by PTI via The New Indian Express, February 25, 2019
At a well-attended gathering in Kilinochchi, the former LTTE stronghold, the protestors said they had no faith in any local probe and wanted the internationally-supervised process of accountability.
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated northern province observed a complete shut down on Monday with protestors demanding justice for thousands of disappeared persons of the brutal three-decade-long civil war against the LTTE that ended in 2009.
The families of the disappeared persons joined the protest and public transport, schools and government institutions remained shut with the civil society’s support, a Tamil party official said.
At a well-attended gathering in Kilinochchi, the former LTTE stronghold, the protestors said they had no faith in any local probe and wanted the internationally-supervised process of accountability for crimes committed in the final phase of the conflict.
“Ten years passed since the bloody war came to an end but nothing has changed significantly in our daily lives, we are still searching for our loved ones, our lands are still occupied by military and our homeland militarised,” placards at the rally read.
The protesters urged that the Sri Lankan government not be given any more time to implement the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolutions.
The protest came as the UN rights body began its 40th sessions in Geneva where Sri Lanka’s rights progress record will be scrutinized.
Since the 2015 resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, the government has taken some steps to ensure accountability over the alleged war crimes blamed both on the government troops and the LTTE.
The office on missing persons has been set up to redress the greviences of the relatives of the victims of enforced disappearances.
A reparations Act has been adopted which would lead to the setting up of the reparations body.
Since 2013, the three UNHRC resolutions have called for accountability for war crimes with an international probe.
Sri Lanka has resisted calls to opt for an international probe, citing the country’s Constitution does not permit foreign judges to operate in the island nation.
It faced UNHRC resolutions for alleged human rights abuses during the last phase of the brutal three-decade-long civil war against the LTTE that ended in 2009.
Sri Lanka’s human rights record, particularly over the impunity enjoyed by law enforcement officers, has been the subject of international condemnation.
The UNHRC has demanded accountability mechanisms to probe rights abuses blamed on both the LTTE and the government.
According to the government figures, around 20,000 people are missing due to various conflicts including the civil war with Lankan Tamils in the north and east which claimed at least 100,000 lives.