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When I was asked to write a regular column for an e-journal, I was not sure I had much more to offer than appeared in the regular newspaper columns I was writing. There were two a week on Human Rights for the ‘Daily News’ and one a week on Children for the ‘Island’. I thought therefore of dealing with Reconciliation, but not necessarily in terms of the Divisional Secretariat Reconciliation Committees that meet in the North and East. I cover those meetings in irregular columns in the ‘Daily News’, which is all that is possible since I can go to those areas only once or twice a month, to participate in 4 to 6 meetings on each visit. Instead I will look here at more general issues, including the impact of international interventions, while also considering what it means to be an Adviser on Reconciliation without any facilities to promote suggestions that are made.

I was thinking of this the more deeply during a workshop organized by group of foreign academics, introduced to me primarily because they had no official backing for the workshop, and hence could not apply for visas. Since the Ministry they had contacted had been unwilling to issue an invitation letter, it was clearly not appropriate for me to do this. Still, the initiative seemed a good one, and to be encouraged. Fortunately the group persuaded one of the most effective NGOs we have to invite them, and the meeting therefore went ahead.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

October 2012
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