President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has informed the UN that necessary investigations would be conducted to find out the fate of those who had disappeared during the island's civil conflict as most of the families had attested that those disappeared had been recruited or forcibly conscripted by the LTTE.
The Presidential Secretariat said the recent media reports quoting President Gotabaya as claiming that the 20,000 who were listed as missing were dead was taken out of context as he had clearly stated that necessary investigations would be conducted before issuing a death certificate.
"Unfortunately, these news items are carrying a misquotation to the effect that President Gotabaya as having “acknowledged” that more than 20,000 disappeared are dead. For the record, he did not make any such acknowledgement nor did he make a reference to a number as missing or dead," the Presidential Secretariat said.
President Gotabaya, had during a recent meeting with United Nations Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer said because bodies of those missing had not been recovered, families did not know the fate of those who had disappeared.
Therefore, after the necessary investigations, steps will be taken to issue a death certificate and the necessary support for the families will be given to rebuild their lives.
The government will have to address allegations of war crimes including those missing when the UNHRC Council meet in Geneva in February-March.
The government has said it will make a fresh presentation to the UNHRC and request them to study the Sri Lankan civil war against the LTTE in its entirety and not just in its final stages.
Sri Lanka has already successfully gained the support of Russia and China, who have agreed with the government’s view. (JAMILA HUSAIN)