ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers has approved a proposal to issue death or missing person certificates to disappeared persons and pay a 100,000-rupee one-time-only allowance to their next of kin and also provide land where necessary, co-cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said.
According to the proposal made by Justice Minister Ali Sabry, the Registrar General is advised to issue a certificate of death or certificate of absence to a missing person after investigations into their disappearance is completed. The 100,000-rupee lifetime allowance, also to be issued by the Registrar General, will be for the “rehabilitation of family depending on the particulars revealed by the Office of Missing Persons”, a statement from the government information department said.
Speaking to reporters at the weekly cabinet press briefing on Tuesday (15), Alahapperuma said Sri Lanka is duty-bound to do justice by some 14,000 of its own citizens that have disappeared since 1988.
“Since 1988, over 14,400 citizens of this country have disappeared without even a death certificate issued for them. At a previous cabinet meeting, it was decided to expedite investigations into these disappearances. The cabinet decided to appoint 25 boards for this purpose with the view that the country is obligated to do justice by these people.
“The president also advised that land also be provided to them if they have an issue pertaining to land,” he said.
The cabinet decision came in the wake of mounting international pressure to address concerns raised over missing persons, particularly in the last phase of the war with the separatist Tamil Tigers.
Former Sri Lanka Human Rights Commissioner Ambika Satkunanathan on Tuesday criticised the move in a tweet, calling the 100,000-rupee allowance insulting to the families of the disappeared.
Families of disappeared want truth & justice. They have clearly stated they don’t want death certs & compensation in lieu of truth & justice.
To Rajapaksa govt, Rs 100,000 is the price of a life.
This is insulting, callous & cruel = core values that are part of govt’s ethos. https://t.co/EznA2kcUaf
— Ambika Satkunanathan (@ambikasat) March 15, 2022