Strengthening Reconciliation Processes in Sri Lanka
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
Country: Sri Lanka
Lead executing agency: Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation
Overall term: 10/2017-10/2021
The changing political environment in Sri Lanka over the past years has opened up the space to address the underlying drivers of the long-running conflict. This creates conditions for accountability, reconciliation, and peace-building. Since the presidential elections in January 2015 and the subsequent formation of a National Government in August 2015, Good Governance and Reconciliation are on the agenda. Civil Society actors actively involved in the change through elections are now finding more space to work with the government on a range of human rights, recovery and reconciliation issues.
The report of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 2015 and the co-sponsoring of the related UN Human Rights Council Resolution by the Government of Sri Lanka paved the way for a process of transitional justice focused on the 4 pillars of Truth-seeking, Justice, Reparations, and Non-recurrence. With support from the United Nations and other actors the Sri Lankan Government developed a Peacebuilding Priority Plan.
The Reconciliation programme responds to that development and sets out a series of actions to shore up the vital political space and advance the reconciliation process. It addresses the pillar of non-recurrence in the reconciliation process with reference to good governance and accountability.
The overall objective is to contribute to strengthening Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process. More specifically, government, non-government and grassroots organisations are assisted to take joint responsibility in addressing key elements of the reconciliation process.
The programme strengthens cooperation between national stakeholders (government, civil society, communities) in building an inclusive process of national reconciliation in two fields of action:
More effective and accountable institutional arrangements within and between stakeholders of state and civil society at all governance levels, which support reconciliation processes. The program focuses on 3 relevant topics:
- tracking progress on the national reconciliation processes, drawing from recent national experience as well as international best practices
- facilitating learning and strengthen relevant institutions, such as ministries at national level and district reconciliation committees at sub-national levels
- promoting public discourse/engagement and inclusive policy making, involving relevant opinion leaders, change agents and media in reconciliation.
Strategic initiatives to support the non-recurrence pillar of reconciliation (intra-communal, inter-communal and North-South) are systematically facilitated with respect to the following 4 focal areas:
- dealing with the past, including shared actions of grieving and memorialization
- delivering appropriate mental health and psychosocial services for victims of conflict, particularly war widows and families of disappeared
- promoting the use of multiple arts and culture forms to engage fragmented communities with common shared issues to promote reconciliation
- reducing language barriers for improves access to and delivery of non-discriminatory public services