Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka to conduct Census on deaths, damages to persons and properties during conflict periods

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Implementing LLRC recommendations

Sri Lanka is to conduct an island wide Census next month on deaths/ injuries to persons and property damages during the period of the conflict as recommended by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC),

This census to be conducted jointly by the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs and the Department of Census and Statistics will cover the conflict period from 1983 up to the end of war in May 2009.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, soon after the end of the 30 year war with the LTTE terrorists, in pursuance of the provisions of Section 2 of the Commission of Inquiry Act (Chapter 393) had appointed the Lesson Learnt Reconciliation Commission LLRC to inquire and report on the following matters that may have taken place during the period between 21st February 2002 and 19th May 2009, namely;

i. the facts and circumstances which led to the failure of the ceasefire agreement operationalized on 21st February 2002 and the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to the 19th of May 2009;

ii. whether any person, group, or institution directly or indirectly bear responsibility in this regard;

iii. the lessons we would learn from those events and their attendant concerns, in order to ensure that there will be no recurrence;

iv. the methodology whereby restitution to any person affected by those events or their dependents or to heirs, can be effected;

v. the institutional administrative and legislative measures which need to be taken in order to prevent any recurrence of such concerns in the future, and to promote further national unity and reconciliation among all communities, and to make any such other recommendations with reference to any of the matters that have been inquired into under the terms of this Warrant

The Commission in its final report had recommended the conduct of a professionally designed house hold survey covering all affected families in all parts of the island to ascertain first hand the scale and the circumstances of death and injuries to civilians as well as damage to property during the period of the conflict.

The National Plan of Action for the implementation of the LLRC recommendations prepared by a Task Force headed by the Secretary to President Mr. Lalith Weratunga has already been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

According to the Director General of Dept of Census and Statistics a steering committee has been appointed under the Secretary to Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs to conduct this census and the Committee has devised a centralized system of data collection at the national level integrating all information with regard to missing persons.

"This scientifically designed census will help arrive at an exact decision on the persons missing and died during the period of conflict in the country" said the DG Dept of Census and Statistic. He told that one of the objectives of this exercise was to pay compensation to the affected families through ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms

The general public are requested to cooperate in conducting this Census by providing accurate information to the respective Grama Niladhari who will visit their houses in due course. (hassen)