President Maithripala Sirisena said the role play by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in the areas of rehabilitation of persons, families of missing persons, conflict affected women and children is commendable. He said that the IRCS played a major humanitarian role during the conflict under trying times.
The President made these observations when ICRC Head of Mission Cherine Polline and Deputy Head Irfan Sulejmai called on his at the Presidential Secretariat today (May 27). The President said he respects and appreciates the humanitarian work carried out by the ICRC.
Though, there were certain allegations against the ICRC during that period, the evaluation of the benefit to the country and people should be valued from the overall good work done by the organization, he noted.
President Sirisena said the Parliament is planning to establish a special committee on missing persons and asked the ICRC to assist this endeavour. He thanks the ICRC for helping the University of Colombo to introduce a new Post Graduate course in Forensic Science. He also urged the ICRC to increase the training programmes for military and police personnel on human rights and allied areas as well as training in Peace Keeping Operations.
Ms Polling outlined the work under taken by the ICRC in rehabilitation work and helping the families of missing persons. She said that they look into cases of 16,000 missing persons. There are more than 5000 were the members of the armed forces who are listed as Missing in Action (MIA).
She said hat some family members were reluctant to accept that the missing persons were dead as there is no proof about their death. She said that they were not ready to accept Death Certificates and suggested that the government could issue Certificates of Absence to facilitate inheritance of property and schooling of the children of such missing persons.