Late last year Sri Lanka launched a “national action plan”. We weren’t impressed and so we wrote a report about it.
To quote our conclusion:
“…. all these measures’ effectiveness is undoubtedly limited when one considers the likely membership of the Committees and Commissions that will implement them. Sri Lanka has a long and sordid history in which such commissions have been frequently little more than whitewashing devices. Root and branch reform is required – instead what we have is a band aid placed over a system damaged beyond repair.
“Thus even on its own terms the promise of the National Action Plan is minimal at best. Without significant erosion of the extensive powers of the President, it is unlikely that most of the suggestions and objectives outlined will ever see the light of day.
“Sadly it seems that was never the objective. The real problems in Sri Lanka – the culture of impunity, the political elite and paramilitary thugs who feel they are above the law, the uncontrolled excesses of the police and army – are not to be found in this plan at all. Sri Lanka is under pressure from the international community to do something about its appalling rights record. It hoped that the promises contained in this document will serve to bamboozle readers into thinking there will be progress – much as they have done over the last thirty years. It is time to insist that enough is enough, and to demand real progress.”