Feb 24, Colombo: The United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances has been urged to conduct a thorough inquiry into the mass grave unearthed recently in Matale, a town in Sri Lanka's Central Province.
The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), an independent regional non-governmental organization in a written statement suggested the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances to study the situation and conduct inquiries into to the remains of the 200 or more persons found in the grave in Matale.
According to the Consultant Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of Matale Dr. Ajith Jayasena, skeletal remains of 154 people were found during excavations carried out from the 26th of November until the 12th of this month at the grave site in the premises of the Matale Hospital.
Sri Lankan authorities say that the excavations have been completed and some preliminary tests have been conducted on the remains but the systematic forensic investigations of the remains to identify the era of the dead and their identities are still ongoing.
The ALRC urged the UN group to assist the Sri Lankan government to ensure the inquiries into case will meet the international standards required for such inquiries.
The organization also suggested the international community to provide the Sri Lankan government with expertise, equipment and the necessary financial resources to conduct proper investigations and to preserve the remains under ideal conditions.
The ALRC expressed serious concern that otherwise there is the possibility that the neglect in preservation may lead to the destruction of remains.
The Organization noted that the remains have injuries and the experts are considering the site as a crime scene. Therefore, the ALRC called on the authorities to conduct an inquiry to ascertain the identity of the people whore remains found and how they died.
Once the cause of the death is identified it would be possible to decide the course of action needed to ensure justice, the ALRC said.
The ALRC with its sister organisation, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), have documented numerous cases of enforced disappearances to the Sri Lankan government and to the UN Working Group.