A large gathering of more than 125 persons consisting of Priests, Nuns and civil society participants led by the Bishop of Trincomalee/Batticaloa, Rt Rev Dr Kingsley Swampillai and the Director of Caritas EHED Batticaloa, Rev Fr Cryton Outschoorn was present at Charles Hall, Batticaloa on 7th March 2012 when a Study Session on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report was held in collaboration with the Caritas Sri Lanka National Centre.
Three specific aspects of the LLRC Recommendations, namely Reconciliation, Human Rights and Political Solution to the Ethnic Conflict were presented and discussed in this interactive session. The main resource persons were Dr Jehan Perera, Executive Director of the National Peace Council, Mr Mirak Raheem, Senior Researcher in the Centre for Policy Alternatives and Mr Rukshan Fernando, Head of Human Rights in Conflict Programme at Law and Society Trust. A synopsis of their presentations was presented by Rev Fr Mervyn Fernando, Director of Subodhi Institute, Piliyandala at the end of the sessions.
Welcoming the participants of this meeting, Mr Newman Fernando, Senior Executive Manager of Caritas Sri Lanka said that the LLRC Report is an important document put forward by a Commission appointed by the Government. He observed that Study Sessions of this nature will be promoted by Caritas in all the Districts so that awareness may be created among the people at grass root level about the importance of this subject and about the need to have the LLRC’s recommendations implemented without delay.
Rev Fr Reid Shelton Fernando, Secretary of the Archdiocesan Commission on Ecumenism in his introductory remarks traced the origin and background of the LLRC. He observed that as a local mechanism, the Commission was a response of the government to the UNSG’s call for a credible investigation into human rights violations and accountability issues arising the last stages of the war in the year 2009. Fr Reid Shelton Fernando also stressed that since the LLRC has set out its findings and recommendations, civil society must play its rightful role in pushing for positive action on its proposals.
The entire Study Session was held in both English and Tamil languages.