Regional OMP office in Jaffna opened in secrecy ahead of announced time

[TamilNet, Sunday, 25 August 2019, 08:58 GMT]
The OMP office in Jaffna was secretly declared open ahead of the scheduled time on Saturday. The SL military also used to abduct their children in secrecy, commented the protesting families of Tamils subjected to enforced disappearances in the past. The Chairperson of the OMP, Mr Saliya Peiris declared the regional office opened at 6:30 a.m., four hours ahead of the scheduled time to avoid the presence of the protesters. Meanwhile, Karu Jayasuriya (UNP), the speaker of the SL Parliament as well as SL Minister Mano Ganesan dropped their plans to grace the occasion as the protesting Tamil women had severely criticised the move in advance.

Saliya Peiris at the meeting held at Jaffna District Secretariat
Saliya Peiris at the meeting held at Jaffna District Secretariat
OMP office in Jaffna
OMP office in Jaffna
OMP office in Jaffna
The families of the missing persons who staged protest in Vavuniyaa on Saturday said Ms Nimalka Fernando and Mr M.A. Sumanthiran, who facilitated the establishment of the OMP lacked guts to face the protesters in person.

The Jaffna office was declared open on Aadiaya-paatham Road at Kokkuvil in Jaffna in the presence of a handful of officials, and the organisers went on to stage a meeting at the Jaffna District Secretariat later in the day.

When questioned about SL military commanders facing legal cases not being suspended from the duty and the the SL President going to the extent of giving promotions to the alleged war criminals, President’s Counsel Saliya Peiris said that the OMP had proposed a standard recommendation that the government should suspend people suspected of criminal acts until the cases were resolved.

“They must not be promoted. It is a standard that should be followed by any government,” he said.

“However, the OMP only sets the standard recommendations. It is up to the government to follow our recommendations or not,” Peiris said smilingly.

The OMP would be empowered to ‘investigate’ the missing cases once the office was fully operational, he said.

He was spending the last 16 months to operationalise the mechanism, Peiris told reporters at Jaffna Kachcheari.

The OMP was established only in March 2018. The office in Jaffna is the third regional office, after Matara and Mannaar.

The biggest problem faced by the OMP was the red tape in the bureaucracy, he said.

The second problem was the scepticism prevailing among the families of missing persons in the North and the East. They do not trust the state institutions including the OMP, he said.

Thirdly, there is a perception in the South, that refuses to accept the existence of the problem of the families of the missing persons, he said.

What was the point with the ‘missing persons certificates’ proposed by the OMP, the mothers present at the meeting in Jaffna questioned.

The OMP is not different from the SL commissions appointed in the past. The mandate of the mechanism was not adequate, and it had no power to invetigate, the protesting mothers said.


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