Nov 18, Colombo: The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation Bill was discussed in detail at the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Reconciliation and National Unity.
The discussion was carried out at the Sectoral Oversight Committee which met in Parliament recently under the Chairmanship of its chairman, Dilan Perera, Member of Parliament.
Government officials and representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms, Attorney General’s Department, Legal Draftsman’s Department and the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation were present at this meeting.
The Committee Chair addressing the Committee stated that looking at the last 2-3 months, the requirements necessary to implement national unity and reconciliation have happened in the country and some political leaders and religious leaders are behaving in a way that insults other religions or races and if this continues, he stated that the government’s efforts to save the country from economic bankruptcy will fail. Therefore, he further said that the Committee hopes to take the necessary steps to further amend this Bill and submit it to the Parliament to be passed.
The activities carried out by the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation were also discussed at the Committee meeting held. Accordingly, the representatives of the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation pointed out that the preliminary work of preparing the National Policy on Reconciliation and Coexistence, which is a proposed goal through this bill, has now been completed and it can be announced in the coming days. They also informed the Committee about the reconciliation activities conducted through universities and schools.
Pointing out that the school structure is the best platform for promoting national unity, the Committee asked how the school system could be legally involved in this Bill. In response, the representatives of the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation stated that together with the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education, they are ready to implement an initial program with schools selected from the 67 trilingual schools in Sri Lanka. According to the provisions of this Act, the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation can make recommendations to the government for necessary amendments, the officials of the Attorney General’s Department said.
Dilan Perera, Chairman of the Committee added that he hopes to discuss this matter with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Education in the future, and hopes to include youth representatives in the next meetings of the Sectoral Oversight Committee.
Mayadunna Chinthaka Amal, Committee Member and Member of Parliament was present at the Committee meeting.