The former chief minister of the Northern Province C V Wignewaran has called on the UN Human Rights Council to take up the issue of Tamils who have been forcibly disappeared, after Sri Lanka’s president claimed that missing Tamils “are actually dead”.
“I urge the international community, and on behalf of our people, to clarify these questions through a proper international and independent inquiry into the sudden declaration of the deaths of tens of thousands of people were disappeared,” Wigneswaran said in a statement last week.
“The president that has declared that the disappeared are in fact dead, has a responsibility to the relatives of the disappeared, to the people of the country, to the international community and to the United Nations to give a detailed explanation as to which investigation determined where, how and by whom the disappeared have been killed.”
Wigneswaran, a former Supreme Court justice, slammed Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s earlier statement, calling it “the very antithesis of ‘transitional justice’ that the victims of the war expected”.
“The relatives of the disappeared have been living for many years hoping that their loved ones are still alive in some corner of the island and that they’d once again be able to hear the voices,” he said. “The president has issued this statement that the disappeared are dead in order to completely erase our struggles.”
Rajapaksa made the remarks to the United Nations’ resident co-ordinator Hanaa Singer, during a meeting earlier this month, sparking condemnation from Tamil families of the disappeared who have spent years searching for their loved ones.
The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) has called on the United Nations to respond to claims made by Sri Lanka’s president.