The Sri Lankan government on Friday launched a consultations process, the 'Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms'.
The event, held in Jaffna, included Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera, as well as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, M A Sumanthiran, as well as military and naval officers, seated at the front of the hall.
Addressing the event, Mr Samaraweera said:
"I am very pleased to announce that we are starting the process of consultations on the design of the four reconciliation mechanisms."
"We have appointed eleven independent eminent citizens to the Consultation Task Force to lead the consultations process that will happen both through written consultations and in face-to-face meetings
in all 25 districts."
"The Consultation Task Force will review and analyse the people’s input from across the island and will present the Government with a report that will also be made public, which will be used to make the final decision on the shape and form of the reconciliation mechanisms."
"So on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, I urge victims on both sides of the divide, religious leaders whose guidance is always appreciated, members of the public, the security forces, civil society, the public service, business-people, professionals to participate and contribute their ideas and experiences into the design of these mechanisms so that we can build a Sri Lanka that is truly reconciled and at peace and a Sri Lanka where equality, justice and freedom are a reality for all citizens."
"I am aware that there are many here today who still have fears and doubts. But I can assure you that the National Unity Government of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe is committed to ensuring the successful completion on this process. While President Sirisena is leading the All Party Committee on Constitutional Reform to get the ideas and input of all political parties, I have met the Defence Secretary, the Chief of Defence Staff, (both of whom are here today) the Tri Service Commanders and the IGP, the heads of intelligence agencies, the commanders of the security forces and the police DIGs in charge of the North and some of those responsible for security in the East. I have also met the Governors of the North and East. They have all assured me of their fullest cooperation in ensuring that there are no hindrances in ensuring this consultation process takes place and that the security of all those participating will be ensured."
See full speech here.
The task force in charge will be chaired by Manouri Muttetuwegama, an attorney-at-law and barrister, and the former co-chair of the Civil Society Committee of the Secretariat for the Coordination of the Peace Process and the Commissioner of the Commission of Inquiry into Alleged Serious Violations of Human Rights. Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has been appointed the secretary. Other members include, a Sinhala writer, Gamini Viyangoda; the founder of the Association of War Affected Women and mother of Sri Lankan army soldier, Visaka Dharmadasa; President of the Jaffna Bar Association, Shantha Abhimanasingham; Professor Sitralega Maunaguru, of the Faculty of Arts; the editor of the Sinhala paper Ravaya, K W Janaranjana; senior professor of psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna, Professor Daya Somasundaram; Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department of the University of Colombo, Dr Farzana Haniffa; a clinical psychologist, Professor Gameela Samarasingha; and a consultant to the ministry of resettlement, Mirak Raheem.
See here for more.