When asked whether he thought the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) had done anything constructive for victim families or if it would do so, a former OMP official at an event organised by NPC was not optimistic. The official was attending one of the six review meetings held in Mannar, Batticaloa and Jaffna under the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CLFI)/OMP project at a regional level to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of OMP services received by the families of victims. The willingness of the new OMP leadership to collaborate with CSOs in improving their service is a positive indication of a new start.

With the focus on identifying the needs and expectations of victim families, the gaps in the process and procedures followed by the OMP in serving them, families showed the same dissatisfaction and frustration across Sri Lanka.

The majority of participants from the North and East had little or no faith in the government’s reconciliation process due to their past experiences with similar commissions established that ended in giving unkept promises. They did not expect a productive outcome with the OMP either and were skeptical about whether the government had a genuine interest to find the answers they expected.

Even written complaints submitted to the OMP with concrete evidence sufficient to carry out an investigation were not acted upon, they said. When the OMP was established, they were told that it
had a lot of power and would investigate incidents to see that justice was done. Some of the families had visited the OMP office in Colombo and handed over details with documentation to officials who accepted them with the assurance that they would follow up but nothing had happened so there was no trust, no expectations and no confidence.

In the North and East, victim families have been demanding truth and justice for a long time. Due to government’s inaction and insincere intentions for uncovering truth, there had been no one brought to justice, therefore the families were losing hope. Most of them continued to prioritise truth and justice seeking over reparations while participants in the South said their focus was on reparations. Participants requested that the renewal of the Certificate of Absence should be done without providing additional information.

About us

The National Peace Council (NPC) was established as an independent and impartial national non-government organization