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Cablegate: Committee to Monitor Investigations Into Abductions And

VZCZCXRO3329
PP RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #1050/01 3240158
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200158Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0792
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 2062
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 9090
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 7332
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 5235
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3487
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 5173
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 0708
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 4288
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 9653
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 6947
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 0029
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3831
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001050

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM CE
SUBJECT: Committee to Monitor Investigations into Abductions and
Disappearances

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On November 17, Ambassador met with Deputy
Minister P. Radhakrishnan, a member of parliament who also serves as
the Deputy Minister of Vocational and Technical Training and as the
Convener of the Committee to Monitor Investigations into Abductions
and Disappearances. Although Post was aware of this committee
previously, local observers had not considered it an active player
in actual human rights cases. When asked about his role in this,
however, Radhakrishnan seemed eager to discuss the committee and its
successes and presented Ambassador with copies of reports it had
compiled on disappearances since the beginning of 2008. These
reports appear to track individual cases brought to the committee,
with some limited details on the person and the events surrounding
the disappearance. The status of the case is then listed, whether
the person returned or was located, was found in police custody, was
still missing, or was confirmed dead. While not at all
comprehensive due to the voluntary nature of reporting done to this
committee, it nonetheless exists as a mechanism, arguably
underutilized, to press for greater accountability within Sri Lanka.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) In the November 17 meeting, Ambassador asked about the
committee, how it came about, and what its work entailed.
Radhakrishnan replied that he and several colleagues had gone to the
president in 2006 to ask about the alarming level of disappearances
in the country. The president created this committee in response
and asked Radhakrishnan to be a part of it. Radhakrishnan said the
committee handled cases brought to it, usually by relatives of the
missing person. The committee encouraged them also to file a report
with the local police, ICRC, and other groups monitoring
disappearances. Once per month the committee met with
representatives from the security forces to check on cases.
Radhakrishnan said they had seen success in some cases, finding the
missing persons in custody of the CID or TID, sometimes at Boosa
Prison in the South.

3. (SBU) Ambassador received copies of two reports the committee
had compiled. The first covered incidents reported to the committee
during 2008, although a handful of the reported incidents occurred
prior to 2008. This report gave information on 285 disappearance
cases. Of that total, 80 persons returned to their homes, 22
persons were found to be in Boosa and/or TID detention, 4 were
confirmed dead, and 179 were still missing, although it was unclear
whether these status remarks were as of the end of 2008 or more
recently. The other report covered cases filed from the beginning
of 2009 up to November 16, a total of 115 disappearances reported.
Of that total, 21 had returned to their homes, 5 were found at Boosa
prison or in TID custody, 2 were confirmed dead, and 87 were still
missing.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Clearly these reports do not account for all
disappearances occurring island-wide since the beginning of 2008.
It is also not certain whether there is any overlap in cases this
committee is monitoring as opposed to cases investigated by other
committees within the government. The reports given to the
Ambassador did not go into detail about the status of these cases.
For those listed as killed for example, no information was given
about whether any investigation was undertaken. This may simply be
reflective of the specific report Ambassador received, however, and
the committee may have looked into these details. What can be said,
however, is that this committee attempts to address the problem of
lack of accountability within the security forces system, and also
attempts to shed some light on the problem of disappearances in Sri
Lanka. Post will endeavor to see what other information the
committee collects, and whether the results of the reports are then
used by any government or non-government persons or entities to
press for greater accountability. Although he was obviously aware
the report did not include all disappearances that had taken place,
Radhakrishnan said he was certain the overall number of
disappearances in the country had dropped significantly since the
end of the war. End Comment.


COLOMBO 00001050 002 OF 002


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