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Tamil National Alliance Leader and Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan has observed that the TNA welcomes the new legislation for Office for Reparations as an important step towards reconciliation. It must have the freedom to act independently so as to formulate the policies and find avenues to offer reparations for aggrieved persons.

He was speaking during the Second Reading of the Office for Reparations Bill in Parliament. He stated that the Truth Commission should have preceded the Office for Reparations. Certain provisions in the Bill enabled the Government to play a role in the implementation of the policies formulated by the Office for Reparations. This must not be a matter that must come under the Government.

During his address, Sampanthan said: “The ascertainment of the truth, delivery of justice, the issue of accountability, reparations and non-recurrence are all fundamental components of the Transitional Justice mechanism. Financial reparations must be given to the people who need to be economically empowered. Some land is still held by the military despite the Government’s recent moves to release them to the original owners. The Office for Reparations must look into those issues.

The long drawn issue of detainees in the custody under the PTA must also be resolved. Some of them have been convicted based on their confessions. Under the new Counter Terrorism Bill, confessions are no longer admissible before law. Then the Government should accept this position and apply it to the PTA detainees as well. The Office for Reparations could play a role to make sure their release.”

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