OMP to submit interim report to President, PM | Page 2 | Daily News


OMP to submit interim report to President, PM

After a series of consultations and numerous meetings with family members of those who have disappeared, Chairman of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) President’s Counsel Saliya Peiris said that the Commission is ready to submit its interim report to both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe next week detailing their findings and recommendations. Speaking to the media, Peiris said that the interim report includes recommendations particularly relating to the welfare of families who’ve lost loved ones in order for them to gain some form of closure.

“Sri Lanka has a high rate of disappearances in the world and the purpose of the OMP is to ensure that this issue is brought to the notice of all and that we acknowledge the sufferings of these families. We owe it to them, a means for them to find closure,” he said. So far the OMP has met over 2000 families and have agreed to work closely with regional civil society organizations which he said had already done a considerable amount of work.

“One needs to bear in mind that there have been many commissions before the OMP and one of the crucial tasks of this commission is to compile a list of those who are missing,” he said.

He added that the the civil society groups have received nearly 16 000 applications, the ICRC 5100 who have gone missing in action during the war, the Parnagama Commission has a list of over 20 000 while another entity set up through the National reconciliation ministry has 13 000. “We need to collate and compile the list,” he said refusing to give a figure adding that there could be many overlappings.

“There have been instances where some of these families had not approached any of those older commissions and in some instances they hadn’t even lodged a police entry,” said Fahim Mirak, a member of the OMP adding at the task ahead for this entity would not only be a collection but collation of these findings.

Referring to the Mannar Mass grave which was unearthed at a site belonging to the Sathosa building, Peiris added that the OMP will ensure that the work of these archeologists continues unhindered and would financially support in ensuring that these excavations are completed and that they are sent overseas for identifications.

“It is part of the mandate of the OMP to help with such a process. When we realized that the work at the Mannar Mass grave would stall due to a lack of funds, the OMP channeled its funds to ensure that it does not stop,” he said. “We will continue to support the researchers who need to submit samples overseas to ascertain the period of this mass grave as well as the identification, which cannot be done here.”

The OMP is also commemorating the International Day for the victims of the enforced disappearance with an event on the 30th at the J.R.Jayawardena centre. “The theme for this event is ‘no more disappearances’ and Dr. Deepika Udagama, Chairperson of the HRCSL will deliver the keynote address. There will also be representatives from family members of those who’ve disappeared who will share their stories.”


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