Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has extended the term of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) by six months on the ground that a large number of persons from Sri Lanka and abroad are still to give evidence before it.

The eight-member Commission was constituted in May to report on the lessons to be learnt from the events between February 2002 and May 2009, their attendant concerns and to recommend measures to ensure that there will be no recurrence of such a situation.

The Commission has so far held public hearings in Colombo and in the conflict-affected areas of Vavuniya, Batticaloa and Kilinochchi. This included field visits to meet people directly affected by the conflict.

So far more than 100 people including political activists, social workers, academia, members of clergy, those engaged in conflict resolution and representatives from non-governmental organisations have deposed before the Commission. It has already submitted an interim communication recommending administrative means to resolve some of the pressing grievances of the people affected by the conflict and the office of the President said Mr. Rajapaksa had accepted the suggestions.

The government has appointed an Inter-Advisory Committee to facilitate early implementation of the recommendations. Last month, the International Crisis Group (ICG), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Amnesty International (AI) had declined an invitation by the Commission to appear before it on the plea that it failed to meet basic standards and as fatally flawed in structure and practice.

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