No One Can Do Better, Says Missing Persons’ Panel Chief

Missing 2Responding to the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Prince Zeid’s call to disband the Sri Lankan Missing Persons’ Commission and assign its work to a more credible body, the chairman of the panel, Justice Maxwell Paranagama, contended that nobody else can do the job better.

“We have been very transparent in our functioning. There were no armed forces or police personnel in the room where people testified. We held several sittings in the Tamil-speaking North and East and Colombo and examined 19,000 people including 16,000 from the North and East. The response to our call for testimonies was so good that if we sent out notices to 300 for a session, 1000 would turn up, and no one was turned away. Transport was arranged for people to go back to their villages if the sittings went late into the evening,” Paranagama told Express here on Thursday.

“We also sent investigating teams to the complainants’ houses as a follow up measure and wrote to them about progress made in their cases. We inquired into the rehabilitation aspect and took action wherever the authorities were tardy in their response,” he added. Paranagama said that a SIT is to be formed under a retired HC judge to go into some cases. “What more can we do?,” he asked in anguish. “Nobody else can do better than us. People should realise the enormity of the task. It takes time to show results,” he said. “We are waiting for President Sirisena to return from New York to officially present it to him,” he said. (New Indian Express)

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