In 2020, the OMP focused on developing a List of Complaints and Information received by the OMP regarding Missing and Disappeared Persons (the List). It is part of an ongoing process of collating and centralizing data relating to missing and disappeared persons as per section 10(1)(e) of the OMP Act that the OMP initiated following its establishment in February 2018. Developing a consolidated list enables the OMP to conduct inquiries and investigations, develop internal processes, and make recommendations regarding the rights and interests of the missing and disappeared and their relatives.
When compiling the List, the OMP used the data obtained from i) complaints received directly by the OMP; ii) complaints obtained by the former Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation from District Secretariats in 2017 and forwarded to the OMP; and iii) lists of Missing in Action personnel provided by the armed forces at the request of the OMP.
The List contains the following information: i) a reference number assigned by the OMP; ii) the name of the missing or disappeared person in English and in Sinhala or Tamil; iii) the date that the person went missing or were disappeared; and iv) the district in which the missing or disappeared person last resided.
For Missing in Action personnel, the List contains the following information: i) the reference number assigned by the OMP; ii) the name of the missing person in English; iii) the date that the person went missing; iv) the service number assigned by the tri-forces to personnel; v) rank of the missing person; vi) the place where the person went missing and vii) in case of Army personnel, the regiment of the missing person.
In February 2020, the OMP commenced a process of verification of the List by inviting families of the missing and disappeared to contact the OMP to review the information concerning their missing or disappeared loved ones. Simultaneously, the OMP has been engaging in an internal process of verification to avoid duplication of records. The OMP has been informing families if their cases do not fall within the OMP’s mandate and in cases where the information provided was unclear or insufficient, the OMP has been requesting for further information.
Persons who have went missing or were disappeared in connection with the conflict, political unrest or civil disturbances or as an enforced disappearance, and personnel of the armed forces or police who have been identified as missing in action fall within the OMP’s mandate as per section 27 of the OMP Act. The List includes cases that are within the OMP’s mandate and cases that require further clarification in order to determine whether they fall within the OMP’s mandate. It excludes cases that clearly fall outside of the OMP’s mandate, such as those concerning persons who went missing as a result of the Tsunami.
The List is an important step towards establishing a comprehensive official record of missing and disappeared persons in Sri Lanka.
In November 2020, the OMP was in the process of finalizing the List. Family members and the public can access hard copies of the List at the OMP Head Office in Colombo and its Regional Offices in Batticaloa, Jaffna, Mannar and Matara. The List has been made available on the OMP website.