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‘International community must come forward to protect our fundamental rights’ – Tamil families of the disappeared

The families of the disappeared have called for the international community to "protect fundamental rights", as the Sri Lankan government cracked down on Maaveerar Naal commemorations in the Tamil homeland.

In their statement the families of the disappeared highlighted the denial of the fundamental rights of the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan government and military; the freedom to remember and assemble.

‘‘On this day, we have been igniting the fire in remembrance for the last 30 years. However this right has been denied by the new government this year. Since this government has come into power, the Tamils have been oppressed in many ways, including the imposition of land grabs Sinhala Buddhism, denial of freedom of worship, expression and right to memory.’’

Court orders prohibiting memorials were given to families of the disappeared associations in Mullaitivu, Amparai and Batticaloa.

‘‘These young people renounced the desires of their youth, and sacrificed their lives fighting for the liberation of the oppressed Tamils. Like everyone else, they could have stayed in the narrow circle of mum, dad, family relationship, work; however they didn’t think that way, and gave their lives for our race. Therefore these heroes are the children of all Tamils. November 27th is the day to remember all of them’’ stated the families of the disappeared, who have been fighting for justice for their forcibly disappeared relatives for 1376 days, having lost 79 parents on the way and struggling with health issues themselves.

The families of the disappeared further expressed their sufferance and questioned the possibility of living a normal life amidst constant threats from police, military and intelligence units, being treated as criminals and presented with court orders while constantly searching for their children who were forcibly disappeared.

‘‘The government and court which has not come forward to give justice to our children even in this situation, chases us and gives us the court order prohibiting the remembrance of Maaveerar Naal. The systematic Sinhala Buddhism sculpting in the historical homelands of Tamils, the chauvinistic treatment of Tamils as second class citizens, the brutal repression of the Tamil struggle by the Sinhala armed forces, denial of university admissions, the discrimination in employment were the reasons that induced the Tamil youth to take up arms.’’

Despite intimidation by the Sri Lankan state, Tamils all over the North-East commemorated Maaveerar Naal in a show of resistance. 

See more in our coverage: Tamil nation marks Maaveerar Naal 2020

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