Suspend officials accused in abductions and disappearances

The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) released its interim report on 06 September 2018 and called on the Government to “expedite and give highest priority to prosecutions and other ongoing cases involving enforced disappearances.”

It recommended that the government suspend state officials including members of the armed forces and police who were named as suspects or accused in criminal actions relating to abductions and enforced disappearances, pending the final determination of such cases and to also ensure that suspected officials are not transferred, promoted or offered any other office in the armed forces, police or the public service while cases against them are pending.

The OMP requested the government to recognize the continuing nature of enforced disappearances, and recommended the government to immediately formulate policies to provide interim relief to the family members of the missing persons.

These interim relief included financial aid programmes, debt relief programmes, housing development programmes, educational support programmes and also an employment quota of 1% within the state sector for the family members of the victims.

The report of the OMP went on to state that the proposed Office for Reparations will play a pivotal role in providing redress to victims of the missing and the disappeared as well as others affected by the conflict.

A National Day for the Disappeared, preserving mass grave sites as memorial spaces and restoring ‘Ahinsakaramaya’ – Memorial for the Innocents – in Battaramulla in a manner that reflects the views of the public as well as the families of the missing and the disappeared were also recommended.

The report acknowledged that there are “multiple forms of harassment experienced by families of the missing and the disappeared”, and that there was “deep scepticism and distrust of the OMP” amongst families of the disappeared.

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