The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) has cautioned the Government against amending the OMP Act without consultation with all stakeholders.
This was in response to media reports that the Government intends to review the OMP Act No 14 of 2016 enacted by Parliament during the Yahapalana administration.
“In 2018 the OMP was established as a permanent and independent State institution, akin to other independent commissions. The OMP’s mandate is not limited to any particular period, region or community. As per the section 27 of the Act, its mandate extends to persons who went missing in relation to the conflict which took place in the North and East, due to political unrest or civil disturbances, as enforced disappearances or as a member of the armed forces or the police reported missing in action,” the OMP said in a statement issued yesterday.
The OMP has officially communicated its position in this regard to the President, Prime Minister and Justice and Human Rights Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva last week, the statement noted.
In its communications with the above, the OMP said it acknowledged that proposing amendments to the Act is a prerogative of the Government, although any changes will need to be enacted by Parliament.
“However, the OMP expressed the view that any amendments to the Act should be proposed pursuant to wide consultations with the families of the missing and disappeared, organisations that work with them and OMP and that doing so it is necessary to keep in mind the needs of the families and their right to know the fate of their missing or disappeared loved ones,” the statement added.