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Thousands sign petition to UN calling for action on enforced disappearances of Tamils

Thousands of people have signed a petition that was delivered to the United Nations and Canadian parliament last week, calling for action to be taken over the disappearances of tens of thousands of Tamils as families of the disappeared continue to protest across the North-East.

The petitions gathered 3,324 signatures from 38 different countries including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland, Germany and the United States of America amongst others, and were submitted to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and before the Canadian parliament.

A press release for the Solidarity Campaign for Protesting Tamil Families of the Disappeared detailed the protest taken on by families of the disappeared, stating “for over 500 days starting in February 2017, Tamil Families of the Disappeared from across the North-East of Sri Lanka sat in record-breaking heat, monsoon rains, and dust with the sole aim of trying to find their disappeared children”.

“As this session of the UN Human Rights Council winds down we hope that the petition is a reminder that families of the disappeared in the North-East still remain without answers and suffer every day not knowing where their loved ones are, regardless of whether the UN is in session or not” explained Dharsha Jegatheeswaran, Tamil-Canadian lawyer and co-organiser of the solidarity campaign.

Protesting Tamil Families of the Disappeared’ have made the following demands to the Sri Lankan government to:

- Return their disappeared loved ones or give them truth and justice

- Release a list of all those who surrendered to the Sri Lankan state in 2009

- Release a list of all secret detention centres and list of detainees (past and present)

- Release a list of all detainees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)