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Families of the disappeared in Mannar demand justice and accountability for forcibly disappeared relatives

Tamil families of the disappeared in Mannar  held a protest today, voicing their deep-seated distrust in the Office of the Missing Persons (OMP) and the government's processes surrounding the enforced disappearances of their relatives.

Protestors made their dissatisfaction clear through powerful slogans, particularly highlighting their rejection of the 200,000/= compensation offered in exchange for accepting the certificate of death issued by the OMP. Their chants echoed, "We don't want the OMP nor their 200,000/=."

During the protest, the families of the disappeared demanded the involvement of international actors in any investigative processes relating to the missing individuals. They expressed their hope that the United Nations, in particular, would play a significant role in achieving justice for their loved ones. Manuel Uthayachandra, the head of the Mannar association of the families of the disappeared, addressed the media, saying, "We have placed our trust in the United Nations for justice, and we hope that at least in the current session there will be some progress made. We have been protesting and searching for our relatives for over 15 years."

Uthayachandra drew attention to the increasing number of mass graves being discovered, asserting that if all the army camps were removed, more mass graves would likely be unearthed. He also raised concerns about the army's custody of their arrested children, speculating that if the military did not have custody of them, it was highly probable that the army itself had been responsible for their deaths and the subsequent burial of their bodies. Uthayachandra pointed out that this was why the military resisted releasing the occupied lands and why the government continued to settle Sinhalese people in their ancestral lands, as well as constructing Buddhist temples in the North-East.

The discovery of mass graves, such as the one in Mullaitivu, provides a glimmer of hope for resolving some cases of disappearances. However, the likelihood of reaching a satisfactory conclusion through investigations is highly improbable due to the direct involvement of the military and current government officials in many of the cases of the disappeared.


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