Sri Lanka: Office on Missing Persons and the Zero Policy on Justice

Asia Human Rights
June 4, 2021
Reproduced with Permission
Asian Human Rights Commission

One of the issues that demonstrated the approach of the Sri Lankan authorities to the problem of enforced disappearances could be discovered in a close study of the narrative of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP). In essence, what it shows is the international diplomacy of deception that Sri Lankan authorities have cleverly developed and practiced over a long period of time in dealing with the United Nations (UN) Human Rights High Commissioner's Office and other UN agencies relating to human rights.

The diplomacy of the deception became quite blatantly manifest with the appointment of the new Commissioners to this Office very recently. Some of the names included will naturally create cynical laughter among anyone who know something about these individuals who have been appointed and their own involvements in the events relating to enforced disappearances and also in the diplomacy of deception, particularly in relation to matters relating to justice.

It is simply impossible for anyone to grasp the whole exercise relating to enforced disappearances in all parts of the country: South, North and East without touching on some of the most difficult problems relating to the administration of justice that has evolved over several decades in Sri Lanka.

The issue that the international community has found it difficult to deal with is the fact that enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka developed as a State policy. The greatest manifestation of this State policy is that the largest amount of cases of persons who had disappeared has face