Published On: Fri, Aug 12th, 2016

OMP will safeguard military’s good name – Mangala

da2c92b5daa6c8470f88edda28e12fc1_LThe good name of the Sri Lankan government and the armed forces will be safeguarded by parliament’s having adopted an act for the establishment of a office for missing persons (OMP), amidst the sorrows of the war-affected and opposition by the Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists, says foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera.

The act was passed with amendments, without a vote despite Rajapaksa-loyalists having disrupted proceedings for one hour during the debate yesterday (11).

The protestors described the OMP as a hunting of war heroes, and demanded its withdrawal.

Rejecting the charge, Samaraweera also said the military would be elevated to such a level that they could get involved in international peacekeeping.

Surrounded by government members as the protestors came to the well of the House, he went onto say that racism and extremism took the country to ruin, and still such forces were at work, but would be foiled.

He later told the media that the OMP would not have judicial powers, but it would be a mechanism set up as per a guarantee given by the government to the UNHRC and within the people’s mandate of the president, to find the truth about the missing persons.

Commending it as a first step towards reconciliation, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said reconciliation would not be possible without knowing the truth.

JVP’s Bimal Ratnayake said this would not ensure justice for the persons who were made to disappear by the SLFP and the UNP in 1971 and 1989 or during the war, but hoped it would help prevent recurrences in the future.

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