Making Laws & Veiling Reality: Process Of Transitional Justice In Sri Lanka

Making Laws & Veiling Reality: Process Of Transitional Justice In Sri Lanka

logoIn the year 2015 the good governance Government started a new term of office, promising a more democratic country with restored justice. The main promises of the Government revolved around peace building, reconciliation, constitutional reforms, and eradication of corruption. It is incorrect to say that, these promises are entirely ignored; rather it clearly shows that promises were and are in the process of being fulfilled. The granting GSP+ to Sri Lanka has taken the country to another level in the eyes of the international community and as well as the locals. No doubt it has an immense impact on the economy of the country. It also implies that Sri Lanka is on the right track of good governance by protecting human rights, labour rights and environment.[1]
The good governance government has completed almost two years in office. The Establishment of Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, Public Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms, Commissions to investigate corruption,[2] adoption of National Drug Policy and most significantly the passage of the RTI Act in Parliament on June, 2016 can be identified as milestones of the good governance Government. In the aspect of laws and regulations progress seems immense. Further, documentation or publishing massive reports mostly informing the international community is way beyond satisfactory level. The real question is how realistic all these laws, documents and regulations are to people. Maybe it is zero or maybe it has some impact. However, formulating  of laws and documention would not solve the problem; these attempts need a practical approach so that people can get justice. It is a positive thing to document history and make laws to attain justice as much as possible. But the laws and documents should not be to veil the real issues. In this piece, my main focus would be the fading process of transitional justice with special attention to (none) establishment of the Office of Missing Person in the island.
People who were seeking post war justice are in pain and dying of wounds which have yet not healed. . The post war justice is not only for Tamils but also for Sinhalese and Muslims who suffered from the war at many levels. The military war widows who faced and face many difficulties after the death or injury of the husband, widows of civil security force officials, who are in a vulnerable situation without an income, as they are not getting long term remuneration, Muslims who suffered from the war without being a part of any side that was involved in the war, Sinhalese who lived in border villages who were used as a tool to sustain the Sinhala majority in all geographical areas and many more. These communities and individuals have suffered enough from war and waiting for a solution after the war. The proposed mechanisms of reconciliation after months of effort are hidden in a report which no one knows about.
The sole reconciliation mechanism initiated by the Government is the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). Disappearances were reported from throughout the island. The State as well as non-State actors has carried out disappearances across ethnic categories, class groups, religious categories, time and regions.[3] CTF has received submissions related to disappearances of;
(1) Village roundups of Tamil and Muslim civilians (war time and post-war) and Sinhalese civilians during the Southern insurrections by the police, army, and intelligence services.
(2) White van abductions of Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala civilians, including human rights defenders, journalists and workers, university students and others.
(3) Surrenders and subsequent disappearances of Tamil combatants to the armed forces and police, particularly during the last stage of the war.
(4) Families of surrendered LTTE cadres, including very young children who disappeared.

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