The government is to abolish the Missing Persons Commission and replace it with a new commission or system to continue its procedures, The Sunday Leader newspaper reported today.
Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa said ‘the international community have no confidence in the Missing Persons’ Commission so it will be abolished.
“Even locally, most of the people are not happy with the Commission and they have no faith in the process. However, we will not abandon the procedure. We will go ahead with the procedure with a commission which will be more effective,” he added.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein had recently said that the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints regarding Missing Persons that was appointed by the previous Government has continued its work, despite widespread concerns raised about its credibility and effectiveness.
“We believe this Commission should be disbanded and its pending cases transferred to a credible and independent institution established in consultation with families of the disappeared,” he told the UN Human Rights Council.
However the Chairman of the Commission Justice Maxwell Paranagama contended that nobody else can do the job better.
“We have been very transparent in our functioning. There were no armed forces or police personnel in the room where people testified. We held several sittings in the Tamil-speaking North and East and Colombo and examined 19,000 people including 16,000 from the North and East. The response to our call for testimonies was so good that if we sent out notices to 300 for a session, 1000 would turn up, and no one was turned away. Transport was arranged for people to go back to their villages if the sittings went late into the evening,” Paranagama told the New Indian Express.
Meanwhile Minister Rajapaksha said the Government is also considering the UN proposal to abolish the Prevention of the Terrorism Act (PTA). He added that the UN Human Rights Council proposed that the Government repeal the PTA and have an appropriate Act in its place.
“They wanted us to repeal the PTA and introduce a more suitable one in its place based on international standards. We are considering that too,” he added.