Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Families of disappeared urge UN to back referendum following Rathnayake release

The families of disappeared expressed their deep concern at the “lack of justice in Sri Lanka as it fails to imprison murderers,” following the news that Sunil Rathnayake was released.

The former Staff Sergeant of the Sri Lankan Army, was given a presidential pardon yesterday and released from Welikada prison, despite being convicted after a 13 year trial for the murder of eight Tamil civilians in Mirusuvil in April 2001.  

In a statement released yesterday, they stated;

“Tamils should not believe in the accountability and justice from Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan president released an army soldier - who was sentenced to death for killing eight civilians during the country's civil war - on Thursday.

Therefore, the only solution [to this] is that Tamil people should break up as a separate nation. This is the result of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) turning the international investigation into a domestic investigation. 

We do not want internal investigations that would allow even murderers to be a judge. Tamil people are no longer ready to believe that the wolf is a protector to chickens. We must urge the UN for a referendum to ensure security for Tamils from genocidaires of Tamil people. 

Sri Lanka’s judicial system does not function independently. Within it, are interventions from rulers and the military. The country is heading towards militarisation.

Tamil people are being deceived. We cannot live together under a unitary state.”

Rathnayake’s release has been widely condemned by multiple human rights groups and political figures, including the UN, Amnesty International and the ICJ.

Many believe this to be an opportunistic exploit of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Sri Lanka President, who however continues to ignore the pleas from multiple Tamil political prisoners urging for their release.

He has previously stated before becoming President, that once in power, he would acquit and release ‘war heroes’ being held on ‘baseless’ charges.