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Reparation Bill proposes to ensure reconciliation: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has observed that the Reparations Bill proposed to ensure reconciliation in the country and to provide reparation to the affected or aggrieved parties.

He made this observation in moving the Reparations Bill for debate in Parliament. He stated that reparations had been a policy of the government since 1983, when the riots took place and the Rehabilitation of Persons, Properties and Industries Authority was established by law. Reparations could be to individuals or collective reparation as defined in the Act. In addition we would also take action on recommendations made by the Office of Missing Persons. This is the scope of the legislation introduced to the House. It is a needed piece of legislation.

During his address, Premier Wickremesingeh said: “We have had a long history of conflict not only in the North, but also in the South of people who had disappeared and once we put this behind us, it is also necessary to find out what happened to them and give reparation to the affected parties.

This office for reparations would replace the authority whereby repealing the law, but all acts done under this law and all programmes undertaken by the Authority would be carried out by the Office for Reparations. As far as the employees are concerned, all can be absorbed except for those who prefer to take compensation and leave. The functions of the Office of Reparations is to formulate and recommend to Cabinet policies on reparation to facilitate implementation of such policies, monitor and evaluate the progress of delivery of reparation to eligible aggrieved persons.

An aggrieved person has been defined as someone who had suffered violations of human rights or humanitarian law and we have further defined them in terms of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and fourth parts of the Geneva Convention of 1949.”

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