Families of the missing and disappeared to be included as beneficiaries for rations

Families of the missing and disappeared to be included as beneficiaries for rations

Families of the missing and disappeared to be included as beneficiaries for rations

Written by Zulfick Farzan

08 Apr, 2020 | 11:24 am

Colombo (News 1st); The Office of Missing Persons in a letter to the President says there is a need to include the families of the missing and disappeared, considered as a vulnerable group – whose situation should be considered when developing relief measures in the current context.

The letter by the Chairperson of the OMP, Presidents Counsel Saliya Peiris notes Gazette No 2168/8, dated 6 March 2020 which establishes the Presidential Task Force, at paragraph 11, provides the Task Force with a specific mandate to “take steps to focus special attention on women, low-income families and persons directly at risk when undertaking above measures.”

In acknowledgement of the situation of extreme poverty faced by some families, based on one of the interim relief measures recommended by the OMP, the Government proposed to allocate Rs. 500 million in the 2019 Budget, to provide Rs. 6000 monthly relief to families of missing and disappeared persons, including members of the armed forces and police identified as missing in action on the condition of them of possessing a Certificate of Absence.

The OMP observes that in many cases, the most vulnerable among families of the missing and disappeared are elderly and are female headed households and survive on the daily wages of one family member.

It adds the prevailing situation in the country has had dire consequences on these families, as they are no longer able to earn their wages and they have limited or no assets.

The OMP recommends the families of the missing and disappeared be included in any proposed relief measures, including the provision of food and financial assistance in response to the current crisis.

As a short-term measure the OMP recommends that dry rations be provided to families of the missing and disappeared through Grama Niladharis. Grama Niladharis have already collected information regarding missing and disappeared in their local area, and such lists could be used to avoid duplication in instances where such families are also beneficiaries under other state assistance schemes for vulnerable persons.

Read Full Statement here : Letter to HE President 7 April 2020

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