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Sri Lanka's domestic commission to hold new sittings in Trinco

Sri Lanka's Missing Persons Commission, set up by the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in response to international calls to investigate the allegations of mass atrocities at the end of the armed conflict is start a new round of sittings in Trincomalee at the end of the month, the president's media unit said on Thursday.

The commission is to begin its hearings on February 28, and will continue until March 3.

"The Commission says it has held regular meetings with the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and has obtained their views and experiences gained in other parts of the world particularly on matters relating to missing persons at the end of a conflict," the state news website said.

The commission, which has been marred by claims of military intimidation of witnesses, has been criticised by the Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Tamil National Alliance, who labelled it “deceptive”. Highlighting Sri Lanka's historic failure of domestic inquiries, the Bishop of Mannar refused to testify before it.

Despite the intimidation, over 18,000 submissions were made in just three hearings across the North-East.

The United National Party, in opposition at the time the commission was announced, slammed the domestic inquiry – suggesting it was a betrayal of Sri Lankan soldiers.

Earlier this month, the new UNP led government granted the commission a further six months to continue its work.

See our earlier posts:

Our children were killed by the Army - Tamil mothers testify (15 Dec 2014)

Presidential Commission chair dismisses CPA criticism (05 Oct 2014)

Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Disappearances lacks credibility - CPA (02 Oct 2014)

'Deceptive' Presidential Commission on Missing Persons an attempt to mislead people – TNA (17 Aug 2014)

Chair of govt commission accuses NGOs of inflating disappearance numbers (12 Aug 2014)

Bishop of Mannar refuses to participate in Sri Lanka's domestic inquiry on missing persons (10 Aug 2014)

Cross-party concern over 'betrayal' of Sri Lankan soldiers in Presidential Inquiry (28 Jul 2014)

TNA remains sceptical over government commission (27 Jul 2014)

CPA criticises expansion of presidential commission mandate (25 Jul 2014)

UNP expresses ‘serious concern’ over government u-turn on presidential commission
(22 Jul 2014)

Over 18,000 cases submitted for disappearances commission (06 Jun 2014)

Desperate search for disappeared continues (16 Feb 2014)

‘Government commission is a fake’ NPC Deputy Chairman tells Japan (12 Feb 2014)

Disappearance investigation commission a farce - Ananthy Sasitharan (02 Jan 2014)

TNA rejects presidential commission to probe disappearances (29 Jul 2013)

Rajapaksa appoints disappearance commission (14 Aug 2013)

Another commission... (26 Jul 2013)

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