The National Peace Council commends the government for seeking to establish credible and effective new institutions as part of its commitment to the process of transitional justice as promised both to the people of Sri Lanka and to the international community. The Office of Missing Persons is one of the four transitional justice mechanisms promised by the government at the September 2015 session of the UN Human Rights Council. With the next session of the UNHRC scheduled for June this year, the government may be seeking to have the legislation regarding this mechanism in place prior to the meeting in Geneva. The government is expected to give a progress report on the implementation of the UNHRC resolution it co-sponsored in October 2015.
However, concerns have been expressed by human rights organizations and victims groups that they have not been given adequate opportunity to provide their feedback on the proposed Office of Missing Persons. The National Peace Council believes it is of utmost importance to inspire public confidence in the credibility of the government’s proposed transitional justice mechanisms, including the Truth Commission, judicial accountability mechanism and Office of Reparations which are included in the government’s list of promised new mechanisms. We request the government to publicise the draft legislation and give an adequate opportunity for public feedback on the proposed legislation prior to passage into law in Parliament.
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organization that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.