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OMP requests PM to include families of Sri Lanka’s missing persons in COVID-19 relief measures

A Sri Lankan police Special Task Force personnel wearing a facemask stands guard at a checkpoint during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Colombo on April 7, 2020.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Office on Missing Persons (OMP) has recommended that families of the missing and disappeared are included in any proposed relief measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Writing to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in a letter dated April 7, OMP chairperson and president’s counsel Saliya Pieris said that such relief measures should include the provision of food and financial assistance.

The OMP recommended that, as a short-term measure, dry rations be provided to families of the missing and disappeared through Grama Niladharis.

“Grama Niladharis have already collected information regarding missing and disappeared in their local area, and such lists could be used to avoid duplication in instances where such families are also beneficiaries under other state assistance schemes for vulnerable persons,” said Pieris.

The OMP observed that in many cases, the most vulnerable among families of the missing and disappeared are elderly and are female headed households and survive on the daily wages of one family member.

The prevailing situation in the country has had dire consequences on these families, as they are no longer able to earn their wages and they have limited or no assets, Pieris said. (Colombo/April10/2020)

Click here for the full statement.

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