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Expert Committee on Memorialization Hands Over Report to President

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The Expert Committee to make recommendations to commemorate those who died as a result of the armed conflict, political unrest, or civil disturbances in Sri Lanka during the period 1983-2009 as a means of healing and reconciliation among communities, handed over its report to the Hon. President on May 31, 2024, at the Presidential Secretariat.

The Expert Committee that was appointed by the Hon. President on a Cabinet decision was chaired by Prof. Emeritus Jagath Weerasinghe, with members comprising Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara (University of Visual and Performing Arts), Prof. Farzana F Haniffa (University of Colombo), Prof. T Sanathanan (University of Jaffna), Ms. Thushari Suriyaarachchi (Acting Director General, Office of National Unity & Reconciliation – ONUR), and Mr. Mahinda Withanaarachchi (Additional Director General, Urban Development Authority).

During the past few months, the Committee conducted public consultation sessions in the districts of Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara, and Kurunegala and also consulted experts in the field of reconciliation. These public sessions were organized in coordination with the National Integration Coordinating Officers of ONUR representing the relevant Districts. The public sessions provided a free and open forum to express aspirations and grievances related to community healing and reconciliation.

The Expert Committee recognizes the right to memorialize and reveals in its Report that various groups and individuals have been engaging with the question of memorialization and reconciliation in different ways. This constitutes a rich body of work that should be made part of the attempt to record, comment, or otherwise engage with the country’s conflict related past.

The Committee has recommended, among others, a centrally located iconic building as a repository of artistic and cultural expressions associated with the conflict and reconciliation efforts in Sri Lanka with the aim of nurturing collective commitment for non-recurrence and promote community healing and reconciliation among all Sri Lankans.

President’s Secretary Mr. Saman Ekanayake was also present at the handover of the committee’s report.

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