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‘These families fear they’ll never find missing loved ones after Sri Lanka election result’

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The election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s new president only adds to the suffering of Tamil families searching for their loved ones, writes Aaron Fernandes for SBS News. 

‘About 20,000 people, mostly Tamils, are thought to be missing since the war – and no one has ever been held accountable for their disappearances.’

‘Their families, with no answers and diminishing hopes of ever knowing what happened, fear their missing loved ones are victims of enforced disappearances, allegedly orchestrated by the Sri Lankan government.’

‘Every day, they gather in roadside shacks across the country, sitting continuously for more than 1,000 days – a silent protest to demand answers and accountability for their loved ones.’

Read more here: 'Whoever becomes president our struggle will continue' 1000 days of disappeared protest marked in Vavuniya

‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the man accused of being behind a violent crackdown on Tamil separatists in the final years of the civil war, and alleged to have orchestrated the disappearances of political opponents, journalists and civilians, was elected president.’

‘Gotabaya has consistently denied any knowledge or involvement in the disappearances and war crimes.’

Read more here: Gotabaya vows to reject UN resolution on accountability

Ariyaratnam Annalutchmi is still searching for her son who was abducted in a white van by Sri Lankan government forces in 2008. Speaking to SBS News, Ariyaratnam said, ‘We are doing this not only for our children, but all those children that are missing, in the hope they’re still alive. For that, we sit here. We need closure, answers should be given. Our children should be released.’

Read the full article on SBS News here