Secretary Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation V.Sivagnanasothy in discussion with the visiting delegation led by former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa Dikgang Moseneke in Colombo last week.
Former Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa Dikgang Moseneke, Advocate Karen McKenzie, Head of Human Rights, Commonwealth Secretariat and Johannes Van Niekerk,Counsellor Political of South Africa had visited the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation last week and shared the South African experiences on reconciliation,Secretary Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation V. Sivagnanasothy said.
Ex-Judge Dikgang Moseneke said that “in our system everybody has right to be a Buddhist, be a Muslim, to belong to a Hindu religion or even no religion. The constitution specially protects the rights. He also emphasised on ‘unity in diversity, mutual respect and co-existence’,as a important elements for reconciliation. Most of the violence in South Africa is due to poverty, exclusion and disintegration of families.”
Moseneke also spoke about reaching a consensus on constitution based on South African experiences. However, though there were challenges, common value of unity in diversity, reconciliation, democracy, fundamental rights and freedom helped to overcome the challenges. The Constitution of South Africa recognized rights not based on religion or ethnicity, but gave protection to minorities and was based on equity, dignity and no discrimination.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa examined as to how people killed or disappeared and that was a healing process to address the pains. Reparation for victims is one of the pillars in transitional justice that helped victims to receive compensation. Transitional justice is different from normal justice and it was aimed at buying peace. Amnesty was given to ex-combatants and they were socially integrated. Women participation in all areas of transitional justice and constitutional reforms was given importance. In South Africa, 35 to 40 percent of the women are in the Parliament, the former judge said.”
“Non-recurrence and memorialization were also important in the reconciliation process. Local peace committees in South Africa helped to keep violence, tensions down and solve the burning issues. Transforming the conflict into peaceful and sustainable outcome requires comprehensive understanding of the root causes of conflict. Conflict mediation and conflict resolution in hot spot districts is also important. Healing and reparation are one of the most important elements for reconciliation.”
The Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation presented the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) of the Ministry. The interventions and initiatives were commended by Ex-Judge Moseneke and Advocate Karen McKenzie, Head of Human Rights, Commonwealth Secretariat.
The meeting was attended by V.Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, M.M.Zuhair, State Secretary,Sandanayake, Additional Secretary, Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, representatives from the Ministry of National Co- Existence Dialogue and Official Languages and Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms.