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Commonwealth to support Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission on role in national reconciliation

2013 Sep 30

Commonwealth to support Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission on role in national reconciliation

The Commonwealth Secretariat said Wednesday that it is working with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) to determine a roadmap for the Commission's role in national reconciliation efforts.

The Commonwealth Secretariat said it will facilitate a roundtable from 26 to 27 September in Vavuniya in the North to bring together the Chairperson, commissioners and senior staff of the Commission, civil society organizations from the North, and religious leaders who are actively engaged in promoting reconciliation and addressing post-conflict issues in Vavuniya and surrounding areas in the North.

Deputy Director of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Dr. David Russell and Executive Director of the Peace and Reconciliation Group of Northern Ireland Michael Doherty will be among the experts participating in the roundtable.

"In determining the role of a national human rights institution such as the HRCSL in national and local reconciliation efforts, there must be recognition of local civil society initiatives," the Acting Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Karen McKenzie said.

She said the Commission has the potential to shore up reconciliation efforts, such as acting as a bridge between civil society and government.

"There is also a role for the Commission in facilitating constructive engagements with the Executive and Parliament on nation-building, reconstruction and development," the official noted.

A senior delegation from the HRCSL participated alongside seven other Commonwealth countries at a Commonwealth Roundtable on Reconciliation convened by the Secretariat in May 2013 in London. The participants at the meeting have identified critical components for lasting peace after conflict.

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