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The missing are considered dead says Sri Lankan prime minister

Missing people from the Tamil North-East of the island are considered to be dead said Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a speech to an audience in Jaffna this week.

Speaking at a Thai Pongal event in Jaffna, Mr Wickremesinghe stated both during and after the war many people had gone missing in the Tamil Northern and Eastern provinces.

In attendance were Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran and British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire.

Mr Wickremesinghe’s comments come just weeks after over 1,620 complaints were lodged before Sri Lanka’s presidential commission into disappearances, which held a sitting in Jaffna.

In November a Tamil family whose whereabouts were unknown after surrendering to the Sri Lankan military in May 2009, were dropped off by unknown persons in Jaffna, after more than six years in custody.

According to a 1999 UN Study Sri Lanka then already had the world's second highest rate of disappearances - the overwhelming majority of victims since 1990 being Tamils. Since then, thousands more have vanished since being taken into government custody. The Bishop of Mannar stated that the final 8 months of the war alone saw 146,679 Tamils unaccounted for.