Association for Relatives of the Enforced Disappearance
North & Eastern Province
Hon Ms. Michelle Bachelet Jeria,
The High Commissioner
Human Rights commission,
Justice for the families that are suffering from enforced disappearance in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
Today 30 August is the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances that has been observed since 2011 by the United Nation all over the world. The enforced disappearance has been well evident since 1958 in Sri Lanka. The incidence of enforced disappearance by the government forces has been accelerated since the 1980s and became worse in the 1990s when the Tamils from the Eastern province of the country were made forcefully disappeared by the government forces and paramilitary groups. The situation further worsened in 2008 and 2009 that affected thousands of families from the North and East of Sri Lanka. Believing the statements and promises of the Sri Lankan forces thousands of individuals including, men, women, children, and infants surrendered and handed over to the Sri Lankan forces by the end of the war in May 2009. Altogether, the total disappearance of Tamils in North and East at the highest total of 23,000 individuals. This is evident by the 2009 UN Working Group on enforced disappearance to report and states Sri Lanka as the country with the second-highest number of enforced disappearances. We believe the available evidences could be enough not only to investigate the enforced disappearances, but also to prove and claim the war crime and genocide held in this country.
We the Association for relatives of the enforced disappeared from the North and East provinces of Sri Lanka have been appealing to the Sri Lankan government and humanitarian organizations, and UN OHCHR and protesting more than three years and so far lost 72 parents and relatives who have joined our efforts. We would like to proclaim that they lost their lives due to the tremendous depression and anguish they have been experienced due to enforced disappearances of their loved ones. Thus, we are frequently losing the lives of our members and their families due to the delay in the proclamation of justice for them from the relevant authorities.
In 2015, the international community involved in Sri Lankan politics and brought a new
government. Even with the extension of the 30/1 resolution of the UNOHCHR, the regime also
failed to bring justice for the people suffering from enforced disappearances.
Even after failure of many eye wiping missions and commission established in the past, we have been informed and insisted by the Sri Lankan government and the international community to accept the Organization for Missing Persons (OMP) officially established by the Sri Lankan
government on September 15, 2017. Though we did not believe on the credibility and the authority of the organization, we lodged first five cases with established evidences on 20/07/2019. Nevertheless, there were no progress in their investigations over the past 13 months. The new ruling regime of the the country went a step above and declared to withdraw from the co-sponsorship of the 30/1 resolution of the UNOHCHR. This is well evident the fact that none of the government with the Sinhala ethnocratic ideology in
parliament would pronounce a meaningful justice for the people from the deprived communities like us in the country.
Now we are in a quest whether the international community would accelerate the process to proclaim a meaningful justice for us or the events of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances would continue as a traditional event without a real meaning for it. At this juncture, we would like to request you to choose appropriate measures and recommendations to obtain justice for us through all the possible means of the humanitarian community, the United Nations general assembly, and Security council via conducting relevant international investigations, tribunals, and international criminal jurisdictions.
We are suffering from an ultimate pain that could be inflicted to a human being due to missing our loved ones related to us as husbands, wives, parents, children, grans children. As we mentioned earlier over the past three years, 72 of the fathers and mothers have lost their lives without any justice. We believe, as a fellow human being you and the human rights activists all over the world would feel our pain and sufferings and take timely and appropriate action to pronounce a meaningful justice for us.
Association for Relatives of the Disappeared
North & Eastern Province
by Australian Tamil Congress (ATC), British Tamils Forum (BTF), Irish Tamils Forum (ITF), Solidarity
Group for Peace and Justice (SGPJ) and the US Tamil Action Group (USTAG)
by People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL)
by Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)
HOW to submit a case of disappearance to the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances
More info at https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/DisappearancesIndex.aspx (see right hand side of page)