As Tamil families gather across the North-East to demand an account for their loved ones who were forcibly disappeared by the Sri Lankan military, US Ambassador, Julie Chung, met with Sri Lankan Minister for Tourism, Harin Fernando.
In a tweet the ambassador stated:
Good discussion w/ @fernandoharin about immediate & long-term plans to revive Sri Lanka’s tourism sector. I am eager to share SL’s natural beauty & fascinating culture with more Americans, and believe that a safe, sustainable return to tourism is key to SL’s economic recovery. pic.twitter.com/H0zvfw9vFS
— Ambassador Julie Chung (@USAmbSL) August 12, 2022
Chung is yet to comment on the continued protest of the Families of Disappeared which have reached 2,000 days.
In Vavuniya, a Tamil mother, Cassipillai Jeyavanitha, tells reporters:
"We've been protesting for 2,000 days but we still do not have any answers. We know this government will not give us any answers, that's why we are appealing to the international community."
"If we are not given any answers regarding the children that we handed over, then how can we go home?"
"If the government doesn't understand our struggle after 2,000 days then the international community must step in," she concluded.
In April, Chung met with the mothers of the disappeared and stressed the need “for both accountability and justice”. She further tweeted:
Everyone deserves to know what happened to their loved ones. Today I heard firsthand the heartbreaking stories of people who lost family members during the civil war - a reminder of the need for both accountability and reconciliation. pic.twitter.com/X8xP7YPpWk
— Ambassador Julie Chung (@USAmbSL) April 26, 2022
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances reported last year that Sri Lanka continues to have the second-highest number of enforced disappearances in the world, second only to Iraq, with 6,117 outstanding cases submitted to the organisation. These families have faced constant surveillance, intimidation and harassment by Sri Lankan authorities when engaging in peaceful protests.