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UN Secretary-General calls for independent commissioners in OMP

The United Nations Secretary-General has welcomed the establishment of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) in Sri Lanka and called for it to become operational “as soon as possible”.

“The Secretary-General commends the Government of Sri Lanka for establishing the Office of Missing Persons (OMP), a significant milestone for all Sri Lankans still searching for the truth about their missing loved ones,” said a statement by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

“The United Nations stands ready to support this process and the Secretary-General looks forward to the OMP becoming operational as soon as possible, starting with the appointment of independent commissioners,” he added. 

Sri Lanka’s previous foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera had initially pledged the OMP would be operational from the 1st of January 2017.

Families of the disappeared have protested over the lack of consultation with the victim community in producing the bill last year.

Jaffna-based think-tank the Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research also said earlier this year that it is “critical that families of the disappeared and the victims are kept at the centre of this process”. “It will not be enough to set up yet another commission with the same inadequacies of those before it."