Nine senior Police officers have been appointed as hostage negotiators, the first of such an initiative in Sri Lanka, in keeping with international aviation obligations as a part of crisis management during a possible aircraft hi-jacking or a hostage situation.
The officers received appointment letters from Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne during an official event held at the Ministry today.
The team of hostage negotiators had undergone training offered by the United Nations Mission in USA in 2006.
Addressing the officers, Defence Secretary, who is also the Chairman National Civil Aviation Security Committee (NCASC) said that appointments were a timely requirement and involved greater responsibilities involving in safety of civilian lives.
Maj. Gen. Gunaratne also said that the new team of hostage negotiators needs to be constantly engaged with the aviation officials with provisions for capacity building and also in further advancement of the initiative.
Deputy Director General, Aviation Security Regulation P.A Jayakantha said the appointments mark the fulfillment of an internationally recognized norm that has been in practice among all International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) member states.
He said this national requirement has been consistently discussed since 2016 during the NCASC meetings.
“There are two international conventions -Hague and Tokyo, governing and regulating responses in hostage situations which Sri Lanka too has ratified”, he further added.
The Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority Capt. Themiya Abeywickrama also pledged that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would provide all possible opportunities for the new team of Hostage –Negotiators to hone their skills in meeting the demands of the industry.