Legal Status

The government will soon amend existing laws to help tsunami victims that will expedite issuing of death certificates and increase the age of adoption of children left orphan by the Dec. 26 disaster, the justice minister said Monday. The government will soon amend existing laws to help tsunami victims that will expedite issuing of death certificates and increase the age of adoption of children left orphan by the Dec. 26 disaster, the justice minister said Monday. “The amendments are to overcome prevailing laws that are inadequate to deal with certain issues after the tsunami,” John Seneviratne, justice minister told reporters.

Under existing laws a person is presumed dead only if he is not heard of or seen for 12 months, but under the amendment if a person believed to be a tsunami victim has not been seen or heard of, a month after Dec. 26 then a death certificates can be issued, he said.

Similarly, the adoption age for children will be increased from 14 to 18 years, Seneviratne said, stressing that the this law will apply “only in respect of tsunami affected children.”

Some 1,000 children were left orphan after the South Asian tsunami hit the island’s coast. Since then, the government’s main child protection insti