Colombo – A UN team on Wednesday urged Sri Lankan authorities to expedite investigations into disappearances of thousands of people during two separate armed conflicts in the country.
The three-member UN team on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances that ended a 10-day fact-finding mission also urged the Sri Lankan Government to offer compensation to affected families.
It told the government to immediately adopt a comprehensive policy to search for all those who disappeared.
Leader of the group, Bernard Duhaime, called for an impartial investigation with a view to identifying those responsible for the disappearances and impose penalties on them.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
“Enforced disappearances have been used in a massive and systematic way in Sri Lanka for many decades to suppress political dissent, counter-terrorist activities or in the context of armed internal conflict,” Duhaime said.
The team said that it had no estimates of the number, which had been reported missing during the past four decades, but that over the years, they had sent 12,000 cases to the government of which 5,750 were still outstanding.
Sri Lanka had promised to carry out a full investigation on the alleged war crimes committed during the final stages of the fighting between Tamil rebels and government troops in 2009.
The government has, however, yet to set up a proper mechanism for the probe.
An estimated 40,000 civilians were killed during the final months of the battles with the rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which ended in May, 2009. (dpa/NAN)