Government to count the war dead

The government is to conduct an island-wide census next month on the deaths and injuries to persons as well as property damaged during the period of the conflict as recommended by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the government information department said today.

The census is to be conducted jointly by the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs and the Department of Census and Statistics and will cover the conflict period from 1983 up to the end of war in May in 2009.

The UN and human rights groups had estimated that some 40,000 civilians had died during the final stages of the war which led to the defeat of the rebels in May 2009. The government however denied the claims.

The LLRC, in its final report had recommended the conduct of a professionally designed house hold survey covering all affected families in all parts of the island to ascertain first hand the scale and the circumstances of death and injuries to civilians as well as damage to property during the period of the conflict.

According to the Director General of Dept of Census and Statistics, a steering committee has been appointed under the Secretary to Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs to conduct this census and the Committee has devised a centralized system of data collection at the national level integrating all information with regard to missing persons.

“This scientifically designed census will help arrive at an exact decision on the persons missing and died during the period of conflict in the country” the information department said. (Colombo Gazette)