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Sri Lanka will issue death certificates for war missing

Sri Lanka will issue death certificates for those reported missing in the country’s civil war, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

The President told United Nations Resident Coordinator Hanna Singer over the weekend that persons reported missing in the Sri Lankan government’s protracted war with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) are dead.

This is the first time a Sri Lankan head of state acknowledged the hitherto unaccounted for deaths, the actual figures of which have been hotly contested by successive Sri Lankan governments since the end of the war in 2009.

“Most of them had been taken by the LTTE or forcefully conscripted. The families of the missing attest to it. However, they do not know what has become of them and so claim them to be missing,” the President’s Media Division (PMD) said in a news report about the President’s meeting with Singer on January 18.

“Afterwards, their families would be given the support they need to continue with their lives. Tamil politicians would reject this solution, noted the President, as that would nullify their political agenda,” the PMD report said.

The President has expressed hope that the move would “help the affected families”.

This development is observed against a backdrop of hundreds of such families in the country’s former warzones taking to the streets and engaging in many a silent vigil demanding answers.

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