Benchmarks and Issues to Consider when Exploring Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka

Several reports in 2015 indicate to the possibility of establishing a ‘credible domestic process’ in Sri Lanka. This comes in a context of failed attempts in the past to address truth and justice in Sri Lanka and the ongoing protests by victims, families of the disappeared and affected communities for greater action. Recent protests also made specific reference to the developments at the 28th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the decision of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to defer the tabling of the report by the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL). The reports of a ‘credible domestic process’ also come in the context of the OISL report being tabled at the 30th Session of the UNHRC and pressure on the Government of Sri Lanka to deliver on plans that address past violations and introduce reforms.

Key benchmarks and issues must be discussed when designing and subsequently implementing domestic processes and mechanisms. In this regard, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has produced this short note to initiate a discussion among the different stakeholders as to the different elements that must be part and parcel of any process/mechanism.

Download the discussion paper here.

CPA Benchmarks and Issues March 2015

Legal and Policy Implications of Recent Land Acquisitions, Evictions and Related Issues in Sri Lanka

Land has a central place in the post war debates involving resettlement, reconstruction, development and the search for a political solution. With the ten year anniversary of the tsunami nearing and more than five years after the end of the war, many questions regarding land issues persist including continuing challenges to individuals being able to fully enjoy, access and use their lands and reside in their homes, due to restrictions placed in the name of security and development. Furthermore, Sri Lanka has a complex framework for legal and possessory rights, covering both State and private land. This framework is meant to provide tenure security for individuals residing and using the land and safeguards to prevent arbitrary displacement and eviction. The legal and policy framework, despite its shortcomings and the need for reform in specific areas, is a basic starting point of a governance system as well as constituting recognition of the rights of those owning and in possession of land. Unfortunately, present practices and recent policy decisions undermine the framework in place and demonstrate a deliberate disregard and/or ignorance of what is in the books. These challenges are highlighted in the present brief with recommendations provided for immediate reform.

Download the policy brief here or read it online here.


Short-Term Benchmarks for Peace and Reconciliation in Post-War Sri Lanka

30 May 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives is pleased to release it’s latest report, Short-Term Benchmarks for Peace and Reconciliation in Post-War Sri Lanka. The report provides a set of key measures that need to be implemented by the Government in the short term in order to achieve peace and reconciliation. It calls for actions in twelve thematic areas and lists recommendations including those in the interim and final recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and other official documents such as the National Human Rights Action Plan and Universal Periodic Review pledges, as well as those identified by CPA as critical to facilitating the transition from a post-war to a post-conflict society.

While the document identifies twelve thematic issues, several cross-cutting themes such as human rights, justice, accountability, gender, minority rights and vulnerabilities have been treated together constituting an overarching framework.

The document is primarily addressed to the Government in order to strengthen efforts to implement the recommendations of the LLRC and other key initiatives, but also highlights vital areas requiring the attention of political, civil society and other actors.

Short-Term Benchmarks for Peace and Reconciliation in Post-War Sri Lanka is part of a larger initiative on the part of CPA to generate public debate on reconciliation and explore modalities in moving forward.

Download the report as a PDF here.

A List of Commissions of Inquiry and Committees Appointed by the Government of Sri Lanka (2006–2012)

12 March 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has produced a table that contains basic information pertaining to Commissions of Inquiry (CoI) (1) and committees appointed by the Government since coming into power in November 2005 (2). Section I of the table examines the CoI and Section II contains information pertaining to key committees established during the specific time period (3).


  1. The Commissions listed in this document does not include those established by the National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.
  2. The commissions and committees listed in this document are limited to those where information is publicly available.
  3. As of 9 March 2012.

Access the full table online here, where you can also print or download it as a PDF.