TRG: Addressing Enforced Disappearances in Sri Lanka

Challenges, Concerns, and the Call for International Intervention

February 29, 2024 – Geneva, Switzerland

TRG Addressing Enforced Disappearances in Sri Lanka Feb 2024


Tamil Rights Group (TRG) met with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances in a private session and issued a comprehensive statement addressing the ongoing crisis of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka. The statement highlighted critical challenges, concerns, and the urgent need for international intervention to address this egregious violation of human rights. TRG also had the opportunity to present a joint statement on behalf of 8 victim organizations from the North and East of Sri Lanka.

TRG’s statement delves into various aspects surrounding enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka, including challenges to judicial independence, impunity for perpetrators, intimidation of victims’ families, shortcomings of existing mechanisms such as the Office of Missing Persons (OMP), concerns regarding Sri Lanka’s legal framework, and observations on Sri Lanka’s 2023 report to the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

**Challenges to Judicial Independence**

TRG underscores the alarming lack of judicial independence in Sri Lanka, particularly in cases of enforced disappearances where perpetrators often evade accountability due to undue influence and conflicts of interest within the judiciary. TRG highlights instances where victims’ pursuit of justice is thwarted by government interference, perpetuating impunity and denying closure to affected families.

**Impunity in Cases of Enforced Disappearances**

TRG condemns the culture of impunity in Sri Lanka, where perpetrators of enforced disappearances not only escape punishment but are sometimes rewarded with senior positions within the military and government. Tamil Rights Group emphasizes the need for tangible measures to prevent future disappearances and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.

**Intimidation, Harassment, and Surveillance of Victims’ Families**

TRG expresses grave concerns over the intimidation and harassment faced by victims’ families, including arbitrary arrests and surveillance by authorities. TRG calls for greater protection for these families and demands transparency from the Sri Lankan government regarding the fate of disappeared loved ones.

**Shortcomings and Failures of the OMP**

TRG highlights the inadequacies of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) in addressing enforced disappearances, citing bureaucratic hurdles and a lack of investigative power. Tamil Rights Group urges reforms to empower the OMP to fulfill its mandate effectively and provide answers to victims’ families.

**Concerns Surrounding Sri Lanka’s Legal Framework**

TRG criticizes Sri Lanka’s existing legal framework, including the Prevention of Terrorism Act, for enabling human rights violations and suppressing dissent. TRG calls for legal reforms to ensure justice and accountability for victims of enforced disappearances.

**Urgent Call for UN Intervention**

Finally, TRG issues an urgent call for international intervention, urging the United Nations to oversee justice for enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka. TRG emphasizes the need for an independent investigation and the appointment of a special rapporteur to address the issue comprehensively and impartially.

In conclusion, TRG asserts that only through concerted efforts and genuine commitment to truth, justice, and accountability can the scourge of enforced disappearances be eradicated, and solace provided to the victims’ families.

Tamil Rights Group would also like to acknowledge and thank ABC Tamil Oli for providing TRG with access to the UNHRC session this year as they are an ECOSOC accredited organization. We look forward to the continued collaboration.

For all media enquiries:
Katpana Nagendra, General Secretary and Spokesperson
 | + 1 (778) 870-5824

Comments are disabled on this page.