The head of Sri Lanka's Missing Person Commission, Justice Maxwell Paranagama, rejected UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussain's call to disband the commission established by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, and establish a new, more credible mechanism to deal with the issue.
“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,” Mr Paranagama told The New Indian Express 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 said.
“What more can we do? Nobody else can do better than us. People should realize the enormity of the task. It takes time to show results,” he further said.
Mr Paranagama last month dismissed the UN's estimate of 40,000 Tamil civilian deaths as an "over-estimation".
JVP says previous government commissions were 'waste of public money' (22 September 2015)
Chair of Sri Lanka's missing persons commission rejects 40,000 death toll
( 21 September 2015)