The numbers cited by groups on alleged disappearance of individuals have been grossly exaggerated, Chairman of the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons, Maxwell Paranagama said.
"We have seen figures presented by various organisations which claimed that over 3,300 had disappeared from the northern province. But the number of complaints received by us does not confirm such claims," the former judge told reporters.
Mr. Paranagama was speaking after conducting a public session in the northeastern district of Mannar over the weekend.
"For example in Mannar 1,47,000 disappearances had been talked of. But our Commission received only 312 complaints of disappearances," he said.
"These claims are mere statements," he stressed.
The Chairman also dismissed claims that the Tamils affected by the conflict have little confidence in his probe proceedings.
"This has been proven wrong by the large numbers of people who have appeared before us," he said.
He said many complainants are parents who are unable to ascertain if their children are dead or not.
"We have received over 19,000 complaints, including 5,600 complaints from the parents of the members of the security forces," Mr. Paranagama said.
He said the rest of 13,000 complaints could also include those who had died in the conflict.
Mr. Paranagama also claimed that some of those reported as missing are living overseas.
"We have information that some of those reported as missing are living overseas. The Foreign Ministry wrote to the embassies asking for details of those living in their respective countries. But giving security reasons they have refused to give details," he said.
The Commission has so far received 19,284 complaints. Approximately 5,000 complaints had been received from relatives of missing security forces personnel.