Indian Expert to be Included in Disappearance Panel

Disappearances 2An Indian human rights activist will be included in the disappearances commission set up by the Sri Lankan government to probe the cases of missing persons during the three-decade war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE .

Avdash Kaushal is to be named in a Gazette notification to be issued this week by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a Sunday Times report said today. He heads a Non-Governmental Organisation called Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK) working to promote the cause of the Van Gujjars, an indigenous forest-dwelling nomadic tribe of the northern Himalayas. The report however said that government of India was not officially associated with this nomination.

Mr Rajapaksa had last week told reporters that he would further expand the international panel with three more nominations. The disappearances commission was set up by Mr Rajapaksa in August 2013 and mandated to probe all disappearances of individuals between 1990 to May 2009. So far the Commission has received nearly 20,000 complaints.

Simultaneously with the appointment of international advisors the mandate of the Commission was also enlarged to probe alleged war crimes blamed on the government troops. The LTTE was defeated in a military campaign in 2009, ending a nearly three decades-long civil war in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has been subjected to an international probe into alleged human rights violations during the last phase of the war with the LTTE. Mr Rajapaksa administration has been accused of not doing enough to achieve reconciliation with the Tamil minority in its post-conflict phase.(NDTV)

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