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The announcement came ahead of a key visit by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay later this month and a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be hosted by Sri Lanka in November 2013.
Thousands of civilians were allegedly abducted or disappeared during a brutal war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The long-drawn civil war in the island nation ended in 2009.
“The commission has been given the authority to conduct inquiries and investigations necessary, and submit a report to the president within six months. In President Rajapaksa’s instructions to the commission, he stressed the necessity to identify the person(s) responsible in cases where abductions or disappearances are found to have taken place and to take legal action against those person(s),” Thursday’s announcement said.
In March this year, the Sri Lankan government also came under pressure at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which passed a second resolution on the country for a disappointing human rights record.