Colombo, Feb 13: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has decided to work with the Sri Lankan government in assisting the families of those reported missing during the nearly three-decade long separatist conflict in the country, foreign ministry said today.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a meeting with the the ICRC delegation here and discussed the pressing issue of nearly 20,000 complaints of missing individual cases the government has received since 2013.
The ministry outlined the various steps taken by the government so far to deal with issues relating to the missing, including the plan to issue Certificates of Absence which will allow the relatives to proceed with legal procedures.
The government had also allowed the visit of the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) and signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, the statement said.
Speaking in the parliament on the issuance of Certificates of Absence, Home Minister Vajira Abeywardena said that the certificate would not hamper the investigations on the missing. "The probes will continue," he said, "even after the issuance of the certificates".
Meanwhile, the presidential commission to investigate disappearances of individuals said that they had received nearly 20,000 complaints of missing individual cases since 2013. The complaints relate to those missing from the government troops as well as the Tamil minority.
The UN Human Rights Council resolution of last October co- sponsored by Sri Lanka welcomed the country's offer to set up a commission for the missing people.