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First public sitting of lessons learnt commission

First public sitting of lessons learnt commission

The Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation will hold its first public sitting on Wednesday 11th August 2010 at 9.30am at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies.

Six Public Sittings will be held in Colombo while two Sittings will be held in Vavuniya this month.

The Commission, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa under Section 2 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, functions independently in keeping with the wide mandate issued to it.

The eight-member Commission has already met several times to discuss modalities of work and it was decided to hold sittings in the affected areas in the North and East to enable the public to have easy access to the Commission and enhance awareness of its work.

The Commission, on 23 July, met District Secretaries of the North and East, in Colombo and discussed on modalities and institutional matters to set the stage for public hearings in the North and East.

Immediately after the proclamation to appoint the Commission was gazetted, the Cabinet of Ministers granted a sum of Rs10 million to enable the Commission to start operations without delay. The General Treasury, based on the expenditure estimates provided by the Commission Secretariat, will allocate additional funds when required.

The appointment of the Commission stems from the President's overriding interest in the need for restorative justice by the Sri Lankan people. Its findings will seek to take the Sri Lankan nation towards the common goals of a multi-ethnic polity, in a spirit of cooperation, partnership and friendship, learning the lessons from recent history to ensure that there will be no recurrence of such tragic conflict in the future.

The Commission will inquire and report on the following matters;

1. The facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the cease-fire agreement operationalized on 21st February, 2002 and the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to the 19th of May, 2009.

2. Whether any person, group or institution directly or indirectly bear responsibility in this regard;

3. The lessons we would learn from those events and their attendant concerns, in order to ensure that there will be no recurrence;

4. The methodology whereby restitution to any person affected by those events or their dependents or their heirs, can be affected;

5. The institutional, administrative and legislative measures which need to be taken in order to prevent any recurrence of such concerns in the future, and to promote further national unity and reconciliation among all communities, and to make any such other recommendations with reference to any of the matters that have been inquired into under the terms of this Warrant.

Public sittings to hear representations on the above matters will continue in Colombo on the following dates and times;

12th August at 9.30 am and 11.30 am; 13th August at 9.30 am and 11.30 am;17th August at 9.30 am, 11.30 am and 2pm; 18th August at 2pm and 3pm; 23rd August at 9.30 am and 11.30 am; 25th August at 2pm and 3.30pm.

The Commission will also hold public sittings in Vavuniya on 14th - 15th August.

The public is advised to arrive early as seating is limited and will be on a first come first served basis.

The Commission has requested citizens to provide assistance and information to achieve the goals of the Commission.

Members of the public who wish to make submissions before the Commission should contact it on telephone No. 0112673408 or write to the Commission at the following address to obtain a date and time.

The Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation

No 24, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International

Relations and Strategic Studies

24, Horton Place

Colombo 7

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