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Cabinet has approved a proposal to issue a ‘Certificate of Absentee’ for persons reported missing in the event the relatives of such persons refuse to accept them as being dead.

By the regulations of Act No. 17 of 1951 covering the registration of Births and Deaths, the Registrar General’s Department has been empowered with the task of registering deaths.

However this does not cover the registration of deaths relating to non-natural causes such as terrorism activities, people’s commotions, natural disasters and deaths that have been caused by non-natural causes and in the event of inability to find the dead bodies.

Since regulations related to registration of deaths under such conditions do not cover in the said Act, the Act No. 19 of 2010 relating to registration of deaths (temporary regulations) was introduced as a solution for this impediment.

Nonetheless, if a missing person is not acceptable to his relatives as a person who has died, in such occasions under the clauses of this Act it is not possible to register such a person as a person who has died.  It has been observed that in such an event the relatives of such a person could not obtain the rights and dues entitled for them.

Accordingly in compliance with revising the Act No. 19 of 2010 relating to registration of deaths (temporary regulations) to facilitate this procedure of the internationally recognized mechanisms, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal made by Minister of Home Affairs Vajira Abeywardene to register  such a missing person as a person who cannot be found and issue a “Certificate of Absentee” and to revise Act No. 19 of 2010 relating to registration of deaths (temporary regulations).