21 March 2018
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  • » 09/21/2015, 00.00


    Tamil women ready to forgive murderers but they want the truth

    Melani Manel Perera

    Some 30 women met near the capital. The ‘eye for eye, tooth for a tooth’ attitude has not brought results. Victims’ relatives are still waiting for justice. The Families of the Disappeared association supports the search for the disappeared. An independent authority to investigate war crimes should be set up because "we need a peaceful environment to live in after so many years of suffering."

    Colombo (AsiaNews) – Some 30 Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese widows said that they are willing to "forgive the killers, whoever they are and for whatever crime they committed against our loved ones; however, we want to know the truth about what happened to our husbands, sons, and brothers."

    They spoke at a meeting organised by the Families of the Disappeared (FOD), an association that help the relatives of civil war victims. The event was held in Negombo about 40 km away from the capital, on the island nation’s west coast.

    "We do not want to punish those who harmed” the victims, some participants told AsiaNews. “We just want them to come home. We want to know what happened to them and where they are."

    This is the first time since the end of the civil war that pitted the army against Tamil Tiger rebels between 1983 and 2009 that the families of victims and missing people have shown some willingness to forgive the perpetrators.

    During the meeting, the women appealed to the government, which recently returned land to displaced Tamils. "Please, tell us the truth. If they are locked up in detention camps, please let them out! We do not want to know where the camps are; we just want them to come home.”

    “If you killed them, tell us when and why they suffered such an unjust fate. We have a right to know, because the missing people are our loved ones: our beloved sons, husbands, brothers and sisters."

    The meeting provided an opportunity to share information about missing people. Victims’ families did not limit their research to the northern and eastern provinces (where most of the civil war took place), but broadened its scope to the whole island, hoping to find answers.

    In their testimony, people related how their loved ones were taken from their villages, brought to police stations or army barracks where they were arrested on false charges. "They surrendered, and never came back."

    For the women, the ‘eye for eye, tooth for tooth’ attitude towards the harm received did not bring any results so far. "For this reason, we must forgive and seek justice right away. We have been demonstrating, protesting, and marching for our relatives for far too long."

    Relatives of the victims are ecstatic about the UN war crimes resolution that last week blamed again former President Rajapaksa for abuses.

    They also approve the government’s decision to set up an independent inquiry "but the timing of implementation is too long. We need a peaceful environment to live in, after so many years of suffering. "

    Finally, FOD president Fernando Brito said that his association would continue to provide support to the relatives of the disappeared. "We will provide them with support during the trials as well,” he said. “We need to move forward with a new positive attitude. We must use nonviolence to achieve our goals."

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    See also

    04/03/2008 SRI LANKA
    Election in Batticaloa a foregone conclusion
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    10/06/2014 SRI LANKA
    Batticaloa, government closes investigations into civil war abductions
    The Presidential Commission heard 195 people and registered 216 new complaints. The new phase of inquiry to be held in Mullaitivu. The president of Families of the Disappeared (Fod) says they have "no confidence" in the work of government officials.

    19/11/2013 SRI LANKA
    Civil War victims want the government to say where their army-abducted relatives are
    During the meeting of the leaders of Commonwealth on 15-17 November, hundreds of Sri Lankans, from north to south, met foreign journalists to tell their tragic stories. During the conflict, husbands and sons were taken away in white vans never to be seen again. "The president knows the truth," some say.

    02/09/2014 SRI LANKA
    Vavuniya: relatives of missing people want the government to stop atrocities
    Hundreds of people gather to honour those who went missing during and after the civil war. "We believe that our children are still alive," said a woman. "I call on President Mahinda Rjapakasa to find a solution to our tears, and stop once and for all these brutal kidnappings."

    22/02/2018 10:39:00 SRI LANKA - EU
    European Union calls on Sri Lanka to activate Office for Missing Persons

    In a tweet the government is invited to give answers to the families of the victims. The Kilinochchi protesters recall a year of protests, during which seven elderly parents died.

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