Families of those who reportedly went missing during the 26-year-long civil war in Sri Lanka are demanding “more detailed information” from the authorities on their fate and whereabouts, a study has found.
The study, conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) during the October 2014-November 2015 period, involved interviewing 395 families of the missing persons, including those of members of security forces and the police.
16,000 missing persons
The Red Cross has a case-load of over 16,000 missing persons. A presidential commission on missing persons has received approximately 19,000 complaints in respect of disappeared civilians and 5,000 regarding the military and police personnel. In early June, the government stated that since 1994, various official commissions had received over 65,000 complaints of missing persons. It has decided to issue certificates of absence to families of missing persons and set up an Office on Missing Persons (OMP). According to the ICRC study, of the 395 families interviewed, 36 per cent believed their loved ones to be dead. As many as 31 per cent said the missing persons were still alive while the remaining 33 per cent expressed uncertainty.
The study wanted the government to prepare a consolidated a list of missing persons; ensure the development of appropriate technical forensic capacities to identify the remains of missing persons, and involve their families in transitional justice mechanisms.