Govt. tells UNHCR maintaining database of missing persons

Wednesday, 9 March 2011 00:27 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Geneva: Sri Lanka has told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that it is currently maintaining a database of missing persons in the country and soon will hand over the database to the newly established national Human Rights Commission.

Minister of Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, U.L.M. Jauhar has said that the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology had been maintaining a database of missing persons and it would soon be placed in the custody of the newly established national Human Rights Commission.

Presenting a report on the human right situation in Sri Lanka to the UNHRC on Monday in Geneva, Jauhar has said that the Sri Lankan government took serious note of the need to reconcile the cases of disappearances.

The official pointing out that the conclusion of the terrorist conflict in Sri Lanka had brought forth the challenge of caring for and resettling approximately 300,000 internally displaced persons has said that the government continues to resolve the challenges it faces during the resettlement.  “Indisputably, however, there remained challenges in this resettlement process, which the Government would continue to address as and when they arose,” Jauhar has said in his report to the Council.

At present, there were only 12,000 internally displaced persons remaining in three welfare villages in Vavuniya and Jaffna and they would be resettled in their homes on completion of the de-mining operations in the region, he has said.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Kshenuka Senewiratne told the Council that illegal arrest and detention were tantamount to infringement of the Bill of Rights of Sri Lanka and any infraction of these process rights would give rise to the intrusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

The remedy of habeas corpus was acknowledged to be a bulwark against abuse of executive powers of arrest and detention and these constitutionally entrenched rights were in existence in Sri Lanka as an efficacious remedy for any illegal detention, she told the UNHRC.

Senewiratne has observed that violations of fundamental guarantees could take place irrespective of the nature of the legal regime adopted.

While the legal regime could be the product of the adoption of normal laws or emergency provisions, it was important to ensure that the regime was not subject to such abuse that would result in the violations of the rights of a person, Senewiratne has pointed out.

“Derogable rights had therefore to be accompanied by the appropriate checks and balances that would ensure the proper balance of the sustainability of such derogations,” She has told the Council in her presentation.