Commission to probe killings, abuductions needed, C’bo Bishop tells LLRC

By Harischandra Gunaratna

The Bishop of Colombo Rt. Rev Duleep De Chickera making his submissions on behalf of the Church of Ceylon before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission yesterday, said that the public has a right to know who has been abducted or killed. He emphasized on the need appoint immediately another commission to investigate the numerous killings and abductions of civilians which occurred during the conflict and said that commission could also be mandated to trace and publish lists of persons missing or killed during the period of war and conflict. "There can be no deterrent to a resurgence of grievance and terrorism than the restoration of the democratic rights of the people, law and order and good governance," he said.

Rev Chickera said that a certain degree of scepticism and cynicism prevails among the masses on the prevailing political culture of the country and there has to be a proper mechanism of devolution. It is the responsibility of the political leadership of the country to see that it is implemented, he said.

"Many groups have been excluded or marginalized in the participation of the political process," he noted.

He said there must be a mechanism for the healing of memories and for building of trust within and amongst all communities and cross cultural education which will bring the children of different ethnic communities together in regions where there are cosmopolitan communities. An integrated teaching of history will enhance this process and lay foundation for trust and confidence, he said.

Bishop Chickera quoted Ireland as an example where this system has been successful. He said they started it in one school and now there are over 200 such schools.

He said that the emergency regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act needs to be reviewed as these have often been used to stifle legitimate democratic activities and intimidate political opposition. He warned that as long as such measures are in place they will pose a threat to normalcy and national reconciliation.

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