Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Activists Remember Those Lost in Civil War

by CathNews India, October 28, 2010

Families of the Disappeared Movement’s reports indicate that there were over 45,000 disappearances in Sri Lanka during the 1980s. Another 75,000 more people have disappeared since 2004.

Activists and priests have joined with victims’ families to remember thousands of people who “disappeared” during Sri Lanka’s long civil war and insurgency.

Activists remember those lost in civil war thumbnail
Family members with photos of their loved ones who disappeared

“Forced disappearance is a crime against humanity. Let us not allow it to happen again,” rights activist Dr. P. Saravanamuttu told the 20th annnual commemoration ceremony organized by the Families of the Disappeared Movement in Colombo on Oct. 26.

“We all have a stake on this national issue. Now it is time to come together with concrete action and make it a matter of conscience of all citizens of this nation,” he added.

Delegates from leading political parties, civil society organizations, churches and embassies attended the event along with representatives from the Asian Forum Against Disappearance (AFAD).

Anglican Bishop Kumara Elangasinghe of Kurunegala accused the government of failing to stop the disappearances. “The government has an undeniable moral responsibility to stop these vicious practices,” he said.

Families of the Disappeared Movement’s reports indicate that there were over 45,000 disappearances in Sri Lanka during the 1980s. Another 75,000 more people have disappeared since 2004.

“We approached all possible authorities, police, ministers and many other influential people for help,” a relative of one disappeared person told ucanews.com. “Some politicians even misled us. Years have passed. Yet, not a single trace of them was found,” he said.

Oct. 27 is the Day of Commemoration of Forced Disappearances in Sri Lanka. A forced disappearance occurs when a person is secretly imprisoned or killed by agents of the state or by a criminal group.