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Families of disappeared slam inaction of Sri Lankan govt and TNA on 200th day of protest

Families of the disappeared have slammed the Sri Lankan government and TNA leadership for ignoring their demands, on the 200th day of their protest in Kilinochchi, stating that they did not expect the Sri Lankan government to ever deliver justice.

“The government is not even slightly concerned about our struggle,” the association for relatives of the disappeared said in a statement, pointing out that five mothers had died since the protest started.

Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena, has failed to fulfil promises made to the families on releasing lists of surrendees and detention camps, the association said, criticising the President’s decision to hold a meeting yesterday with select families.

“By taking some of us to some meetings, and others to other meetings, many different narratives are taking place,” they said.

Stating that some families were taken to voice support for the Office of Missing Persons by Colombo civil society, the group said “we are being pulled in different directions by parties operating with different agendas.”

None of those agendas would help them find their disappeared loved ones, the families said.

The families claim that they have been getting the message from the government that they should support the OMP to find out about their relatives, but that there would be no accountability for their disappearances.

“This is what our Tamil leadership is endorsing. [They] do not care about our demands. They only care about the journey they have entered with this government,” the association said.

“We are being forced to choose between finding our relatives and the desire for justice for their disappearances,” the families said, “but the reality is that in the end we’ll be left out in the cold without having found our loved ones, nor having found justice for their disappearances.”

“The Sri Lankan government has asserted again and again that it will never give us the justice our struggle demands,” the statement concluded, stating that a hybrid court with international oversight, as mentioned in UNHRC resolutions, were a must.

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