Letter to the President urging the establishment of an Office on Missing Persons in Sri Lanka –

Letter to the President urging the establishment of an Office on Missing Persons in Sri Lanka

Your Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena and Colleagues,

I am writing on behalf of the victims’ movement in South Africa. Khulumani Support Group, to extend our appreciation of the progress made in developing legislation to allow for the setting up of an Office on Missing Persons in Sri Lanka.
We note that the Sri Lankan government adopted and domesticated the International Convention to Protect All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. This is an advance that we in South Africa have yet to achieve.
We note that having made a great deal of progress, there is now growing concern amongst affected families in Sri Lanka about the delays in establishing the OMP. We trust that this  will soon be addressed as a long-needed mechanism to secure the right to the truth for affected families in Sri Lanka. 
We will follow developments with interest and concern.
Yours sincerely,
Dr Marjorie Jobson
National Director
Khulumani Support Group
Website: khulumani.net
To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing.” 
Raymond Williams

Read the full letter below.

His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka 9 July 2017

On Establishing the Office on Missing Persons Without Delay

Your Excellency, On behalf of Khulumani Support Group, the membership organisation of South African survivors of gross violations of human rights from our country’s past of political conflict and violence, I am writing to express our appreciation of the actions taken by your government in adopting legislation that provides for the establishment of an Office on Missing Persons on 12 August 2016 and for the unanimous adoption of an amendment on 21 June 2017. For Khulumani Support Group, with our country’s own history of unresolved enforced disappearances, we are encouraged by these very significant developments in Sri Lanka. We know that the establishment of an Office on Missing Persons would represent a major advance in addressing the legacy of the thousands of politically disappeared from Sri Lanka’s past conflicts and in providing the affected families with the truth about what happened towards affording them some measure of closure of a very painful history. As Khulumani Support Group, we have been grateful for the working relationships we have had with victim groups, with members of the transitional justice institutions established in your country and with members of Sri Lankan faith-based communities as they have striven to work together towards achieving a lasting peace in Sri Lanka. Today, we join our partners in the struggle for post-conflict justice and sustainable peace, in congratulating you on these developments that signal that under the leadership of your National Unity Government, your country is on the journey towards a reconciliation that is based on the right to the truth, reparation and accountability – the rights that contribute to the prevention of the recurrence of violence. We are writing to urge that there should be no further delay in setting up the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). We are aware of the anxiety that the delay is causing to affected families and we look with hope for urgent action to the gazetting of the OMP. We are convinced that this action will restore the confidence of thousands of families in the rule of law and in the potential of democratic governance. As South Africans, we anticipate being humbled to learn from the Sri Lankan experience as the OMP begins its work, given that our own government has yet to sign, ratify and domesticate the International Convention to Protect All Persons from Enforced Disappearances in support of which we are continuing to sustain urgent advocacy.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Marjorie Jobson, National Director, Khulumani Support Group

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