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Vavuniya court blocks families of the disappeared from marking 1400 days of protest

Tamil families of the disappeared were blocked by Vavuniya's District Court from holding a demonstration to mark 1,400 days of continued protests, as Sri Lanka ramps up it's crackdown on Tamils in the North-East. 

Jayavanitha Kasipillai, the Head of the Association of Relatives of the Disappeared, has been ordered to appear before the court on January 4, 2021, for organising the demonstration.

Sri Lankan police filed an order for the ban on the protest citing coronavirus concerns. This is the latest act of intimidation faced by the families of the disappeared who have continuously braved heavy surveillance and intimidation by Sri Lanka's security forces since their protests began three years ago. 

Despite the ban on a larger protest, Tamil families defiantly held a demonstration in their roadside tent to mark 1,400 days of their ongoing protest, as they seek justice and answers to the whereabouts of their loved ones who are missing or were forcibly disappeared. 

Earlier this week, Sri Lanka's security forces attempted to stop Tamil families of the disappeared in Batticaloa from marking International Human Rights Day. The Sri Lankan police officers threatened the families that they would be forced into a quarantine centre if they continued to protest. 

Read more here: Tamils in Batticaloa brave police intimidation to stage protest.

Tamil families have demanded international justice as domestic mechanisms have repeatedly failed to achieve genuine progress on accountability and justice. 

Earlier this week, the International Truth and Justice project (ITJP) and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) called on the Sri Lankan government to explain in court the fate of hundred of Tamils and Sinhalese who are missing or forcibly disappeared, according to newly released government lists. 

The released data covers a range of dates, showing that more than 330 Tamils are listed as 'missing' from the final days of the armed conflict but the ITJP believe that the Office of Missing Person's (OMP) statistics have been grossly underestimated. 

Read more here: 'Just tip of the iceberg' - ITJP and JDS call for Rajapaksa and Silva to explain disappearances in court. 


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