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Sri Lanka: Government Group Established to Implement Reconciliation Commission Findings

(Nov. 4, 2010) In order to implement the recommendations of the Sri Lankan Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, the country's Cabinet decided on October 28, 2010, to establish an Inter-Agency Advisory Group. The goal of the new organization is to redress problems highlighted by the Commission, based on an Interim Communication from the Commission given to the Sri Lankan President on September 13, 2010. (Sri Lanka Sets Up Agency to Implement Measures Recommended by Reconciliation Commission, COLOMBO PAGE (Oct. 28, 2010),

The Interim Communication recommended that the government take prompt action in the cases the Commission identified, including suggesting handling instances of persons being held in detention according to due process and keeping relatives of those held informed of the detention locations. The Commission also said in its Communication that any private land from the parts of the country that were in conflict during the nation's civil war should not be used by government agencies. The recommendations included a statement advocating that administrative changes be made to require officials to use the languages of the people with whom they interact. Major goals of the recommendations are strengthening law and order in the conflict areas and disarming remaining rebel groups holding weapons illegally. The new Group will also be charged with encouraging social and economic development in the region most affected by the conflict. (Id.)

The Commission itself has been controversial and has been criticized by international human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, for not meeting “basic international standards for independent and impartial inquiries”; critics also denounced the “government failure to address impunity and continuing human rights abuses.” The Commission has been called a “show” designed more to hide abuses than reveal truth. In response, the Sri Lankan government has rejected the criticism as unfounded allegations. (Integrated Regional Information Networks, Sri Lanka: Government Defends Reconciliation Commission, REFWORLD [published by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees] (Oct. 22, 2010),