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The National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights 2011 – 2016 as well as the full series of  Sri Lanka Rights Watch are available at the Peace & Reconciliation Website.

The issue of disappearances, which looms so large in public discourse at present, is hardly mentioned in the National Human Rights Action Plan. This is understandable because the Plan is intended for the future, to ensure that Human Rights are not violated, and therefore it suggests mechanisms to prevent disappearances occurring in the future.

The question of disappearances that have occurred, or are alleged to have occurred, is however a significant one, and requires concerted action. The LLRC recommendations also point this out, as does the Draft National Reconciliation Policy, which refers to losses which must be recorded and compensated.

One problem is the confusion that besets us about the various types of disappearances. The first, which is used to build up horrendous sounding statistics, are those that occurred two decades back, largely in connection with the JVP insurrection. Though commissions were appointed in the nineties to go into these, and concurrent disappearances in the North and East, their findings were not collated systematically. We also failed to respond systematically to queries from Geneva, to which these disappearances had been reported.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

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