Sri Lanka’s post-conflict measures at reconciliation, rehabilitation, reintegration, and reconstruction were highlighted by High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis during an interview on BBC World News today.
Asked by BBC presenter Mishal Husain what positive developments have occurred in the last four years since the end of the 26 year conflict, Dr Nonis said 297,000 people rescued from the clutches of the LTTE have been rehabilitated, in perhaps the largest hostage rescue operation in global history.
“After a 28 year bitter and internecine conflict with the terrorists we finally achieved peace in the country under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Eleven thousand six hundred LTTE cadres are now being rehabilitated”, Dr Nonis told the BBC World News programme “Impact”.
On the question of an international independent process to assess progress as called for by the UN, the High Commissioner said that one needs to draw a distinction between an international process and an independent process.
It was modelled on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. It was set within the Principle of International Humanitarian Law, incorporating the Principle of Distinction and the Principle of Proportionality. Questioned on refugees and persecution, Dr Nonis said “I would say there are many people who for various different reasons come and seek asylum, and I think what we have to separate, is those who seek asylum as economic refugees, from those who seek asylum as political refugees” – You must remember the demography of the country, the majority of Tamil people actually live in the Centre and South of Sri Lanka, if you look at Colombo, its roughly a 30-30-30 percent split between Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim.