Centre for Policy Alternatives on 30 May, 2015


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Recent statements by the Government of Sri Lanka indicate some movement in the area of truth, justice and reparations in the coming months. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has earlier referred to a ‘credible domestic mechanism’[1] with the President most recently stating that a domestic process is to be initiated in June 2015.[2] Furthermore, the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation was established with a mandate to address issues relevant to reparations and related issues. While these statements and initiatives are welcome, there is a lack of information in the public realm on how processes and mechanisms relevant to transitional justice will be designed and implemented. Additionally, clarity is needed in terms of the contours of such mechanisms as well as the issues and violations that are likely to be considered, and any temporal and territorial limitations.

This short note is the latest in a series of documents produced by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) raising issues and providing recommendations in the area of transitional justice. CPA has previously noted the importance of addressing the four pillars of transitional justice ­– truth, justice, reparations, and non-recurrence of violence – in an inclusive, timely and transparent manner, with a focus on a victim-centered process. This short note is compiled to assist in identifying immediate and long-term issues that should be factored in when discussing and designing mechanisms in the areas of truth, justice and reparations. CPA notes that several of the issues highlighted apply to all three areas, and therefore are not self-contained in any one area, underscoring the fact that truth, justice and reparations must be examined and addressed in a manner that reinforces each other than treated in silos. CPA has also addressed these areas in light of the recent statements and initiatives, and in the firm belief that key benchmarks and issues must inform future debates and discussions.

Download the document here.


[1] Kelum Bandara, “Our foreign policy is based on practical realities, not on ideological fantasies”, The Daily Mirror, 24 April 2015,  http://www.dailymirror.lk/70191/our-foreign-policy-is-based-on-practical-realities-not-on-ideological-fantasies

[2] Political Column, “Sirisena wavers amid raging waters of SLFP split”, The Sunday Times, 24 May 2015, http://www.sundaytimes.lk/150524/columns/sirisena-wavers-amid-raging-waters-of-slfp-split-150404.html