Tamil mother at a protest in Vavuniya earlier this month
People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) released a statement in solidarity with the Tamil families of victims of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka where there is an estimate of 60,000 - 100,000 disappearances from the 1980s until the end of the armed conflict.
To mark the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances, families of the disappeared have organised large scale protests in Batticaloa and Jaffna despite "an increasing clampdown on dissent by the Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist government," the statement said.
They have released a set of demands to the international community as they have lost faith in any domestic processes. The demands are:
- The release of any information on all currently detained political prisoners;
- Information on all those who were kidnapped and/or kept in refugee camps before and after the war and;
- The immediate release of any prisoner currently being detained.
"For too long, the plight of the families of the disappeared has been used as a talking point and a prop for politicians and the international community, but no concrete measures have been taken," said PEARL's Executive Director Tasha Manoranjan.
"The international community contributed to the destruction of Tamil lives and Tamil aspirations in 2009 - it is no time for the same international community to meet the demands of the families of the disappeared."
While Tamil families, mostly women, have been campaigning for over a decade, they have been continuously protesting for over 1,250 days, demanding the fate of their relatives to be revealed. Since the beginning of their protests, over 73 relatives have passed away without knowing the fate of their loved ones.
See PEARL's full statement here.