Why was the OMP set up?
The basic demand made by many families of the missing and disappeared who appeared before multiple commissions appointed by successive governments has been to trace and search for their loved ones. The OMP was established with a mandate to:
Mechanisms similar to the OMP have been established in other parts of the world, including in Nepal, Cyprus and Columbia.
What is the total figure of disappeared persons?
The Paranagama Commission reported over
while the ICRC documented
16,000 missing as at 2016
(of which 5,100 are members of the armed forces)
Does the OMP only look at cases of civilians who were disappeared or went missing during the war in Sri Lanka?
No. The OMP is mandated to search for persons who went missing or were disappeared
The OMP’s mandate is not limited by region, community or period.
So many Commissions were established in the past to look into this issue of disappearance. Isn’t the OMP just another Commission?
No. The OMP will learn from the experiences of previous Commissions of Inquiry and of family members who pointed out the problems they faced during Commission sessions such as allegations of:
The OMP is unlike previous Commissions as:
The Members of the Board of the OMP were appointed by the President of Sri Lanka based on the recommendations of the Constitutional Council, following a call for applications from the public.
Where is the OMP going to obtain information on the disappeared? Do families who have already made a complaint to another Commission of Inquiry need to make a complaint at the OMP?
Do families have to come to Colombo to make complaints?
No. Several Regional Offices have been established and the OMP has been made accessible to families and any other interested party. They can:
In addition, the OMP can also use mobile services.
Has the OMP started accepting complaints?
Yes. The OMP has been accepting complaints from families of the missing and disappeared, both at its Head Office and at its Regional Offices. The OMP, which was appointed in February 2018 has been engaged in a process of compiling existing records to create a database.
How is the OMP going to find the missing and disappeared?
There are a number of tools the OMP will use to trace and search for the missing and disappeared which includes:
What else can the OMP do to help families of the missing and disappeared?
The OMP can make recommendations to relevant authorities relating to:
Can the OMP carry out its own prosecutions of those accused, of carrying out disappearances?
No. It is a search mechanism that cannot initiate a prosecution.
However, where it appears to the OMP that an offence has been committed, the OMP has the power to report the matter to the relevant law enforcement or prosecuting authority for investigation and prosecution. This can be done only after the relatives are consulted.
How will the OMP protect the confidentiality and security of those who come forward to provide evidence?
What is the process of selection for the members of the OMP?