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Presidential commission on missing persons wants to extend term

The presidential commission on missing persons has requested President Sirisena to extend its mandate in order to complete inquiries in the east, after it had finished its investigation in the North last week.

The commission was initially due to run until May 15, with the report due to be released in July.

Reports of the commission encouraging relatives to accept their loved ones have died have been ongoing, with evidence that officials offered chickens in exchange for accepting a death certificates.

Earlier this year Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe claimed the tens of thousands of missing across the North-East were “probably dead” without any further clarification on the disappearances, sparking grief and concern amongst many Tamils. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Special Rapporteur Pablo de Greiff expressed concern at his comments, and called for further clarification.

The commission has also been criticised by both the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances, who have called for its abolition.

The chairman of Sri Lanka’s presidential commission Justice Maxwell Paranagama has slammed the UN human rights chief in previous statements and called the reports of over 40,000 Tamil civilians having been killed during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict is a “myth”.

Husband was stripped by Sri Lankan army after his surrender - relatives testify in Kilinochchi (01 May 2016)

Presidential commission into disappearances continues hearings (26 March 2016)

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