Tamil activists have been "abducted, tortured and raped because of their involvement in the search for the truth about the disappeared in Sri Lanka," the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) said in their press release, marking International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.
The young activists "collected names or helped with protests or assisted the families of the disappeared to register complaints" before they were detained, the ITJP noted. Since 2015, at least 15 victims have been granted refugee status in the UK.
"In detention they experienced brutal torture at the hands of the security forces, such as whipping of the soles of the feet, blows to sexual organs, cigarette burns, branding with a heated metal rod, water torture, asphyxiation, suspension in stress positions, mock executions and death threats, as well as rape, including gang rape," the press release stated.
"On the International Day of the Disappeared, we remind the Sri Lankan state that it cannot continue to persecute and send white vans after those who just want to know what happened to their loved ones," Ms Yasmin Sooka, the Executive Director at ITJP said.
"It is a travesty that hundreds of people can disappear on one day in one location and after more than a decade nobody in the military has even been questioned. Instead those who demand justice are further victimised," Ms Sooka added.
"The international community now has a moral responsibility to the families who demanded justice, thinking there would be a transitional justice process. Instead of lining up to shake hands with politicians and generals to express their support for the new government, diplomats in Colombo should be photographed with the Families of the Disappeared and their brave lawyers to champion their quest for the truth and show their continued support," she added.
Read the ITJP's full release in English here and in Tamil here.
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