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Census on war to be launched

2013 Nov 28

The Department of Census and Statistics will conduct an island wide census to assess the human and property damages occurred during nearly three-decade long conflict, the Government said in a statement today.

This Census which has to be completed within six months will be launched tomorrow.

The nationwide survey is a key recommendation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

The Task Force which is appointed for the implementation of the LLRC recommendations and headed by the Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga has prepared a National Action Plan which has recommended conducting a professionally designed household survey covering all affected families in all parts of the island to ascertain firsthand the scale and circumstances of death and injury to civilians, as well as damage to property during the period of the conflict.

Accordingly, the island-wide census will collect detailed information on the deaths, missing persons, injured and/or disabled persons, and damages to the property.

The census, to be conducted jointly by the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs and the Department of Census and Statistics, will cover the conflict period from 1983 up to May 2009.

The census will be conducted at Grama Niladhari Division level and Grama Niladharis will be appointed as enumerators.

According to the Director General of the Department, D.C.A. Gunawardena, the survey would be carried out in 14,022 Grama Niladhari Divisions, island wide, and 16,000 officials would be deployed to collect information.

The information will be collected from family units that have experienced damages to life or property during the past 31 years.

The Director General said officials from the department are currently being trained to identify the family units and collect information from as far back as 1982 to date. The death toll of civilians during the 30-year conflict has not been accurately assessed. A UN panel probed the last phase of the war has estimated that around 40,000 died while other independent reports estimated the number of civilians dead to exceed 100,000.

The government calls on the general public to cooperate in conducting this Census by providing accurate information to the respective Grama Niladhari who will visit their houses in due course. (Colombo Gazette)

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