Marking 1414 days of protest, Families of the Disappeared (FOD) took the streets in Vavuniya demanding that the international community and UN refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court.
Their demands come in advance of the 46th UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva this March. They have written to ambassadors to the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia.
Commenting to reporters, a spokesperson from the protestors stressed on the importance of the decision the UNHRC is to make in March. He further stated:
“We are losing parents looking for children who went missing during our struggle”.
78 parents of the disappeared have died since the protests began.
TNPF leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and TMTK leader C. V. Wigneswaran have also called for Sri Lanka to be referred to the ICC noting that the UN-sponsored human rights resolution, which has now been abandoned by the government, has already been rolled back twice. Tamil parliamentarians and FOD have highlighted a persistent issue to hold Sri Lankan war criminals to account. FOD emphasised the need for an investigation into genocidal violence against Tamils which occurred during the armed conflict.
Last month Sri Lanka’s former Human Rights Commissioner, Ambika Satkunanathan, admitted that Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission could no longer be considered independent. This was after Sri Lanka’s President appointed an all-Sinhalese board to the Human Rights Commission in November under provisions of the recently passed 20th Amendment.
Emphasising the responsibilities of the UN, the spokesperson for the FOD said that the “UNHRC should not rest until Tamils receive justice with a secure political solution”.