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‘Why is there an OMP office?’ – Tamil Families of the Disappeared protest in Mannar

In the city of Mannar, in Sri Lanka’s Northern province, Tamil Families of the Disappeared stage a protest outside the Office of Missing Persons holding placards that ask why the office exists.

Demonstrators hold up placards calling for the removal of the offices and demanding an international investigation. Speaking to journalists the relatives of the disappeared rejected the 2 lakh rupees offered by the government and insisted that if the government could give back their children, they would sell their homes and give them 4 lakhs, if not ten.

“We don’t want two lakhs, we don’t want a death certificate, we want our children” a protester stated.

These protests are the latest in a series of demonstrations that have lasted over 2,000 days. Speaking with Tamil Guardian, relatives of the disappeared have repeatedly cast doubt over the domestic-led initiative and have appealed to the international community to deliver justice. An estimated 138 protesters have died without knowing the fate of their loved ones.

Read more here: ‘The OMP is an inactive mechanism’ - Tamil families of the disappeared speak to Tamil Guardian at the UNHRC

The latest report from the UN Human Rights Council has found that the OMP has “not been able to trace a single disappeared person”.

Last week, Mahesh Katundala, the OMP chairman said that a genocide of Tamils did not take place and instead claimed the military had “rescued 60,000 civilians” during a 2009 offensive that was littered with massacres. Tamil families have repeatedly reiterated their lack of confidence in domestic mechanisms such as the OMP, as they have failed to produce any tangible results since the office was established in 2017.

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