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Disappearances act will not look at past cases – Mangala

Sri Lankan minister Mangala Samaraweera said a proposed bill on enforced disappearances will not look at past cases of disappearances on the island and will “have only prospective effect”.

In a statement on the International Covenant on Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which has faced criticism from forces loyal to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mr Samaraweera attempted to assuage opposition fears.

“We would like to state that this Act will have only prospective effect, and no retrospective effect in any way,” he stated.

In the same statement, the current Finance Minister accused the former president of branding Sri Lankan soldiers as “war criminals”.

See the full text of the statement here.

The bill, which has also faced opposition from senior members of the Buddhist clergy, was not taken up for debate by teh Sri Lankan parliament, despite it having been scheduled in earlier this month. The move comes despite Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena promising Tamil families of the disappeared that action would be taken to help locate their missing relatives.  Protests, mainly led by mothers of the disappeared, having been taking place for several months now at locations across the North-East.