Mothers and relatives of the disappeared marked International Women’s Day 2020 (8th March) with a protest in Mullaitivu, as they reached three years in the struggle for truth and justice for the their loved ones.
The rally started off at Selvapuram, Mullaitivu - where many mothers and relatives of the disappeared surrendered their children to the Sri Lankan army and lost their loved ones during the latter stages of the civil war in 2009 - and ended at the Mullaitivu District Secretariat.
The mayor of Mullaitivu was in attendance at the rally, to address the mothers of the disappeared who went to Geneva to urge for an enquiry into their missing ones, at the 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council.
Local stores in Mullaitivu also closed down in solidarity of the protest held today.
Over 500 people attended the rally and wore black ribbons across their forehead in protest, including fathers and sisters of the church, politicians, the families of the disappeared, community representatives as well as many young and elder locals.
Protestors displayed their calls and demands to the government on placards wrote in Tamil, English and Sinhala. Some of the placards read;
“On a day such as this, when everyone is speaking up for Women’s rights, the government has made us stand on the streets and cry.
“When you were Foreign Defence Minister, we handed over our children to you. We don’t want you to delay this any further, we want a proper judicial enquiry”
“Will our fight for justice be forgotten since the 43rd session was left?”
“Gotabaya government, where are the ones you took?”
“If the answers to our children handed over to the military are death certificates, who are the killers?”
"President, did you bury our children alive?"
"How many more have to die for your ignorance?
Demonstrators were threatened by police officers in plain clothes and military investigators and took photographs of those participating in the protest.