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'I believed in those people, but they did nothing’ - wife of abducted Tamil activist

A Tamil activist who has been searching for her abducted husband for over a decade has spoken on her disappointment with the Sri Lankan government over its lack of progress in investigating enforced disappearances.

Vathana Sundararaj’s husband Stephen, a project manager at the Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) who had worked on exposing crimes committed by government-aligned paramilitaries including the EPDP, was abducted in May 2009 in Colombo. Though she had hoped for progress into investigating his disappearance with the change of regime in 2015, little tangible action has taken place. “I believed in those people, but they did nothing,” she told The Times last week.

With a potential return of the Rajapaksa family in next month’s presidential elections, she went on to state that she was “fearful” of what the future holds.

“I’ve visited Geneva to speak to the United Nations, I’ve spoken out a lot about this case,” she added.

“If the Rajapaksas win, I won’t feel safe for my family at all. I fear the threats will start again and the return of white vanning. I’ve made arrangements for my two adult sons to leave the country before the election because I am scared for them.”

“After 10 years the suffering doesn’t get any easier. Until I know otherwise, I believe my husband is alive, still held in some secret detention camp. But not knowing his fate is the worst situation of all. For us, there is still no conclusion.”

See more from The Times here.