Colombo (LNW): The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation Bill underwent a comprehensive discussion at the recent meeting of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Reconciliation and National Unity in Parliament, chaired by MP Dilan Perera.
Government officials, including representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms, Attorney General’s Department, Legal Draftsman’s Department, and the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, participated in the meeting.
Committee Chief Perera addressing the meeting expressed concern about recent incidents where political and religious leaders displayed behavior that could incite religious or racial tensions, potentially hindering the government’s efforts to steer the country away from economic challenges.
He emphasised the need to amend the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation Bill accordingly and submit it to Parliament for approval.
The Committee also delved into the ongoing activities of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation.
Representatives highlighted the completion of preliminary work on the National Policy on Reconciliation and Coexistence, a key objective outlined in the bill. They also discussed reconciliation initiatives carried out in universities and schools.
Acknowledging schools as an optimal platform for fostering national unity, the Committee explored the legal involvement of the school system in the Bill. The Office of National Unity and Reconciliation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education, expressed readiness to initiate programmes in selected schools from the 67 trilingual schools in Sri Lanka.
The Committee was informed that, per the Act’s provisions, the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation can recommend necessary amendments to the government.
The Chairman expressed his intention to discuss this matter with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Education in future sessions. Additionally, he proposed the inclusion of youth representatives in upcoming meetings of the Sectoral Oversight Committee. MP Mayadunna Chinthaka Amal attended the meeting.