Colombo, July 21 (newsin.asia) – The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, on Friday, commended the Sri Lankan government for establishing the Office of Missing Persons (OMP), stating it was a significant milestone for all Sri Lankans still searching for the truth about their missing loved ones.
In a statement released by the UN Office in Colombo, it said, “The United Nations stands ready to support this process and the Secretary-General looks forward to the OMP becoming operational as soon as possible, starting with the appointment of the independent commissioners.”
Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena, on Thursday issued a gazette notification setting up the long-awaited office of missing persons which will probe into the disappearance of thousands of people during and after Sri Lanka’s civil conflict between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.
“I signed the office of missing persons gazette today,” President Sirisena said on twitter.
“This marks another step forward in Sri Lanka’s path to sustained peace.”
Sri Lanka had been under pressure to set up the OMP as part of its commitments to the international community and the UN to ensure ethnic reconciliation and reparations for victims of the country’s decades-long ethnic war.
The OMP will be given wide powers to investigate the disappearance of more than 20,000 people, mostly minority Tamils who were the worst affected by the conflict.
Former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said last year that a vast number of cases remain unsolved despite the end of the decades-long Tamil separatist war in May 2009.