( December 27, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) India has urged Sri Lanka to recognize the critical importance of meaningful devolution of power and genuine national reconciliation, and to act decisively and with vision in working towards achieving it. It has also urged that an independent and credible mechanism be put in place to investigate allegations of human rights violations, in a time-bound manner.
In a statement issued by the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs yesterday, outlining the Indian Government’s initial response to the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), it has pointed out: “We have been assured by the Government of Sri Lanka on several occasions in the past, of its commitment towards the pursuit of a political process through a broader dialogue with all parties, including the Tamil National Alliance, leading to the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, and to go beyond, so as to achieve meaningful devolution of power and genuine national reconciliation,” and said, it will remain engaged with Sri Lanka through the process and offer its support in the spirit of partnership.
The statement, while welcoming the public release of the LLRC report adds that the Indian Government has taken note of the assurance given by the Government of Sri Lanka in Parliament about implementation of many of its recommendations.
“The LLRC has recommended various constructive measures for addressing issues related to healing the wounds of the conflict and fostering a process of lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka,” the statement said, pointing out that in particular the Indian Government has noted the proposed measures pertaining to information on missing persons and detainees, investigation of cases of disappearances and abductions, promotion of a trilingual policy, deployment of Tamil-speaking officers in all offices, curbing activities of illegal armed groups, reduction of high security zones, return of private lands by the military and demilitarization, including phasing out of the involvement of the security forces in civilian activities and restoration of civilian administration in the Northern Province.
It has welcomed the assurance given by the Government of Sri Lanka in Parliament that it will ensure the withdrawal of security forces from all aspects of community life and confine their role exclusively to security matters, and said the implementation of assurances to ensure speedy resettlement and genuine reconciliation, including early completion of the process of the return of Internally Displaced Persons and refugees to their respective homes, restoration of normal civilian life in affected areas would mark a major step forward in the process of reconciliation.
The statement also added: “The LLRC report has underlined that the present situation and provides a great window of opportunity to forge a consensual way forward towards reconciliation through a political settlement based on devolution of power. It recognizes that a political solution is imperative to addressing the root cause of the conflict and notes that the government should provide leadership to a political process which must be pursued for the purpose of establishing a framework for ensuring sustainable peace and security in the post-conflict environment.”
“We have also noted the Government of Sri Lanka’s intention to set up a mechanism to carry out further investigations relating to instances of alleged human rights violations and incidents involving loss of civilian life. It is important to ensure that an independent and credible mechanism is put in place to investigate allegations of human rights violations, as brought out in the LLRC report, in a time-bound manner.