TNA says it was consulted on missing persons office Bill

TNAThe Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says it was consulted by the Government on the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) Bill which was presented to Parliament recently.

In a statement today the TNA said it is pleased that several of the extensive revisions they urged have been included in the gazetted text.

“We commend the Government for its constructive engagement on the Bill. We look forward to further amendments being moved at the committee stage, and to the early passage of the law through Parliament. A law on the lines contemplated by the Bill, if implemented sincerely, could bring relief to families of the forcibly disappeared who are in desperate need of answers,” the TNA said.

The TNA says the OMP must represent a dramatic break from the experience of failed Commissions, including the current Paranagama Commission which it says lacks credibility.

“We reiterate that justice for crimes committed in the past by both sides is a necessary precondition to meaningful reconciliation. In this regard, we reiterate the importance of the full implementation of operative paragraphs 6 and 7 so us to ensure trust and credibility. We are particularly encouraged by the number of countries that continue to urge Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments. Resolution 30/1 represents the solemn commitment of Sri Lanka to its own citizens, and to the Tamil people who we represent, and must be implemented,” the TNA added.

The TNA also welcomed the oral update of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council at its 32nd Session on the implementation of Resolution 30/1.

The TNA says the oral update, in its view, captures accurately the opportunities and challenges for reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka.

The TNA however said it was concerned about the very slow pace of implementation with respect to a number of human rights issues in Sri Lanka, in particular, delays in releasing private lands illegally occupied by the military; the continued use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the Government’s failure to repeal it; the breach of undertakings to release those held under the PTA; and the continuing surveillance and harassment of civilians in the North and East.

The TNA also took note of the High Commissioner’s observations on the importance of crafting a new Constitution that serves all citizens of Sri Lanka and the support that this proposition has received from several countries. (Colombo Gazette)