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Real objectives of the Commission on Lessons Learnt for Reconciliation

Real objectives of the Commission on Lessons Learnt for Reconciliation

2010 Nov 12

The writer focussed on two objectives of the Commission sitting on Lessons Learnt for Reconciliation while making submissions this week.  They were: people are assured an era of peace, harmony and prosperity;   multi-ethnic polity undertake a journey of common goals in a spirit of co-operation, partnership and friendship.

  The first of the objectives   needs to ensure that IDPs no longer have needs specifically related to their displacement as a priority consideration. One fundamental need is access to land. A related consideration is affordable credit lines are made available to those recovering; to build their homes and to set up small scale enterprises, weeding away from dependency on grant funds. As a region recovers some form of protection is needed to ensure land and the environment in areas previously affected by conflict are protected from exploitation.

Likewise local labour and resources should not be marginalised in any investments or enterprises where exceptions made can be justified such as special skills not available within the area. If though should not be a disincentive for investors.

According to the Department of Census and Statistics, 2009 mid year estimate, 68% of our population is below the age of forty. In other words they were born after the year 1970. This influential group including those who directly or indirectly were scarred by the abnormality of war must be free to imagine a future of peace and prosperity.

Might the legislature through a bipartisan or rather multi- party group of Parliamentarians  function as a Standing Committee to work towards  this endeavor.

 The concept of equality and equal opportunity is an aspiration which must fire the imagination of the colours of people in the country. It is a practice which needs to be seen not only in public service but also in the private sector.  It needs to be stressed that Discovery of an Idea and the Spirit of Innovation are the essential catalysts for economic growth. It is true not only for the North and East but also the South as well. Investment opportunities must be  made available to all the provinces in an equitable manner.

Certainly some form of affirmative action is required in the Conflict Affected Areas. Such affirmative action should be confined to a definite time frame with specific objectives. It is not to say, go back to quotas. It is about saying, can education provide for catch up and streaming simultaneously if you have out grown classroom schedules. Can employable skills be offered on concessionary terms for many due to displacement ? Can the poor have access to micro finance and  also be helped with enterprise development.

Can tax benefits and fast track clearances be given to investors who focus on such measures. Can low cost homes options with   easy payments be offered. Could access to English and IT and entries into back of service industries  be a reality for those who are economically week to do so directly. This is not a new thought. Underserved areas of Sri Lanka are indeed assisted to catch up.

Shared prosperity is reconciliation. Shared experiences of hurdles that need to be overcome is reconciliation. Shared failures where solutions are sought in unison is reconciliation

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