ONUR was set up with the commitment to achieve national unity and reconciliation was a key feature of January 2015 Presidential campaign. To give effect to this commitment, the Government of Sri Lanka established the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR).
The resolution was moved by Prime Minister; approved by the Cabinet; Established under President; chaired by Former President Kumaratunga.
Road Map to National Unity
A multi-pronged approach to achieving national unity is important in the Sri Lankan context. In this regard, ONUR believes that the process of building National Unity and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka is connected to multiple aspects affecting lives of people, whether they are from North, South, East or West of the country.
ONUR is responsible for formulation and coordinating the implementation of the policies and programmes to build national unity and reconciliation. Our Principle role is to ensure a durable peace through building bridges between all our peoples.
The office conceptualizes and formulates programmes, secures funding & collaborates with other agencies for implementation. The partners are the Central Government, Provincial Councils, Civil Society Organisations, Development Partners and other stakeholders.
Vision: Towards a National Agenda
A strong, stable, progressive, inclusive and peace-loving nation where all Sri Lankans co-exist in harmony and unity, while diversity and national identity is respected and celebrated with a guarantee of equal opportunity in economic, social, cultural and political spheres for every citizen.
Promote and provide for a society that respects fundamental rights, freedom, rule of law, equality and diversity; treat and respect all citizens with dignity and non-discrimination irrespective of ethnicity, religion, language, caste, age, gender, sexual orientation, birthplace, political opinion.
Composition of ONUR:
Chairperson: Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (Her Excellency the Former President of Sri Lanka)
Director General: Mr M S Jayasinghe
Board of Governors:
Prof. Savitri Goonesekere
Mr. Rienzie Arsecularatne P.C
Mr. Kandiah Neelakandan
Mr. Javed Yusuf
Mr. Nimal Gunawardena
Ms. Priyanthi Fernando
Dr. Ram Manikkalingam
The Board of Governors of the ONUR consist of eminent persons who have excelled in their professional lives and representative of multiple religious, ethnic, professional and academic backgrounds.
The staff of ONUR also represent diverse backgrounds and professional experiences.
Impact of ONUR
Within a very short span of time since inception, ONUR has been successful in gaining the trust and confidence of various stakeholders including public officials, civil society representatives, donor community, national & international organisations and Sri Lankans of diverse backgrounds in being a state institution which represents the government’s approach and policy on National Unity and Reconciliation.
Some of the recent development with ONUR intervention in this regard include initiatives in the areas of language, education, political dialogue for reconciliation, setting up of a grievance unit and empowering women, issuance of “Certificates of Absence” for families of missing persons and facilitating comprehensive development planning.
Therefore, ONUR has been able to fill in a vacuum which was existent in this particular area for quite a long time.