EPDP notes discrepancies in LLRC report

The EPDP says there are some discrepancies in the report of the Lesson Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) with regards to comments mentioned in the report based on the statement given to the commission by EPDP leader Douglas Devananda.

The EPDP said in a statement that it also regrets to note the comments made by the commission on the EPDP in the report.

“Whilst we deny the allegations about the EPDP, we wish to state that there is wide discrepancy in what really transpired when EPDP leader gave evidence (transcript of the evidence available) and the paraphrases stated in the report as being the conversations between the commission members and EPDP leader,” the EPDP said.

The EPDP said that the LLRC report, in its observations and recommendations, has emphasized what the EPDP has been propagating for the last two decades with regard to the grievances of the Tamil people.

This includes:

·        The Commission takes the view that the root cause of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka lies in the failure of successive Governments to address the genuine grievances of the Tamil people.

·        Reaching a political consensus that will facilitate devolution of power to be of critical importance, to further the process of reconciliation after the ending of LTTE terrorism, which was the main obstacle against achieving such a consensus for a long time.

·        Maximum possible devolution to the periphery especially at the grass roots level, as well as power sharing at the centre

·        The lessons learnt from the shortcomings in the functioning of the Provincial Councils system be taken into account in devising an appropriate system of devolution that addresses the needs of the people.

·        The issues of devolution of power to the regions were dealt with in the 13th Amendment but with the extent of power devolved and implementation still remaining and unresolved.

·        An additional mechanism that may be considered is the possibility of establishing a Second Chamber comprising Representatives from the Provinces.

·        The constitutional and legal provisions regarding the Tamil language are in place, but there are shortcomings and failures of implementation.

·        The full implementation of the language policy. It is imperative that the official languages policy is implemented in an effective manner.

·        There was also a clear message that the ending of LTTE terrorism and the advent of a strong and broad based Government led by an executive President has provided a great window of opportunity – an opportunity to forge a consensual way forward to address a range of governance issues in a manner that will promote reconciliation, amity and cooperation among all communities, provide political solutions to the grievances of minorities and ensure the realization of the legitimate rights of all citizens.

·        What needs to be done for reconciliation and nation-building is that the State has to reach out to the minorities and the minorities, in turn must, re-position themselves in their role vis a vis the State and the country.

·        In formulating land policy the proposed NLC (National Land Commission) should include Guidelines for the equitable distribution of State land. The Commission regrets to note that although this is a requirement under the 13th Amendment, and a draft Bill has been framed, successive Governments have failed to get it passed through the Parliament.

·        The Commission also recommends that strict controls be applied to prevent any alienation of State land other than for IDPs, except where State land is required for other approved purposes, until the proposed Programme is implemented.

The EPDP says it endorses the recommendations of the LLRC, particularly with regard to the recommendations on minority grievances, on reconciliation and Governance and request early implementation of the recommendations.