civilizations made by unknown generations. In the end what are left are not just death, injuries and destruction, but undying suspicion and distrust.
To heal, it will take time, but great leaders with humanistic ethics could do wonders. They have to stand against plunder and exploitation creating the need for communication, understanding. Faith can be created in the modern world by standing for equality,
autonomy and the right of self-determination; and then only sense of correcting the wrong done to a community is possible. In this venture, the Sri Lankan Government is harassed and beaten by a fascistic majoritist group making it faltering, despite promises to its own people, as well as to the international community. Sri Lanka's three-decade war between basically Sinhala soldiers and Tamil guerrilla military organization arose because the Sri Lankan Government failed to address the grievances of the Tamil speaking people.
It was seen as a conflict between major Sinhala nationality and the minor Tamil nationality. The Tamil clandestine army was named Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the war killed an estimated 100,000 civilians, left many more injured and displaced, and widened a seemingly unbridgeable rift between the minority Tamil nationality, and majority Sinhala nationality.
After an October 2015 pledge to the United Nations Human Rights Council to address justice and accountability, Sri Lanka's Government in 2016 embarked on a nation-wide consultation to find ways to deliver answers. The government entrusted the task to an 11-member Consultation Task Force (CTF), representing a cross-section of Sri Lanka's ethnic, regional, and religious groups. Nearly half the team, including the head of the CTF, was women. The consultation process was a complicated one. The CTF recruited representatives of local civil society, political, feminist, healthcare and religious leaders as Zonal Task Force members (ZTF), who could conduct consultations on the ground across the various districts and provinces. These findings were accepted as valuable to indicate how human rights and social-economic rights should be improved in a new Constitution.
A fair degree of commitment
However, the pressing need was to propose a new Constitution sans executive presidency, but with a substantial devolution giving power over land and police to the provincial councils. This was undertaken by the investigation carried out by the Lal Wijenaike Committee. People participated with many valuable proposals. On this basis under the leadership of the Prime Minister, discussions are continuing in order to bring a proposal for a new Constitution; to be debated in the Constitutional Council. Hence it is incorrect to say that Sri Lankan Government has let the important initiative of the CTF to languish. Officials traveling abroad boast about the consultation process and herald it as a signal of the government's determination to abide by the Human Rights Council resolution.
However, it has to come behind the effort to resolve the Tamil national problem and the problem of Executive President. Government report by CTF is not banished into silence. Meanwhile, many task force members, both national and zonal, are absorbed in the struggle against fascistic Mahinda group. While many joined the effort with a fair degree of commitment, they are aware that the Sri Lankan State had undertaken many commissions of inquiry which in the end led to no redress so far.
A CTF member described both the exhilaration of the process and the attendant disappointment: "The consultations gave way to an amazing non-patronizing community of support...the best thing about the experience is that people had ideas. But by January 2017, I was wondering: "What the hell?" ZTF members, particularly community leaders who have spent years building relationships of trust, feel they are bearing the brunt of public rage over the lack of action. They feel exposed, and are confronted daily by their communities, yet another failed promise, but this time by trusted local leaders. "They are very angry with us, people have lost their faith, even with me," one ZTF member told Human Rights Watch. "And now, I also have lost faith."
This disappointment is due to misunderstanding the political crisis. Sri Lankan Government is struggling against an internal enemy fed by fascistic ideas. There are sabotage actions taking place throughout the country. Some are obvious some are very subtle.
Facing this menace Yahapalanaya is struggling to satisfy UN human rights conditions. The Government of Sri Lanka has publicly acknowledged the findings of the consultation report and ensures that its recommendations are appropriately implemented through robust justice mechanisms. It should be remembered that we cannot handle too many things together.