Probing disappearances
Posted on August 15th, 2016

Editorial Courtesy The Island

The government claims the Office on Missing Persons Bill (OMPB) has been passed with amendments, though it does not know how many MPs voted for or against it according to Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe. The Joint Opposition (JO) insists that the Bill was not duly passed as many MPs were not in their seats when it was put to the vote; they were protesting in the well of Parliament. What really matters in this regard is the alleged inconsistency of the Bill with the Constitution as we argued in this space on Friday. The government has resorted to obfuscation without making public the amendments to the OMPB so that one will know whether the unconstitutional provisions therein have been removed or not.

JHU Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasighe has called for a probe into the disappearances in the southern parts of the country as well in the event of the implementation of the OMPB. The JHU may not have been amenable to the OMPB, but it had to go along with the government, of which it is constituent. But, the fact remains that it has endorsed the new law. It is apparently resorting to face-saving tactics. Is it of the opinion that if the disappearances besides those in the North and the East are probed the OMP to be set up will be acceptable?

True, disappearances in all parts of the country have to be investigated. But, the call for probing involuntary disappearances during the southern uprisings should have been made a long time ago. It is surprising why the JVP, which helped legitimise the OMPB by moving an amendment thereto, has not campaigned for a special probe into the killings and/or disappearances of thousands of its cadres and other suspects in the late 1980s. Its founder leader Rohana Wijeweera was arrested, forced to make a public statement on state-owned television and presumably vapourised by the then Premadasa government, some of whose prominent members are currently in power. A team of politicians and military and police officers at that time including Minister John Amaratunga and Army Commander Hamilton Wanasinghe claimed Wijeweera had led his captors to the JVP’s operational headquarters, where he suddenly pulled out a pistol, prompting the army to shoot him dead. There was no judicial investigation into the alleged killing and the chapter was closed thereon.

Strangely, the JVP has maintained a deafening silence on the ‘disappearance’ of its beloved leader. It is now on good terms with the UNP. Why don’t the JVP heavyweights call for a probe into the capture, alleged torture and ‘disappearance’ of Wijeweera?

The JHU takes pride in being one of the architects of the much-vaunted Right to Information Act. Will it invoke that law to ascertain information about what really happened to Wijeweera and others?

If the JHU really thinks its call for probing involuntary disappearances in the southern parts of the country will be heeded by the OMP it is hoping against hope. For, only the western powers behind the Geneva resolution, which necessitated the setting up of the OMP, are capable for pressuring the government to launch such an investigation. But, they will never care to do so because probing or preventing human rights violations is not their goal. They are only using their human rights crusade as an instrument to further their economic and military interests and; they need something internationally marketable like ethnic strifes and war crimes. They will use the Geneva resolution to crank up pressure on the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration until the latter agrees to grant their wishes like having control over strategic locations like the Trincomalee harbour.

The JHU, instead of trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds ought to tell the public whether or not it is for the setting up of an office to probe missing persons at the behest of the UNHRC and the foreign powers which control it. Rhetoric and gobbledygook won’t do.

5 Responses to “Probing disappearances”

  1. plumblossom Says:

    The missing persons commission, the name is a misnomer. it should be called ‘those combatants on all sides who died in the war i.e. Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force. Civil Defence Forces, IPKF, Tamil Armed Groups against the LTTE and the LTTE terrorists themselves and whose bodies have not be found’. Therefore the name itself is wrong and invented by the UNHRC to tarnish the image of the armed forces of Sri Lanka.

    The missing persons commission to date has receive 24,000 complaints from 1983-2009 period. Of this number over 5,000 are regarding missing Sri Lankan Forces members, whereabouts unknown, almost certainly executed by the LTTE terrorists. Over 12,000 complaints are against the LTTE itself recruiting young persons by coercion. Therefore over 70% of complaints are against the LTTE itself which amounts to over 17,000 complaints. The rest of the complaints are I am sure about the whereabouts of LTTE combatants or terrorists who died while fighting but whose bodies have not been found.

    My question is, why cannot the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India accept that Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force, Civil Defence Forces, IPKF, Tamil Armed Groups against the LTTE and the LTTE terrorists themselves died fighting in this war and leave it at that. What is the point in looking for these combatants now? Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India never ever talk about the over 35,000 Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force, civil Defence Force members who died in the war? or the 1,200 IPKF members or the over 2,000 Tamils Armed Groups against the LTTE members who died in the war? or the over 6,000-7,000 Sinhala civilians and even Muslims civilians who were massacred by the LTTE? or the around (my estimate) over 3,000 Tamil civilians massacred by the LTTE?

    Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India is not concerned about the over 10,000 Sri Lankan Forces members permanently disabled by the war, or the over 23,000 Sri Lankan Forces members both temporarily and permanently disabled by the war? or the over 136,000 Sri Lankan Forces members who were injured due to the war?

    Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India not concerned about the over 65,000 Sinhala people and over 75,000 muslims ethnically cleansed from the North?

    Why is it that the only the around 35,000 LTTE terrorists who died inclusive of Prabhakaran are the concern of the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India? Perhaps this missing persons commission should answer that question first.

  2. plumblossom Says:

    The missing persons, the name itself is a misnomer. When a soldier or an LTTE terrorist died in combat and a body was not found due to let us say the other side burying the body, the combatant is considered missing in action. Therefore the name of this commission should be ‘Those who died in the war on all sides and whose bodies have not been found’. Therefore now looking for all of these combatants whether LTTE terrorists or Sri Lanka Forces members is useless since it is a complete waste of time. Also what about all the navy personnel or even LTTE terrorists who died at sea, their bodies certainly would not have been found. So all of these combatants are missing in action.

    The missing persons commission to date has receive 24,000 complaints from 1983-2009 period. Of this number over 5,000 are regarding missing Sri Lankan Forces members, whereabouts unknown, almost certainly executed by the LTTE terrorists. Over 12,000 complaints are against the LTTE itself recruiting young persons by coercion. Therefore over 70% of complaints are against the LTTE itself which amounts to over 17,000 complaints. The rest of the complaints are I am sure about the whereabouts of LTTE combatants or terrorists who died while fighting but whose bodies have not been found.

    Therefore it is extremely clear that it is the LTTE which should be questioned about these missing persons and this treacherous yahapalanaya has placed our Sri Lankan Armed Forces in deep trouble for no reason as usual.

  3. Cerberus Says:

    Now that we have the OMP we should investigate the following disappearances.
    1. 1970-1971 – SLFP Govt led by Sirimavo Bandaranaiyake is supposed to have killed around 4-5000 JVP youths most of who were innocent.
    2. 1983 Uprising – 112 according to Sansoni report. See
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2015/07/02/sri-lanka-must-republish-sansoni-report-expose-tamil-separatist-mentality/
    3. 1984-1990 – The second JVP uprising was put down brutally by the UNP Govt. It is estimated that about 100,000 were killed. It is said that of this number about 15,000 had been tortured and killed by Present Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. See Batalanda Commission report http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2015/08/03/demons-of-batalanda-who-was-behind-them/
    4. The Tsunami of 2004 – It is estimated that about 30,000 people died.
    5. The War with LTTE – The total is estimated to be 100,000.

    One of the first studies undertaken should be to investigate Ranil Wickremasinghe’s role in killing of JVP people in 1984-1990 period.

  4. plumblossom Says:

    Mr. Udaya Gammanpila Sir,

    Apart from highly commending you for taking legal action against the treacherous CBK (Chaura Rejina) regarding the defamatory and utter lies she keeps repeating to defame her rivals, legal action should be taken against her for stating that she will definitely devolve more powers to provincial Councils within the new constitution. Does this evil woman CBK think she owns Sri Lanka and that she is the one who is going to draw up the new constitution of Sri Lanka (according to the wishes of the imperialistic US, UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden, India, the racist TNA and the separatist terrorists)? The constitution of Sri Lanka should satisfy first and foremost the majority of people of this island i.e. the Sinhala people and the Sinhala people firstly do not want to draw up a new constitution nor do they want any more powers whatsoever be provided to the provincial councils.

    Someone has to go to the supreme court and take action against treacherous CBK for suggesting that she will definitely devolve more powers to provincial councils within the yet to be drawn up constitution since this means the treacherous Ranil, Sirisena, CBK and Mangala have already drawn up a constitution to satisfy the imperialistic US, UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden, India, the racist TNA and the separatist terrorists which is illegal.

    Beyond this, this yahapalanaya government, CBK, Sirisena, the JVP, the JHU, Sarath Fonseka and the like are extremely corrupt and are enjoying perks such as Pajeros, official vehicles, official residences, Rs.200 lakhs loans, doing deals such as renting buildings for example to house the agricultural ministry at very high rents, the bond scam, paying supporters very high salaries and hiring them as ‘consultants’ who are not really consultants such as at the RDA, the rice mafia of Sirisena brother making massive amounts of money at the expense of poor rice farmers, the coal deals of Champika making yet more massive amounts of money, all these corrupt deals are being done and the country is being betrayed in this way by collecting the required two thirds majority in parliament to ensure that treacherous acts such as the missing persons act are approved by parliament.

    All the while valuable infrastructure that should be marketed all over the world such as the Mattala Airport was used for storing rice rather than enticing airlines all over the world to use this airport or at least divert half the airplanes which use Katunayake to Mattala, especially tourist planes.

  5. plumblossom Says:

    In the missing persons act, a relative or a friend can make an official complaint to the OMP by e-mail the whereabouts of their relative or friend. There are over 8 lakhs to 10 lakhs Tamil diaspora asylum seekers (actually economic migrants), a majority of whom support the separatist terrorist LTTE and its aim of a separate state.

    If even 40,000 of these Tamil diaspora who support the separatist terrorist LTTE write bogus emails to the OMP inquiring the whereabouts of their friend or relative (but this friend or relative is actually living alongside them in these countries i.e. the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) these inquiries will officially be accepted by the OMP as 40,000 missing persons.

    In the OMP Act, even if the OMP inquires after these let us say 40,000 and finds out that these are all bogus inquiries and that all these 40,000 persons are actually living alongside the inquirer i.e. their relative or friend and these complaints about these persons being missing are all bogus, the missing persons, now found by the OMP, can request that their whereabouts not be revealed to their relative or friend or be made public. So officially these 40,000 persons will still be missing!!!

    Then the OMP will use these bogus 40,000 missing persons (who are actually living comfortably in the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) as ‘evidence’ that war crimes happened in Sri Lanka (and all these bogus inquiries will state that these persons went missing during the 2006-2009 period) and our Sri Lankan Forces will be persecuted for committing war crimes by a judicial process using these bogus email inquiries.

    The missing persons act states specifically that if the missing person who is found requests that the fact that they are found not be revealed to the public that person will remain as missing as far as the OMP is concerned. This is how the OMP will manufacture bogus evidence of 40,000 missing persons so that the Sri Lankan Armed Forces can be persecuted for committing bogus war crimes.

    The OMP emails cannot be checked by any outside body as stated in the act since all evidence (almost all bogus) gathered by the OMP remains confidential. The OMP cannot be taken to the supreme court on this issue. However OMP should be taken to the supreme court regarding what I have written above which is what would happen when this OMP is set up.

    The OMP will become a bogus evidence manufacturing machine which will gather such bogus inquiries via email from those members of the Tamil diaspora who are supportive of the LTTE terrorists and who will send bogus email inquiries in their thousands. All these bogus inquiries (of people who are actually living in in the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India etc.) will then be used as missing persons inquiries.

    I did not realize that the Sinhalese were this stupid as to allow such a process within the missing persons act which can be blatantly misused in order to manufacture bogus evidence like this. The OMP process is not transparent, it will happen in totally secrecy, no one in Sri Lanka will be able to question it, not our police, our courts, Sri Lankan citizens, nobody. All the OMP will do is gather bogus email ‘evidence’ such as described above to try the Sri Lankan Armed Forces for bogus war crimes which they never committed.

    The OMP process as described above must be stopped immediately. If a relative or a friend really and genuinely wants to find out about their genuinely missing relative or friend, they can make a complain to the OMP in person in public. This is the only way that Sri Lanka and the world will know that this inquiry is genuine. This was the methodology followed by the earlier Paranagama Commission which then received 24,000 complaints from relatives or friends of the missing persons but they complained in public in person to the commission. Even some of these complaints may be bogus too.

    The OMP should be stopped immediately since it is not a transparent process at all as described above. If the UNHRC, the US, UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, India, the TNA and the separatist terrorists genuinely want to find out about perished LTTE terrorists, this yahapalanaya government could expand the scope of the Paranagama Commission in order to make such inquiries. This process should be totally following Sri Lankan Law, within Sri Lankan jurisdiction, paid for totally by the Sri Lankan Government only and with only Sri Lankan citizens appointed as commission members and investigators. In fact the entire staff should be Sri Lankan citizens only. The process should be a totally domestic process with no interference or input whatsoever from foreign countries. Most importantly, all complaints should be made in person by relatives and friends in public if their complaint is genuine.

    The missing persons act as it is totally dangerous as pointed out above and should be dismissed totally as it is highly dangerous and a totally secretive process as described above to manufacture bogus evidence against the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

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