The Consular Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs, has introduced a new system through which relatives of Sri Lankans deceased abroad are allowed to submit identity documents, affidavits, and other documentation relating to the repatriation of human remains or conduct of last rites, through Divisional Secretariats islandwide.
Hitherto, the relatives of the deceased person were required to submit such documents to the Consular Affairs Division to bring human remains to Sri Lanka, or to get authorisation to conduct last rites abroad. Under the new system, the relatives of the deceased can submit the required documentation to the nearest Divisional Secretariat, which in turn will forward them to the Consular Affairs Division for appropriate action.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs has already issued a circular instructing all Divisional Secretaries to extend required assistance for the effective implementation of this initiative.
The new system allows relatives of those deceased to have the required documentation processed at the nearest Divisional Secretariat, without having to travel to the Consular Affairs Division in Colombo or the Regional Consular Office in Jaffna.
The general public in outstation areas would particularly benefit from the new arrangement and avoid having to travel long distances to Colombo or Jaffna at a time of bereavement while also eliminating undue delays and expenditure.
This initiative is part of the endeavours of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to streamline, decentralise and improve consular service delivery to the public.