National policy on Reconciliation and Co-existence approved

A national policy on Reconciliation and Co-existence was approved by Cabinet this week to “ensure coherence and consistency in planning and development of all peace and national unity initiatives,”by all stakeholders.

This was a joint Cabinet Paper put forward by the President as Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation and Mano Ganesan, Minister of National Coexistence, Dialogue and Official Languages.

A draft policy was earlier put forward by the President in September 2016 but it was decided that it needed to be revised and improved on,on the request National Coexistence Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan.

The Policy proposes to promote and implement programmes with the themes of; “Equality, Human Rights, linguistic rights, national coexistence and diversity where the it makes special mention that the “State shall reinforce all patriotic forces by law, policy and spirit to explore the notion of active citizenship in Sri Lanka and what it means to be Sri Lankan, strengthen the notion of Sri Lankan identity identifying the values enriched by the nation’s diverse cultural pluralism and heritage and thereby recognizing the existence of more than one religion, language and ethnicity in this country as the natural prerequisite for national coexistence”, ownership, justice and rule of law, sustainable development, civil consciousness and transitional justice.

It also proposes to, “Identify the segments those have become marginalised over the years since independence within the social layers of the Sri Lankan society due to ethnic, religious, linguistic, social, political and economic factors”, “Develop affirmative action programmes for the marginalised within the National Action Plan on Reconciliation and Coexistence”, “Launch public awareness and education campaigns on the National Policy on Reconciliation and Coexistence and the National Action Plan”, and “Mainstream the values defined in this National Policy on Reconciliation and Coexistence within government institutions and existing national initiatives through annual work plans”.

National reconciliation has been a key focus of the government and thus far Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, Ministry of National Coexistence Dialogue and Official Languages, Ministry of Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs and Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms are working on various areas to achieve it. In addition, work is also being done by the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation led by former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. 


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