Mar 17, Colombo: While the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the Prime Minister ceases to exist with the completion of its mandate and the handing over of the Final Report in January, its former members urged the government to consider their recommendations and not to ignore the report.
The Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed the 11-member Task Force on 26 January 2016 to consult the public on the processes and mechanisms for reconciliation in Sri Lanka to seek truth and justice, ensure accountability for human rights violations and provide measures for redress.
The CTF submitted its final report on the consultation process to the government on 3 January.
In its final report, the Task Force has recommended including at least one international judge in the judicial process seeking accountability for the war time abuses during the last phase of the country's decades-long civil war.
Issuing a statement the former members of the CTF noted that although the CTF has been made aware that the report is informing the design of the Government's reconciliation mechanisms, the Government has yet to announce a process to review the many recommendations contained in the report.
They noted that despite repeated CTF requests to the Government, there was no public information campaign both championing Transitional Justice for Sri Lanka and informing the public of the mechanisms proposed in their report.
This lack of government ownership of the process has raised fears that the CTF's Final Report will suffer the fate of those submitted by previous commissions and committees appointed by successive governments to address human rights, the former members said.
The CTF members said the Final Report is predominantly a compilation of the views of the many thousands who made submissions to the CTF and therefore, the recommendations and suggestions made by the public need to be considered, even if members of the Government disagree with the CTF's recommendations.
The former members of the CTF said they will continue their advocacy, research and support work on Transitional Justice as central to reconciliation in the country even though the task force is no more and urged the government to implement the measures they recommended in their final report.
"We strongly urge that the Final Report, which reflects the travails as well as concerns of a number of our fellow- citizens as well as their deep commitment to Transitional Justice and Reconciliation, is not ignored and that the Government heeds their voices and implements the findings of the Report in full or substantive measure," the former members of the Consultation Task Force said.
Download CTF members' full statement