Building a path for national reconciliation
by Melani Manel Perera

The National Peace Council marks the 37th anniversary of the start of the country’s civil war, just a few days before the 5 August national election by calling for unity between Sri Lanka’s various communities. The goal is to achieve a shared future and peaceful coexistence in a devolved political system that respects Sri Lanka’s pluralistic society.

Colombo (Asia News) – Sri Lanka will go to the polls on 5 August. In view of this, the National Peace Council (NPC) has invited candidates, parties and voters to build a path of national reconciliation based on mutual understanding, trust and justice.

“Irrespective of which party wins the forthcoming election, the country has to be united otherwise we will all lose. This is a challenge that continues to stand before us 37 years after Black July 1983,” the NPC said in a statement.

On 23 July 1983, Tamil Tigers rebels ambushed Sri Lankan soldiers, killing 13. This sparked an anti-Tamil pogrom by majority Sinhalese. The civil war that followed ended in 2009 with the military’s victory.

For the NCP, the political, social and economic divide and the lack of reconciliation between Sinhalese and Tamils ​​lies at the root of the conflict.

“Our country has suffered far too long from our inability to unify and connect all citizens within one framework of governance that all can agree is reasonable and just,” the NPC statement goes on to say.

“This month of July needs to become a time of introspection where the Sri Lankan nation reflects on our divided past and [on] how to achieve a shared future and peaceful coexistence.”

According to the NPC, the values ​​on which to re-establish government structures are those that guarantee equal rights, equal opportunities and equal protection under the law.

“This is indicative of the need to also continue to seek a solution in which the devolution of power gives to the ethnic and religious minorities the confidence in their security and future in a manner that would hold our pluralistic, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society together.”