Sri Lanka on Wednesday said at least 65,000 people have gone missing in the past 26 years since the government began a civil war against the Tamil Tiger rebels on one hand and a Marxist faction on the other, reported Reuters. This is the first time that the country has decided to own up to the human rights violations committed during the ongoing war.

"Since 1994 various commissions have documented that there are about 65,000 people missing or not found to be dead. We will get a final list later from the office of missing persons," said Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, who is in charge of the government's reconciliation office.

Unlike his predecessor, President Maithripala Sirisena (pictured above) has also agreed to independent probes into such incidents, suggested by the United Nations Human Rights Council in a resolution. The government will issue certificates of absence to help relatives of missing people get guardianship of their children, apply for welfare schemes and manage their assets. In a few weeks, Sri Lanka will give an oral status report of its progress in the matter in Geneva.