Tamil families of the disappeared marked 1,580 days of continuous protest in Mullaitivu today despite the surveillance by Sri Lankan police.
The demonstration on Monday was carried out under the surveillance of local police and Sri Lankan state investigator officers. The families have been protesting continuously in Mullaitivu since March 8, 2017, demanding to know the whereabouts of their family members, the majority of whom had been handed over to the Sri Lankan Army at the end of the armed conflict in May 2009. Despite their efforts, they continue to be ignored by the Sri Lankan government.
Sri Lankan police officers attempted to intimidate the families by photographing and videoing the protesters. Since their protests began, Tamil families have been faced with intimidation, harassment and physical attacks by Sri Lanka's security forces.
Demonstrators held placards and banners with slogans such as "The international community, when will we get justice?" and "Where are our children that we handed over to the [SriLanka] military".
Since the end of the armed conflict in May 2009, the families of the disappeared have participated in various government commissions but to no avail. Other mechanisms related to transiitonal justice such as the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) have also failed to address their demands.
Tamil families of the disappeared as well as Tamil civil society have been calling for an internaitonal accountability mechanism as Sri Lanka's promises to provide justice and accountability via domestic mechanisms have repeatedly failed.