Tamil families of the disappeared have demanded international action, as they marked International Human Rights Day with over 1390 days of protest this week.
In a statement by the Association of Relatives of the Disappeared, the groups said the much-lauded Office of Missing Persons “has also come to an end in the same way as earlier Commissions, established by the Sri Lankan Government”.
For the past 1390 days, we have been engaged in a series of struggles, especially in the midst of the great epidemic threat,” said the families. “78 parents of our missing relatives have lost their lives in the ongoing series of struggles for justice,” they added.
“The 78 parents who fought for justice with us in past years are not with us today. The cause of their death was the tragedy of the disappearance their children and the continuing pressure of Sri Lankan state terrorism. We would like to point out that along with their loss, their testimony has also been destroyed.”
The families went on to highlight how Tamils had been abducted by the Sri Lankan security forces from 1990 to 2009, and that there are still “many eyewitnesses to the disappearance of our relatives after their arrest or surrender”.
“But they have been continuously threatened by government forces and investigators,” they added.
“Despite the moral responsibility and obligation of the Government of Sri Lanka to reunite our children and relations with us, to this day it continues to haunt us by deliberately refusing to hand over our relations and children to us. Justice cannot be expected from the perpetrators.”
“The responsibility for obtaining the right response from the Sri Lankan government rests with the United Nations and the international community,” the statement concluded.
Read the full text of the statement here.