Image courtesy Today
His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
In the journey towards good governance where are our loved ones who have been abducted, arrested, and disappeared?
The 3 decades of war in our country affected all communities, irrespective of ethnicity and religion and left them with unforgettably painful experiences.
We are the relatives of those who have been abducted, arrested, and disappeared by agents of the state or different armed groups. With our lives and emotions, in different ways, we have been searching for our loved ones who have not returned home, and who we believe are being held in illegal and secret ways.
In your 100 days programme of good governance why is there no space for us, and to date, no information about our loved ones who were abducted, arrested, and disappeared?
We too are part of the people who have an unshakable hope in your efforts to build good governance, that we too will be freed from suffering.
We have been searching for our loved ones for many years in the hope that they will come back to us. We are holding this fast to bring to you our demands to include the search for our loved ones in your agenda of good governance.
These are our demands to achieve freedom for our loved ones and freedom for our lives, which we place yet again on your agenda for good governance:
- Take immediate action in the cases of our loved ones who have been abducted, arrested and disappeared and rescue them from whatever circumstances they are currently in so they can come back to us as soon as possible.
- Respect our strong belief that our loved ones who have been abducted and disappeared are still alive:
- Why does the state call those of us whose husbands have been disappeared as widows?
- Why are the names and details of our missing loved ones erased from the electoral lists by the state?
- When we wish to get a passport for our child why do they ask for a death certificate of our husbands?
In these situations we, including you, are being asked to ‘put to death’ our loved ones who have been abducted, arrested and disappeared.
Until they come home, the structures of government should practice alternative ways that are respectful of our faith that our loved ones are alive.
- Cancel the issuing of death certificates. We do not want the death certificate based on the assumption that the people who have been abducted, arrested and disappeared are not alive. The conditionality that compensation will only be given if we register them as dead should be stopped.
- Expedited investigations should be conducted to find those who have been abducted, arrested and disappeared.
- Speed up the process of the established commissions to find out the truth about those who were abducted, arrested and disappeared, we ask that investigations into those who were responsible and those who we alleged as being involved, should be conducted in front of us.
- Release without any conditions those who are being held in Illegal and secret detention centers.
- Stop immediately the threats, the harassment, the fear, even the fear of being disappeared ourselves, that we have faced as women, mothers, and individuals, in our journey of searching for our loved ones all these years.
The actions we undertake with the objective of finding solutions to alleviate the painful experiences and effects of the war are for all ethnic groups and should not be used for any politically motivated objectives.
Until we get an immediate response to all our demands, in your 100 day work plan, we will continue the journey for searching for our loves ones in different ways.
We strongly hope that your actions will legitimize the trust we placed in you through our vote for a real change.
Family members of those who have been abducted, arrested and disappeared
February 16, 2015
Presented at the one-day fast in front of Gandhi Square, Batticaloa on 16th February 2015 by the family members of those who have been abducted, arrested and disappeared.
- His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Democratic socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
- Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
- Hon. Vijayakala Maheshwaran
- Deputy Minister Women’s Affairs
- Hon. Austin Fernando
- Hon. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe
- Hon. Judge, District Court,Batticaloa
- Hon. Judge, Magistrate’s Court, Batticaloa
- Hon. Judge, High Court, Batticaloa
- Ms. P.S. M. Charles, The District Secretary