The Parliament of Sri Lanka unanimously enacted into legislation the Registration of Deaths (Temporary Provisions)(Amendment) Act on 25 August 2016. This legislation provides for the issuing of Certificates of Absence (CoA). The present guide briefly sets out key aspects of the legislation.
Certificates of Absence are critically important for victims at both the symbolic and practical level. It is an official documentation by the state recognizing that a significant number of people are still either disappeared or missing. This is also an important step for families who continue to search for disappeared and missing loved ones, in the hope of finding their loved one alive. At a practical level, the Certificate of Absence facilitate in obtaining benefits, deal with property and other issues, listed below.
The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has advocated for a range of reforms with transitional justice including championing the introduction of Certificates of Absence. The present legislation is a welcome step forward in addressing the challenges faced by families of disappeared and missing loved ones and CPA urges the authorities to implement the legislation without any further delays. For more information on Certificates of Absence, please read documentation on the issue prepared by CPA available at www.cpalanka.org and www.tjsrilanka.org