Lanka Cabinet approves bill to set up an office to compensate civil war victims
Colombo: The Sri Lankan Cabinet has given nod to a bill to set up an Office of Reparations to compensate victims of the three-decade long civil war bewteen the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE, Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said on Wednesday. According to the government figures, around 20,000 people are missing due to various conflicts including the 30-year- long separatist war with Lankan Tamils in the north and east which claimed at least 100,000 lives.
File Photo of Rajitha Senaratne (Courtesy: Facebook/Dr.RajithaSenaratne)
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which led the separatist war for a separate Tamil homeland, was finally crushed by the Lankan military in 2009 with the death its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.
"As part of implementing the resolutions by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Cabinet endorsed a Bill to be enacted by Parliament for the payment of reparations in respect of war-affected and missing persons," Senaratne, also the Health Minister, said.
Sri Lanka is under international pressure to set up transitional justice mechanisms for the victims, since the crushing of the separatist campaign in May 2009.
Following the recommendation of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), President Maithripala Sirisena had appointed seven members and the Chairperson of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) in February, but it become operational in March.
The OMP will determine the status of all persons who went "missing" during the brutal civil war against the LTTE. The Office of Reparations would decide the amount of compensation and aid to the victims of the armed conflict in the country.
"It is proposed to give members of the Office the right to decide on compensation," the Minister said.
Lanka's right record during the final phase of the conflict came under close scrutiny with the UNHRC blaming both the government troops and the LTTE for war crimes.
The Army, however, has denied any wrong doing, also the government is opposed to setting up international courts to probe the allegations.