Office to be set up after procedural stages

The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday commended the Government of Sri Lanka for establishing the Office of Missing Persons (OMP), mentioning it as a significant milestone for all Sri Lankans still searching for the truth about their missing loved ones.

“The United Nations stands ready to support this process and the Secretary-General looks forward to the OMP becoming operational as soon as possible, starting with the appointment of the independent commissioners,” a statement by the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General said. The statement comes following the UN’s critical views on the progress of Sri Lanka with regard to addressing key concerns of the UN that the country had agreed to address. UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter Terrorism, Ben Emmerson during his visit earlier this month said Sri Lanka had made minimal progress in addressing issues raised by the UN in terms of accountability and reconciliation. Meanwhile, government sources said the Office of Missing Persons would be established following certain procedures

Accordingly, the President had assigned the subject to a ministry through the gazette notification.

The notification will be followed by a declaration that the law has come into force. Further, the Constitutional Council will then begin the process of calling for nominations, for the seven commissioners of the OMP.

The Council would then recommend its nominations after which the President would appoint the seven members and the Chairperson of the OMP. According to the OMP Act, the President will have to make the appointments within 14 days of receiving the recommendations, failing which the officers recommended by the Council would be deemed to have been appointed members of the OMP.

The name of the person appearing first in the list of names recommended to be appointed as Chairperson shall be deemed to have been appointed to that position if the President does not make the appointment within the said 14 days.