The Sri Lankan government is seeking views, ideas and assistance of diaspora groups and individuals on reconciliation, according to Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera.
Addressing a seminar in Tokyo, Mr Samaraweera, who concluded his four-day trip to Japan on Saturday, said the government had initiated dialogue with the groups and the individuals for the ongoing reconciliation process that covered projects, which “directly relate to the welfare of the people.”
He added that his government was pursuing “a policy of engagement, dialogue and cooperation” with all countries and international organisations. It was also liasing “closely” with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and it would remain open to working with the OHCHR in getting technical assistance on several important issues including those concerning justice and accountability.
Mr. Samaraweera, who signed documents with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on many development projects, acknowledged that after the end of the Eelam War IV in May 2009, the country failed to address the causes of conflict in a manner that would “guarantee durable peace, meaningful reconciliation and non-recurrence. Divisions in society were becoming deeper along religious and ethnic lines, freedom of speech and expression were curtailed, and fear and intimidation pervaded society.”
Referring to the replacement of the previous Rajapaksa regime with the Sirisena government through democratic means, the Minister pointed out that “there is full realisation that in order not to slip back into unfortunate conflicts such as the insurrections in the South and the problems in the North which ultimately led to terrorism, it is important that all citizens must feel that they have equal opportunities and have the ability to contribute to nation building. All citizens, irrespective of ethnicity and language. must feel that they are equal partners, sharing equal rights.”