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Sri Lanka announces new commission to study all past commissions

The Sri Lankan president has announced the appointment of yet another Commission of Inquiry, purportedly to investigate the findings of all previous human rights commissions and committees created by the Sri Lankan government.

The new commission dedicated to “finding closure to burning issues” follows several failed attempts, including the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and the Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (Parangama Commission report).

"Sri Lanka has a long history of Commissions of Inquiry that have repeatedly failed to deliver justice and reconciliation for victims of human rights violations," Amnesty International said in response to the announcement. "Findings of past commissions have not led to any prosecutions of those responsible for atrocities." In 2009, Amnesty International published “Sri Lanka: Twenty Years of Make Believe: Sri Lanka’s Commissions of Inquiry”, a report criticizing the failure of multiple Commissions of Inquiry.

The Sri Lankan president's office said that despite the government's withdrawal from co-sponsorship of the UN Human Rights Council resolution on reconciliation, accountability and promotion of human rights, "the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka is to continue to work with the United Nations and its Agencies to achieve accountability and human resource development for achieving sustainable peace and reconciliation" and that the government "is also committed to ensure that, other issues remain will be resolved through democratic and legal processes and to make institutional reforms where necessary to ensure justice and reconciliation".

The Sunday Times reported that the commission would also be interested in finding a resolution to the 'nagging' issue of the disappeared.

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