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Sri Lanka approves “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” despite scepticism

Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved proposals to establish a South African style, “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (TRC) despite continued demands from Tamil on the island for an international investigation into war crimes.

The proposed TRC is not new, as human rights professor Kate Cronin-Furman highlights in her book “Human Rights and Hypocrisy, in 2013 and 2014 South African officials met several times with members of the Sri Lankan government to discuss implementing a TRC. This has been peddled “as an alternative to prosecutions, despite consistent messaging from international courts and human rights NGOs that amnesties are unlawful”.

Tamil victim-survivor communities maintain scepticism of domestic-led initiatives given a history of broken promises and a failure to deliver on truth, justice and accountability. A clear example of such a failed initiative is the Office of Missing Persons which, the UN High Commissioner has noted, "has not been able to trace a single disappeared person or clarify the fate of the disappeared in meaningful ways".


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