(Xinhua) — An independent presidential commission appointed to investigate people who disappeared during Sri Lanka’s three-decade conflict have received over 13,000 complaints, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Presidential Commission has received approximately 13,700 complaints of disappearances from all parts of the country.
According to the Commission approximately 9,300 disappearances are of civilians and 4,300 are of security personnel.
The Commission appointed in August last year held its first public sitting in the northern town of Kilinochchi to hear the people’s accounts on the complaints regarding the disappearances.
Kilinochchi was the heartland of the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) who were embroiled in a war with the Sri Lankan government that ended in 2009.
Following the public hearing in Kilinochchi, the Commission has submitted details of 162 cases of missing persons in the area to the Attorney General’s (AG) Department, Secretary to the Commission H.W. Gunadasa told media.
“The Commission has recorded evidence from 76 witnesses in connection with the complaints in Kilinochchi and in addition the Commission has received 106 more complaints. The Commission will start investigations with regard to the cases of disappeared persons in Mullaitivu district of the north next,” he added.
The Commission was appointed ahead of a crucial evaluation visit by United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) chief Navi Pillay and is aimed at bolstering Sri Lanka’s human rights record ahead of the UNHRC sessions in March.
The Commission initially were to collect complaints till November 30 but extended the deadline till the year end due to the high number of requests.
Sri Lanka has come under fire by the international community for failing to investigate war crimes allegations and cases of missing people.
The government headed by Rajapaksa has had two consecutive resolutions passed on it at the UNHRC and could be faced with a third in March.