It has been almost nine years since the end of the war in 2009, the search for justice for those enforced disappeared by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has remained a mirage. The first anniversary of the awareness campaign by the relatives demanding information has already passed the August 30th day to remember those who have enforced-disappeared.
Sri Lanka ranks number one in the number of people missing due to enforced disappearances. Ignoring all international human rights laws, the continuing disappearances is a blight on Buddhist philosophy that the officially proclaimed Buddhist state of Sri Lanka claims to uphold.
Today, the awareness campaign demanding accountability for those enforced-disappeared has passed one year with the hope of getting justice from the GoSL, which continues to disregard all the promises it made to the UNHRC.
During the past year, the GoSL had given many assurances, none of which were fulfilled. The Deputy Minister of Defence Ruwan Jeyawardena gave written assurance which was dishonoured. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his 2016 Thai Pongal speech in Jaffna, flippantly stated that none of the enforce disappeared are alive. The Tamils perceive this as a vicious diversionary tactic by the GoSL to shift the blame.
President Maithripala Sirisena met the relatives on July 26, 2017 and promised to release three lists of names, shortly. The first list was to contain the names of those who were taken into custody and those who are detained. The second list was to give the names of those who were detained in secret detention camps. The third list was to contain the names of those arrested under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act. Not only these promises were never fulfilled but also the President stated that no one has ever been detained in secret detention camps. During the last stages of the war, over 18,000 were taken into custody by the army. Minister Ranjan Wijeywardena promised to act on those taken into custody. Yet, nothing has been done as promised. Therefore, all the assurances and promises given by the ministers and politicians have never been fulfilled.
In August 2016, the parliament passed a motion for the creation of the “Office of Missing Persons.” This has not been implemented yet. The “Masters of Good Governance” have perfected the art of deception when it comes to promises made to the Tamils and the international community. The racist GoSL continues to deny information to the relatives demanding information about their loved ones.
We request the international governments to put pressure on the GoSL to deliver what they had already promised multiple times to the relatives of enforced disappeared. We pledge to move this request forward to the General Assembly of the United Nations seeking justice and reparations for the victims.
International Council of Eelam Tamils