The Sri Lankan government has not shown any “genuine willingness to consult the victims” in order to set up a justice mechanism for prosecute for enforced disappearances said the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) and other Tamil organisations from across the North-East this week.
In a letter addressed to Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the 12 organisations and 26 individuals criticised the government’s lack of engagement with victims in setting up an ‘Office for Missing Persons’ (OMP). Stating that the “process to date has been handicapped by inadequate resources and has made very little progress,” the organisations said:
“We categorically state that an OMP that is designed without proper consultation with the victims and their communities would be unacceptable”.
“The Government despite repeated requests has also refused to engage with victims who are abroad in the consultation exercise,” it added.
The organisations also criticised the government for not using the term “enforced disappearances,” stating that it was “problematic because it denies the fact that a crime has been perpetrated which must be investigated so that those responsible may be prosecuted”.
It also called for “qualified foreign individuals known for their integrity, independence and professionalism” to be included in the composition of the OMP, stating that “without international involvement in the OMP it will be extremely difficult for the victims to place faith in the institution”.
See the full text of the letter here.
Edit: This article has been updated to note that 12 organisations and 26 individuals in total have signed the letter.