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British MPs call on Sri Lanka to release list of surrendered Tamils

British parliamentarians have called on Sri Lanka to release a list of all those who surrendered or were detained by the security forces during and after the armed conflict, in a message of support with families of the disappeared, as their protest passes 300 days.

Noting that 300 days would have passed since the protests began, Paul Scully, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, said “it is a milestone which speaks to the immense bravery and courage of the families, who have continued their struggle despite the challenges of old-age, exposure to the elements and routine intimidation”.

“But it is also one which reflects the government of Sri Lanka’s frankly shocking indifference to some of its most vulnerable and traumatised citizens.”

“I was appalled to learn from the protestors deeply moving open letter last week, that seven individuals have passed away since the demonstrations began,” he added.

In particular the parliamentarian highlighted the call for the release of all those who surrendered or were detained by Sri Lankan security forces.

“Unfortunately, despite a pledge in June from President Sirisena that he would act on this key issue, little seems to have been done,” he added. “Meanwhile, doubts have continued to grow among families about what the government’s long promised Office on Missing Persons (OMP) can really deliver so long as access to this potentially vital evidence is denied.”

“As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, I wish to extend my fullest support to the protesting families of the disappeared, and urge the government of Sri Lanka to take their grievances seriously. I have repeatedly stressed my belief that the government of Sri Lanka must speed up the pace of its reforms if it is to succeed in building a just and lasting peace and the release of this list is surely among the most urgent, yet achievable, steps that it could take.”

See more from the Sri Lankan Campaign here.

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