Those Detained Without Charges Will Be Released:  President Orders Swift Action On Missing

President Maithripala Sirisena, during his visit to the North, met with the families of missing persons while at the Northern Province Governor’s office in Jaffna, where he assured them that swift action would be taken to release their missing family members.

The President assured the families of the missing that any person detained without charge would be released, and further assured the families that no detention camps were in operation in the country.

The subject of secret detention camps was included in the letter the families of the missing handed over to the President, listing their grievances. The President promised he would direct the relevant authorities to look into the issues.

The family members of the missing representing eight districts of the Northern and Eastern province had requested the release of lists of all who surrendered to the armed forces during and after the war, particularly during the last phase; a list of all secret detention centers, their status and list of detainees; and a list of all political prisoners held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

The President had promised the families that he would also instruct the National Security Council to release lists of persons who surrendered to the Armed forces in the final phase of the war. The President also said the Police would support the search for those missing since the end of the war.

The President also said the Parliament would debate the Bill to establish a permanent Office of Missing Persons (OMP) that was passed in August 2016. He also ordered that state funds allocated for development work in the North and East are utilized effectively, adding that the political leaders representing the two provinces would be held responsible.

Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation and Resettlement D.M. Swaminathan, Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratne, Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Vigneswaran, Provincial Minister of Health Saithyalingam, Governor Reginald Cooray, Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara, and the SLFP General Secretary, Duminda Dissanayake were present at the meeting with the families.

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