The South African Government has noted the release of the final report of the Sri Lankan Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (the Commission of Enquiry) and the positive recommendations contained in the report relating to human rights, the return and resettlement of displaced communities, restitution and compensatory relief for the affected people, and post-conflict reconstruction and nation-building.
The report, however, should have addressed in more detail the question of holding those people responsible for human rights violations to account.
The South African Government calls on the Sri Lankan Government to speedily implement the measures as recommended.
The South African Government commends the Sri Lankan Government for the decision to set up an authoritative mechanism to further investigate allegations related to human rights abuses and encourages decisive actions upon the findings.
The solution to the challenges facing the people of Sri Lanka at this critical juncture lies in a genuine and inclusive dialogue among all the people and political parties in Sri Lanka. To this end, South Africa encourages the Government and people of Sri Lanka to create a conducive environment, inside and outside Sri Lanka, that will allow for a meaningful and sustainable political settlement that will lead to a constitution that will be acceptable to all Sri Lankans.
In a spirit of partnership and cooperation, South Africa stands ready to share its experience and work with the people of Sri Lanka as they embark on this journey of building a truly reconciled and united people and nation.
The Commission of Enquiry was established by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in May 2010, among other things, to look into the facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the ceasefire agreement between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on 21 February 2002 and the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to the 19th of May 2009 (when the LTTE was defeated in a bloody civil war); whether any person, group or institution directly or indirectly bears the responsibility for alleged human rights abuses especially towards the end of the war; whether there are any lessons to be learned from those events in order to ensure that there will be no repeat of these events; the methodology whereby restitution to any person affected by those events can be effected; the institutional, administrative and legislative measures to be taken to prevent any recurrence of such concerns in the future; and to promote national unity and reconciliation among all communities.