Strengthening reconciliation processes in Sri Lanka

Project description

Title: Strengthening Reconciliation Processes in Sri Lanka
Commissioned by: Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and Maldives British Council Sri Lanka
Country: Sri Lanka
Lead executing agency: Ministry of National Integration, Reconciliation and Official Languages
Overall term: 2017 - 2021

Context

The changing political environment in Sri Lanka in recent years has allowed the underlying drivers of the long-running conflict to be addressed, creating conditions for accountability, reconciliation and peacebuilding. Since the presidential elections in January 2015 and the subsequent formation of a national government in August 2015, good governance and reconciliation have been on the political agenda. Civil society actors are now finding opportunities to work with the government on a range of human rights and reconciliation issues.

The report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 2015 and the co-sponsorship of the related UN Human Rights Council Resolution by the Sri Lankan Government paved the way for a process of reconciliation focused on the four pillars of truth-seeking, justice, reparations and non-recurrence. With support from the United Nations and other actors, the Sri Lankan Government has developed a Peacebuilding Priority Plan.

A key prerequisite for the success of the reconciliation process is the support of state and civil society actors in working towards good governance and accountability. The reconciliation programme, jointly financed by the European Union and the German Federal Foreign Office, responds to this development and implements measures aimed in particular at preventing the recurrence of the violence of the civil war. .

Objective

The reconciliation process in Sri Lanka is strengthened. Governmental and non-governmental organisations in Sri Lanka are given support in addressing key aspects of the reconciliation process jointly.

Approach

The project promotes and strengthens cooperation between national actors (government, civil society and local communities) in implementing the reconciliation process in two fields of activity:

Supporting effective cooperation mechanisms within and between state and civil society actors involved in the reconciliation process. The focus is on three relevant topics:

  • Monitoring and documenting progress in the reconciliation process, drawing on recent national experiences and international best practices
  • Supporting learning at relevant institutions, such as ministries at national level and district reconciliation committees at regional level
  • Promoting public discourse and inclusive policy-making, involving relevant opinion leaders, change agents and the media in reconciliation

Supporting the non-recurrence pillar of the reconciliation process in the following four priority areas:

  • Dealing with the past, including shared grieving and commemoration
  • Providing appropriate psychological and psychosocial services for victims of conflict, especially war widows and families of the disappeared
  • Promoting the use of different forms of art and culture to engage fragmented communities in a reconciliation dialogue
  • Removing language barriers to improve access to public services