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OMP to meet affected families from May 12: Peiris

The Office of Missing Persons (OMP) will begin speaking to the families of disappeared people from all parts of the country from May, OMP Chairman Saliya Peiris, PC, said.

Pieris told the Daily News on Monday that the Commissioners would meet with families in Matara, Kandy, Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu, Trincomalee, and Jaffna from May to July. Their first meeting will be held in Mannar on May 12.

“The OMP will from May onwards visit different places to speak to families of the missing and disappeared to share our plans and obtain their views on how we should proceed,” he said.

The families of disappeared people have been protesting on the roadside for answers about their lost loved ones in many of these districts for over a year. They are demanding that the government release a list of all people who surrendered at the end of the war, as well as the location of any secret detention camps.

In the South, families have gone decades without answers about people kidnapped by the Security Forces during the two JVP insurrections in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Pieris said that his office will consult the families as they begin creating a mechanism to receive and investigate complaints.

He said although the OMP is a fact-finding body, it does not have powers of prosecution, and that the information it discovers cannot be used in a court of law.

The OMP can refer certain cases to law enforcement authorities at its discretion.

The eight-member OMP officially began operating in February out of a temporary office in Nawala, after its Commissioners were appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena.

The OMP Chairman said they plan to create multiple regional offices to field investigations.