Minister Samaraweera addresses Peace-building Commission | Sunday Observer

Minister Samaraweera addresses Peace-building Commission

Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera
Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera

Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera who is in New York to participate in the Financing for Development Forum of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations addressed the Peace-building Commission on the peace building and transitional justice processes in Sri Lanka and said that although there is a perception among some that progress in Sri Lanka has stalled, it has despite several challenges, managed to achieve much more in multiple areas of policy, and legal and economic reform, since January 2015.

Participating in this Ambassadorial-Level Meeting of the Peace-building Commission, the Minister stressed that ‘Development begins with Reconciliation and that Reconciliation is essential for Sri Lanka to realise its vision of a stable, peaceful, reconciled and prosperous nation, for everyone’.

“This includes the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and the setting up of the Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions; the Right to Information Act; the Victim and Witness Protection Act; criminalising enforced disappearance; introducing Certificates of Absence through legislation; setting up the Office on Missing Persons and more recently the Office for Reparations; making Sri Lanka more free and open; making governance more transparent and fiscally responsible; becoming a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and assigning the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka as the National Preventive Mechanism; and greater engagement with the systems and procedures of the UN.

In fact we extended a standing invitation to all thematic special procedures in December 2015, and since then, apart from UN high officials, we have received eight thematic special procedure mandate holders including two Working Groups. Just last week, we received the Sub Committee on Torture.” he said.

He said that the best proof to demonstrate that Sri Lanka’s reform agenda since January 2015 has in fact worked is the peaceful resolution of the recent crisis that most unexpectedly plunged the country’s politics into turmoil and tested Sri Lanka’s democratic institutions. The peaceful resolution of the crisis through Constitutional means was a triumph for democracy and democratic institutions.

“The co-sponsorship of Human Rights Council Resolution 40/1 on March 21 this year which was a procedural technical roll-over of Resolution 30/1 of 2015 is a demonstration of our commitment to continue working with the UN system, and our bilateral partners to advance our national reconciliation and development agenda for the benefit of all citizens.”

Our main message to our people through all our communication campaigns and through the mechanisms and processes for truth-seeking, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence is that ‘Development begins with Reconciliation’ and that Reconciliation is essential for Sri Lanka to realise its vision of a stable, peaceful, reconciled and prosperous nation, for everyone.

The meeting was chaired by the Vice Chair of the Peace-building Commission, the Ambassador of Romania Ion Jinga, and was attended by representatives of the Member Countries of the Peace-building Commission – Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Cote d’Ivoire, China, France, Peru, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States of America, Brazil, Colombia, Ireland, Iran, Mali, Republic of Korea, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Rwanda, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway and Sweden as well as representatives from Australia, Bhutan, Kuwait, Liberia, Maldives, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Switzerland, and the European Union.

The Assistant-Secretary-General for Peace-building Support Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer, Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM) Mano Tittawella as well as the Chairperson of the Office on Missing Persons Saliya Pieris, and the Chairperson of the Office for Reparations who is also the CEO of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Dhara Wijayatilake joined the Minister in the interactive discussion with the Peace-building Commission.

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