Sri Lanka approves investigation on missing persons

Colombo: Sri Lanka's parliament on Thursday approved the establishment of an office to investigate incidents of people gone missing during the 30 years of civil war in the country. The draft bill on establishing the office was passed with amendments in parliament without a vote, Xinhua news agency reported. The bill was adopted despite objections by the joint opposition, which alleged that the bill will betray the military. The government earlier said that there have been strong requests for providing true information on missing persons' fate to their relatives. "It will enable such families to reunite, closure with regard to such disappearance, or granted with reparations and other relief and support," the government said. A long-running Tamil separatist conflict was crushed by the Sri Lankan military in May 2009. During the three decades of fighting, tens of thousands were killed and thousands went missing.  A proposal made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, to establish an independent institution on missing persons. The office will help tracing the missing persons and identify appropriate mechanisms for the same, submit recommendations to authorities to take steps measures and protect the rights of the missing and their relatives and collate data related to the disappeared obtained by government institutions and other organisations and centralise all available data within its database.