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President meets family members of missing persons

(UDHAYAM, JAFFNA) – President Maithripala Sirisena held a discussion with the parents of the missing persons at the Northern Governor’s Office in Jaffna on Monday (12).

A group of parents of missing persons representing all the eight districts of the North and Eastern Provinces handed over a letter to the President regarding their missing children.

President Sirisena listened to the grievances presented by some of the family members of alleged disappeared persons and promised that he would issue directives to the relevant authorities to make speedy inquiries into the issue. If any persons are under detention without charges, they would be released. But he clarified that there are no detention camps in the country. He also promised that he would instruct the National Security Council to release lists of persons who surrendered to the Armed forces in the final phase of the war.

When some persons alleged that their relatives were detained in some camps, the President immediately said that if they could identify any place, he would send police together with them to go into such camps and search.

The letter submitted by the relatives stated five key demands requesting the release of lists of all who surrendered to the armed forces, during and after the war, particularly during the last phase, a list of all secret detention centres, their status and list of detainees, and a list of all political prisoners held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

In August 2016, the Government passed a Bill in Parliament to establish a permanent Office of Missing Persons (OMP) and the President has said that the parliament would debate on the OMP on June 22.

Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, D. M. Swaminathan, Minister of Health, Rajitha Senaratne, Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C. V. Vigneswaran, Provincial Minister of Health Saithyalingam, Governor Reginald Cooray, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara, and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General-Secretary, Duminda Dissanayake were present at the meeting with the families.

Earlier, speaking at a meeting to discuss development programmes in the North, the President said, “The State funds which are allocated for development projects in Northern and Eastern Provinces should be used effectively. Political leaders who represent these two provinces and the authorities should take the full responsibility of that.”

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