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Int'l pressure on Sri Lanka will damage reconciliation process - Minister Hakeem

2014 Feb 08

The international community should not push Sri Lanka too hard on the issues of accountability as this would be counterproductive, polarize the communities and damage the process of reconciliation that is in progress, Justice Minister and SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem said.
Minister Hakeem was speaking during a meeting with South African High Commissioner Geoff Doidge who met him at his Ministry on Thursday, to discuss matters pertaining to the reconciliation process.

"Sri Lanka has taken every possible measure to address the issues raised by the international community and is working hard to ensure the human rights to all citizens," Minister Hakeem said.

The minister explained in detail the new initiatives taken by the Justice Ministry with regard to administration of justice and legal reforms, concerning victim and witness protection legislation.

High Commissioner Doidge was of the view that Sri Lanka should find indigenous solutions to problems and stressed that it is advisable to commence an internal mechanism to probe allegations of human rights violations.

Both parties discussed the importance of having a process similar to Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa. Whilst admitting the process of TRC was not totally perfect and flawless, they suggested that Sri Lanka develop its own truth and reconciliation mechanism based on lessons learned from other countries.

It was also stated that in South Africa, the reconciliation process was very difficult as white dominated Police and Armed Forces were very much against truth and reconciliation while the blacks were skeptical about the outcome. However, the system worked fairly well in South Africa.

Minister Hakeem said President Mahinda Rajapaksa is very keen to have an internal truth and reconciliations process and he has discussed about such a mechanism with him.

Director of the Transformation Initiative Organization of South Africa Ivor H Jenkins was also present.

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