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Lessons Learnt

Oct 23, 2010 3:25:24 PM - thesundayleader.lk

A salient feature in South Africa’s (SA’s) Truth Commission was the tracing of the remains of the victims killed during the apartheid regime, thereby enabling the victims’ families to give them a decent burial, a South African diplomat told this newspaper last Friday.
Thabo Sanyane, Third Secretary (Political), South African High Commission, Colombo, said that the authorities in the apartheid S. African regime had a record of their victims, where they were buried and so on, thus making it possible to trace their graves.
That action, of being able to trace their loved ones remains and to reinter them at a place of their choice, helped to alleviate a lot of suffering and pain that the victims’ families were undergoing, he said.
Officers involved in such slaughters, even apologized to the murdered victims’ families at the Commission hearings, said Sanyane. No one was however prosecuted as a result of the findings of the Truth Commission which sat for two years beginning from 1996.
He also said that Sri Lanka’s (SL’s) request to check UN’s Human Rights (HR) High Commissioner Ms. Navanethem Pillay, a S. African Tamil was turned down on the basis that SA had no jurisdiction on such matters over a UN employee. Pillay is known to be critical of SL’s HR record, especially during the final days of its war against the LTTE.
He however said that SA voted in favour of SL’s proposal of not interfering in its internal affairs at the UNHR Council sessions in Geneva last year, a proposal which SL won by 29 votes to 12.