The Former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa Dikgang Moseneke sharing South African experience of constitutional making process with Sri Lankan officials noted this week that the Constitution of South Africa recognized rights not based on religion or ethnicity but gave protection to minorities and was based on equity, dignity and no discrimination.
“In our system everybody has right to be a Buddhist, be a Muslim, to belong to a Hindu religion or even no religion”. The constitution specially protects the rights. Justice also emphasized on “unity in diversity, mutual respect and co-existence”as important element for reconciliation. Most of the violence in South Africa is due to poverty, exclusion and disintegration of families.
Justice Dikgang Moseneke also spoke about reaching the consensus on constitution on South African experiences. However, though there were challenges, common value of unity in diversity, reconciliation, democracy, fundamental rights and freedom helped to overcome the challenges.
He shared these views during a meeting with senior officials of Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation and shared the South African experiences on reconciliation that is dedicated work on reconciliation mechanims. Along with Justice Moseneke, Advocate Karen McKenzie Head of Human Rights, Commonwealth Secretariat and Johannes Van Niekerk, Counsellor Political of South Africa also took part in the meeting.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commissionin South Africa examined as to how people killed or disappeared and that was a healing process to address the pains. Reparation for victims is one of the pillar in transitional justice that helped victims to receive compensation. The transitional justice is different from the normal justice and it was aimed at buying peace. Amnesty was given to ex-combatants and they were socially integrated. Women participation in all areas of transitional justice and constitutional reforms was given importance. In South Africa, 35-40% of the women are in the Parliament said Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
Non-recurrence and memorialization were also important in the reconciliation process. Local peace committees in South Africa helped to keep violence, tensions down and solve the burning issues. The Justice further said that transforming the conflict into peaceful and sustainable outcome requires comprehensive understanding of the root causes of conflict. Conflict mediation and conflict resolution in hot spot districts is also important. Healing and reparation are one of the most important element for reconciliation.
The Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation presented the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) of the Ministry. The interventions and initiatives were commended by the Former Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Advocate Karen McKenzie, Head of Human Rights, Commonwealth Secretariat.
The meeting was attended by Mr. V.Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, Mr. M.M.Zuhair, State Secretary,Mrs. Sandanayake, Additional Secretary Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, representatives from Ministry of National Co- Existence Dialogue and Official Languages and Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM).