Columbian delegation studies Lanka’s reconciliation initiatives

 The delegation members with National Integration and Reconciliation Ministry Secretary V.Sivagnanasothy

An eleven member delegation from Columbia visited the National Integration and Reconciliation Ministry to draw knowledge, expertise and experiences on reconciliation and integration efforts of the Government.

National Integration and Reconciliation Ministry Secretary V.Sivagnanasothy presented the national reconciliation and integration strategy of Sri Lanka.

The plan includes Integration Friendly Schools Programme, Reconciliation Friendly Media, Integration Friendly University and Youth Corps, inculcating integration concepts into Sunday Religious School teaching, curriculum development in school education incorporating ethics, values, virtues, and comparative religious studies.

The Reconciliation Focused Economic Empowerment Project (REEP), 50,000 Housing programme, Roads project, Social and Economic Infrastructure projects which will help to reduce economic disparities and enhance trust.

Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy also stated that the District Reconciliation Committees (DRC) has been established with the President’s guidance to address ethnic and religious tensions in hotspots.

Considerable progress has now been made in operationalisation of OMP which comes under the purview of the National Integration and Reconciliation Ministry.

The delegation echoed approval and commendation on the projects and applauded the holistic approach adopted by Sri Lanka in working towards sustainable peace. Andres Guevara an Editor from a Columbian Magazine commended the reconciliation friendly media programmes in place in Sri Lanka and launched a discussion with regards to the medias role in sustainable peace . The Discussion noted that ‘Its not about censoring or controlling free media but rather fostering an alternative message to limit the spreading of tensions and animosity among the masses ‘. The issue of fake news came to light thus further strengthening the need for the reconciliation friendly media programmes and awareness intiatives to establish a more harmonious nation. Laura Ochoa,the international representative of Search for Common Ground added and shared the experiences of Colombian reconciliation projects in place. She explained that the conflict affected areas need to be provided with basic economic and social infrastructure including resettlement and rehabilitation, livelihood and economic empowerment to address disparities and need reparation support. It was noted that the ‘’The priority is also to provide physical rehabilitation for the disabled persons and extend psycho-social support to the affected persons including families of missing persons to overcome trauma. 

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