Sri Lanka Considers A South Africa-Style Truth And Reconciliation Commission

Body would address country's decades-long civil war

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Sri Lanka’s government announced Wednesday it is considering a truth and reconciliation commission modeled on the post-apartheid body in South Africa, to help heal the scars of the nation’s decades-long civil war.

The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry published a statement on Wednesday that two senior ministers will be leading a visit to South Africa in February. The point of the visit would be to understand how the 1990s commission led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in which human rights offenders of all races admitted to their crimes publicly, “can help in Sri Lanka’s own reconciliation process, following the defeat of terrorism,” read the statement.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the visit will build on November’s talks between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and South African President Jacob Zuma. The visit also coincides with a third U.S.-sponsored resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council over the Sri Lankan government’s failure to investigate allegations of war crimes and atrocities committed during the civil war, reports AP.

In 2009 the decades-long internal conflict between rebel Tamil groups and the majority-Sinhalese government came to a bloody end, with up to 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians possibly killed in the last months of fighting. Both Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels have been accused of committing human rights violations and war crimes.