Published on: June 3, 2024

Interim Secretariat for Truth and Reconciliation Conducts Consultations in Puttalam District

The Interim Secretariat for Truth and Reconciliation Mechanism (ISTRM) conducted a series of stakeholder consultations in the Puttalam district from May 13th to May 15th, 2024. The consultations aimed to gather insights and address community challenges stemming from the conflict that occurred between 1983 and 2009.

During the three-day visit, the ISTRM team held nine consultations with various stakeholders to identify key issues and community concerns. On May 13th, the team met with Puttalam GA/District Secretary Mr. H. M. S. P. Herath and Assistant District Secretary Mrs. W. M. S. G. Karunarathna to discuss concerns on administrative challenges and resource allocations. A press briefing for regional reporters provided updates on the ISTRM’s activities and objectives. Consultations with villagers from Wanathawilluwa and Kalpitiya at their respective DS offices highlighted local issues, while discussions with the Sri Lankan African Community in Sirambiadiya explored the unique challenges they face.

On May 14th, the team met with the senior police officers and air force officers in the Puttalam district at the DS Office Puttalam to discuss and gather their feedback on the proposed legislation. A broader consultation with ex-military officers, representatives from civil society organizations, Janasabha members, and ONUR Co-existing committee members covered a wide range of social and administrative concerns. Additionally, discussions with divisional secretaries and heads of provincial councils focused on governance and resource management issues in the Puttalam district. On the final day, May 15th, the team engaged with the villagers in Mohothuwaram fishing village to address their specific concerns.

During the consultations, it was highlighted that the quality of education and healthcare is being affected by the shortage of teachers and doctors, as well as the strain on resources due to internally displaced citizens residing in the Puttalam district. Other concerns raised included soil erosion and the reservation of land by the Forest Department.

The ISTRM’s consultations in Puttalam underscored significant challenges and provided a platform for community members to voice their concerns. The feedback gathered will be crucial in shaping the activities of the Independent Commission for Truth, Unity, and Reconciliation, aimed at addressing historical grievances and promoting national unity. The ISTRM’s efforts highlight the importance of inclusive dialogue and comprehensive solutions to support affected communities in Sri Lanka.

The staff from the ISTRM who visited the Puttalam district included Senior Additional Secretary to the President Mr. Ranjith Ariyaratne, Dr. C.Y. Thangarajah – Senior Executive (Policy), Mr.Sarath Kothalawala (Coordinator), Ms. Danushi De Silva – Executive (Public Relations), Ms. Saumya Wicramasinghe – Executive (Public Relations) and Ms. Y.L. Lokunarangoda – Senior Executive (Legal).


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