Former President and current Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, Chandrika Kumaratunga says accusations of human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka must be addressed.
Seh was speaking at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly focused on UN, Peace and Security at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The former President relayed her country’s experience in years following what she called “a very destructive war”.
The opposition had been crushed, she said, but the country did not win peace because the Government did not undertake a peacebuilding process. After a change of Government, however, the two major political parties were brought together through a common vision. “This makes things very easy,” she said. “Military means are not sufficient to end a conflict,” she stressed. Deep-rooted causes must be dealt with. In Sri Lanka’s case, accusations of human rights violations during the conflict also had to be addressed.
She said that for those reasons, a reconciliation mechanism had been set up working very closely with United Nations agencies.
“Creative programmes had been instituted to change attitudes. Equal rights had been accorded to minorities and for that purpose a new constitution was being drafted with the participation of the former opposition. In schools, children of the four major communities were being brought together for the first time in their lives. Young professionals were being brought together in workshops and through arts festivals. Psycho-social support was being provided for those traumatized during the conflict. In districts damaged by conflict, including those dominated by minorities, five-year development plans were being implemented. In addition to United Nations agencies, bilateral partnerships were being developed to support these programmes,” she added.