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North-East civil society call for action marking 1 year of disappearance protests

Civil society groups across the North-East have called for action in a joint statement, marking one year of protests by families of the disappeared. 

"Today marks one year since Families of the Disappeared took to the road in Kilinochchi, Marunthankerny (Jaffna), Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Mullaitivu demanding answers about the fate of their disappeared loved ones. Despite meetings with President Sirisena last year in which he agreed to meet the families’ demands for the release of lists of all detainees and surrendees as well as the release of all prior commission reports, to date no action has been taken to meet those demands. The undersigned civil society organizations stand in solidarity with the families’ as they continue to rightfully demand truth and justice and turn to the international community for support in these demands," the groups said. 

Signatories included: Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR), Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD), Jaffna Diocesan Laity Council, Jaffna University Students’ Union, Justice and Peace Commission, Diocese of Jaffna, Mannar Citizens Committee, SUYAM – Centre for Women’s Empowerment, SUYAMPU – Theatre Active, and the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF), as well as People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL). 

"The international community’s ‘soft diplomacy’ approach to Sri Lanka has only served to allow the government to place issues of truth, justice and accountability on the backburner, undermining any possibility of meaningfully addressing disappearances whether through the OMP or otherwise. Until and unless the voices of families of the disappeared are taken seriously in any efforts to address them, Sri Lanka will continue its cycle of letting down its most marginalized, and families will continue to suffer every day, wondering what happened to their loved ones."

"We unreservedly endorse the plea of the families and urge that the international community and institutions take responsibility for finding a solution to enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka," the groups added. 

Read full statement here