Sri Lanka urged to make enforced disappearances a crime

Missing-personsSri Lankans are still waiting for the legislation that would make enforced disappearances a crime under Sri Lankan law, Amnesty International said in a statement today.

When Sri Lanka co-sponsored UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 in October 2015, among the commitments made were initiatives to account for enforced disappearances.

In May, the Sri Lankan Government acknowledged receiving at least 65,000 complaints of enforced disappearances since 1995.

“There is however still much more to be done to ensure that victims and their families can reliably expect truth, justice and reparation for the grave crimes under international law that they and their loved ones have experienced,” Amnesty International said.

In this regard, Amnesty International said welcomed Sri Lanka’s ratification in May of the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

“Families hoped that the Office on Missing Persons would finally, after years of waiting, deliver the truth about the fate of their missing loved ones, but expressed frustration that they were not adequately consulted before its creation. This is a lesson for other promised truth and justice mechanisms. Sri Lanka has acknowledged that the Prevention of Terrorism Act (which contributed to enforced disappearances) does not meet international standards. It issued directives designed to protect detainees but people continue to be detained under the Act. Lawmakers should repeal the Act and stop its use immediately,” Amnesty International said.

Amnesty International also said that Sri Lanka must step up its reform efforts in genuine consultation with victims and with all Sri Lankans. (Colombo Gazette)