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Sri Lanka calls for remedial action to help kin of people who disappeared in civil war

Colombo: Sri Lanka prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for a "remedial action" to help the kin of the people who disappeared during the two-and-a-half-decade-long civil war.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Wickremesinghe also announced that the Office of Missing Persons will lead the Truth Commission to probe the matter.

The prime minister said the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) would not institute any legal action in persecution but would deliver justice to the relatives of the missing people.

"We must have a closure to this issue. A closure is multi-faceted.

The closure requires we address many issues, and take remedial action for a finish," he told the parliament.

A government-appointed panel probing the missing people in 2013 said that around 19,000 people have disappeared during the conflict, including some 5,000 government troops.

The OMP is not a law enforcement or judicial agency but a truth-seeking investigative agency, Wickremesinghe added.

He moved to repeal paragraph one of Section 11 in the original bill approved by the Parliament last year.

The amendment seeks to repeal the general powers of the OMP to enter into such agreements, where necessary, with any person or organisation whether incorporated or otherwise, and whether domestic or foreign, including agreements securing assistance in obtaining information.

The OMP is expected to benefit the relatives of the missing people who will be issued a 'Certificate of Absence' that will enable them to address practical problems as the status of missing persons is not recognised.

Without this legal recognition, the next of the kin also faces issues in accessing frozen assets and property deeds or being eligible for compensation and social welfare benefits, the government said last year.

Updated Date: Jun 21, 2017 19:27 PM

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