Prescription (Special provisions) Act No. 05 of 2016

The Prescription (Special Provisions) Act No. 05 of 2016 was brought into operation in April 2016 to provide special legal provisions for persons who were unable to institute court proceedings to recover their immovable property including land, due to the terrorist activities in Sri Lanka during the period from 1 May 1983 to 18 May 2009.

According to the Act, if any person who had a valid legal claim ( as rightful owner of the property) to any immovable property including land was a ‘disadvantaged person’ (the Act defines a" disadvantaged person' as a person who was unable to pursue his rights in a court in which he was by law enabled to pursue such rights, as a result of the circumstances which prevailed due to the activities of any militant terrorist group during the period commencing on May 1st, 1983 and ending on May 18th, 2009) such a person could claim his/her property despite it being possessed or occupied by another person who claims ownership through prescription.
Section 4 of the Act provides that a 'disadvantaged person' is entitled to benefit from the Act within two years after the date of operation. As the date of operation was 26 April 2016 (being the date of the Speaker's certification) the said stipulated time period expires on 26 April 2018.

Therefore, if any person is interested in reclaiming his/her/their property through the provisions of this Act, such claim ought to be brought before 26 April 2018.
Trilingual electronic copies of the Act are available under the following links:

Members of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka too are notified of the contents of this Act. If a person wishes to pursue legal action in terms of this Act, he/she could seek legal advice.

Statement by the Cabinet of Minister

On 13 June 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a Statement, directing law enforcement authorities and the Attorney General to take immediate action against instigators and perpetrators of violence and hate speech against religious and ethnic groups.

To read the full text of this Statement, please follow the relevant link for EnglishSinhala or Tamil language.

GOVERNMENT APPROVES HISTORIC NATIONAL RECONCILIATION POLICY

On 2 May 2017, in a historic move, the cabinet of Ministers of the Government of Sri Lanka approved Sri Lanka's first National Reconciliation Policy.

The process for developing the National Reconciliation Policy was initiated in September 2015 by the Office for National Unity & Reconciliation (ONUR) chaired by Former President Her Excellency Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

After a one-year comprehensive consultation process with multiple stakeholders including Government officials, ministries, departments, members of provincial councils, civil society, academia, and experts and grass-roots activists, the National Reconciliation Policy was submitted by His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena in September 2016 to Cabinet of Ministers for discussion. In his accompanying note to the Cabinet, His Excellency stated that the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) had drafted the National Policy in a "manner that reflects that reconciliation is a whole-of-government effort and a multi-stakeholder endeavour."

At this cabinet Meeting in September 2016, Hon Minister Mano Ganeshan, Minister of National Coexistence, Dialogue & Official Languages, requested a few amendments to the document. Hence, the cabinet directed the Secretary to the President to discuss these concerns with ONUR, who had prepared and drafted the National Policy on Reconciliation, and with Ministers and Secretaries of relevant Ministries and present a final version of the National Policy on Reconciliation. The Ministry of National Coexistence, Dialogue & Official Languages sent in amendments comprising paragraphs regards two matters, namely, language policy and coexistence. The rest of the original document as was prepared and drafted by ONUR was agreed to by the Ministry National Coexistence, Dialogue & Official Languages and other relevant Ministries.

Accordingly, ONUR prepared the final version of the National Policy on Reconciliation and it was this final version of the document prepared by ONUR that was adopted by the Government at the cabinet of Ministers' meeting held on 2 May 2016.

ONUR held further discussions and consultations with stakeholders and the revised final version of the National Reconciliation Policy& Coexistence was resubmitted as a joint cabinet
Memorandum by His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena and Hon Mano Ganeshan, Minister of National Coexistence, Dialogue & Official Languages, to the cabinet of Ministers on 2 May 2017 for adoption.

The National Reconciliation Policy declares that will "serve as the State policy on reconciliation" and "provide direction to the process of national reconciliation in Sri Lanka." Further, it says that it will "provide a guiding framework to all stakeholders working on reconciliation in order to achieve coherence in reconciliation initiatives."

The National Policy on Reconciliation is set to fill a long-standing vacuum due to the absence of a consolidated National Policy on Reconciliation. The National Policy on Reconciliation will aim to satisfy the need of the country for an over-arching vision on reconciliation and a broad, coherent framework to steer and direct the process of national reconciliation. In this regard, it declares that, "Acknowledging that while several reconciliation initiatives are underway, there does not exist an expressed declared policy by the Government of Sri Lanka on the subject; hence this National Policy on Reconciliation aims to bridge this gap."

This National Reconciliation Policy has laid down a set of "Policy Principles" which it defines as "A set of actionable principles and long-term goals that will form the basis for making rules and guidelines, and to provide overall direction to planning and development for national reconciliation. These include Equality, Human Rights, Justice and the Rule of Law, Transitional Justice, Inclusivity and Diversity, Sustainable Development, Civic Consciousness and others. The National Reconciliation Policy also lays down guidelines for stakeholders and actors implementing reconciliation programs and has identified the following as critical to it, namely, Conflict Sensitivity, Cross-Cultural Awareness, Victim-Centeredness, Gender Responsiveness, Foresight and Innovation, Leadership and Sustainability, Efficiency and Effectiveness, Coordination and Complementarity and Clear and Consistent Communication.

The National Reconciliation Policy includes an Implementation Strategy which has stated as follows: "Mainstream the values defined in the National Policy on Reconciliation within government institutions and existing national initiatives through annual work plans; Develop a National Programme and Action Plan for Reconciliation; and Launch public awareness and education campaigns on the National Policy on Reconciliation and the National Programme and Action Plan on Reconciliation."

For further information and interaction regards the National Reconciliation Policy, you may contact Ms Salma Yusuf, Deputy Director, Office for National Unity & Reconciliation at dd.ppm(at)onur.gov.lk and salmayusuf(at)gmail.com.

The full text of the National Reconciliation Policy can be found here in EnglishSinhala and Tamil Language.

Minister of Parliamentary Reforms & Mass Media Chief Government Whip Hon. Gayantha Karunatilaka on working visit to Austria

From December 19 to December 24, 2016, a high ranking Sri Lankan delegation, led by Honorable Gayantha Karunatilaka and composed by Mr. Naufel Abdul Rahman, Secretary to the Leader of the House of Parliaments, Mr. C. Kuruppu, Secretary to the Chief Government Whip of Parliament, Mr. Anil Samarasekera, Sergeant-at-Arms of Parliament, Mr. Daya Aviruppola, Private Secretary to the Hon. Minister and Ms. Anoma Heiyantuduwa, Coordinating Secretary to the Secretary, Leader of the House visited Austria.

They had successful meetings with Mr. Dr. Wilfried Haslauer, Governor of Salzburg, Mr. Dr. Hans Rathgeb, President of the State Court of Salzburg, the Chamber of Commerce of Salzburg, the Austrian Ombudsman Board represented by Mrs. Dr. Gertrude Brinek and the International Ombudsman Institute.

For the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Austria, Ambassador and Permanent Representative Priyanee Wijesekara and Second Secretary Namal Wijayamuni Zoysa attended to the meetings.

The Embassy and the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
Vienna, Austria
11.01.2017

 

National Integration and Reconciliation Week

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Vienna marks the National Integration and Reconciliation Week

On Wednesday 11th of January 2017, under the patronage of Her Excellency Mrs. Priyanee Wijesekara, Ambassador and the Permanent Representative, the Home Based Staff of the Mission in Vienna observed the National Integration and Reconciliation Week declared by H.E. the President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation, from 8 to 14 January 2017.

Ambassador Wijesekera hoisted the National Flag in the presence of the staff and the National Anthem was recited by the staff in Sinhala and Tamil. Thereafter, the staff read the oath of Reconciliation in SinhalaTamil and English by pledging to act and work towards the objectives set-out in the oath.

H.E. Mrs. Priyanee Wijesekera, the Ambassador and the Permanent Representative delivered her remarks on the importance of national integration and reconciliation to unity, harmony in the country, in order to respect the country’s rich diversity of ethnicity, religion and language.


The Embassy and the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
Vienna, Austria
11.01.2017

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