Groundviews

Appeal by the Families of the Disappeared

We, the Families of the Disappeared have been searching for our loved ones and calling for justice, for many years.

Many Commissions were established by the previous government to carry out inquiries regarding the missing. However, our search continues without any answers.

In 2013, former President Mahinda Rajapaksha established a Presidential Commission for the Investigate into Complaints regarding Missing Persons under direction of Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama.

Since our options were down to nothing and with the hope of finding our loved ones, we appeared during the Commission’s sittings. At the end of year 2015, the said Commission has not made any progress towards truth seeking.

Although affected communities, civil organizations, well-wishers and many others had presented various recommendations to reform the Commission, the government failed to take any action.

In January 2015 (this year) every one of us voted for change of government with the anticipation of adherence to rule of law and good governance.

We hoped that the new government would understand our search for justice and be sensitive towards our pain and longings; but once again they too turned a deaf ear to our voices. We went on peaceful processions, presented our recommendations to the Commission and appealed for changes but to no avail.

Therefore, we called for international community’s intervention. As a result, the UN through the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID), and also through the Recommendations of the 4th Resolution passed at the 30th Human Rights Council session sent a strong message to the government of Sri Lanka on our behalf. However, the government of Sri Lanka seems to show very little interest in the Recommendations of the UN and appeals by the international community.

We need a new mechanism which is reliable and would contribute towards truth-seeking and justice.

Considering the ill effects of the present Commission, the Families of the Disappeared in the districts of Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee boycotted the second public hearings of the Commission held this year.

Nevertheless the Commission has announced that they would hold their public sittings in the Jaffna district from 11th to 17th December 2015. This is a joint appeal, made by the Families of the Disappeared in the Jaffna district and Families of the Disappeared in the North and East.

We have no choice but to boycott the meaningless and ineffective Commission’s public hearings. We appeal UN and international community to once again call on the government to uphold their promises.

We call on the government to create a meaningful and reliable mechanism to which we are willing to contribute towards its effectiveness.

Until such a mechanism is created we will continue to boycott the public sittings of the Commission

Families of the Disappeared – North and East
December 8, 2015