Sri Lanka will operationalise a dedicated office from September 15 to trace around 20,000 people who disappeared during various conflicts in the country, including the three-decade-long brutal civil war with the LTTE. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday signed the gazette notification for the operationalisation of the Office of the Missing Persons (OMP), which will start functioning from Friday. Relatives or the family of the missing person could lodge a complaint with this office, officials said. Around 20,000 people have been missing due to various conflicts including the 30-year-long separatist war with Lankan Tamils in the north and east which claimed the lives of at least 100,000 people. The OMP Act, signed by the President in July this year, states "the findings of the OMP shall not give rise to any criminal or civil liability". It is not a law enforcement or judicial agency but a truth-seeking investigative agency, a government statement said. "Happy for all victims.
Now, to make it work," Mano Tittawella, government's top reconciliation official said. Sri Lankan government has been facing a global pressure to set up the much delayed Office of the Missing Persons. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which led the separatist war for a separate Tamil homeland, was crushed by the Lankan military in 2009.
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