The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka says the legal framework of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) would have had greater legitimacy if it was enacted after the on-going public consultations process so that the insights and concerns of the affected families could have been incorporated.
Dr. Deepika Udagama, the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka noted the importance of ensuring future mechanisms incorporate and reflect the concerns and insights of victims and affected persons, and she urged the Government to undertake a transparent and inclusive process to establish these mechanisms.
“While the text of the Act is not yet available with the amendments, the Commission takes this opportunity to reiterate a number of important elements that have to be given serious consideration if the OMP is to be victim-centred and function effectively to provide redress to families of the disappeared,” the Commission said.
The Human Rights Commission says there is an urgent need for a public awareness campaign to dispel rumours and counter misleading and inaccurate information being placed in the public domain regarding the OMP.
Hence, the Commission says a concerted effort is required to create understanding and a sense of ownership amongst the public in this regard.
The Human Rights Commission also says the OMP should establish an internal mechanism to address grievances of complainants regarding shortcomings in the functioning of the Office, which will enable the Office to strengthen its methods, functions and service to the public.
It says attention should also be paid to archiving and establishing databases to document and preserve the work and records of previous commissions of inquiry as well as from diverse reliable sources after verification of facts to consolidate data on the disappeared and construct a single database. (Colombo Gazette)