02/22/2018, 10.39
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European Union calls on Sri Lanka to activate Office for Missing Persons

by Melani Manel Perera

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.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Government of Sri Lanka "must honor their commitments on the Office for Missing Persons and transitional justice". This is the invitation launched on 20 February by the European Union in a tweet asking the Colombo authorities not to waste more time in bringing justice for the victims of the civil war and answers for the families of the disappeared.

The EU complains that "nothing is being done on the issue of the disappeared in Sri Lanka". Then it underlines that "without clarity about the fate of their missing or disappeared loved ones, many Sri Lankans will not be able to participate in national reconciliation".

The appeal comes close to a protest demonstration organized in Kilinochchi [in the Jaffna peninsula, ed] by relatives of the disappeared or kidnapped victims. They complain that their sit-in has been going on for a year now, with no authority ever being interested in their situation or giving them answers. They also say that seven elderly parents died in the past year. "How many other people will have to die before knowing the fate of their loved ones?", they protest.

The relatives of the disappeared reiterate their disappointment in the current government’s failure to address the issue. Last year, first in June and then in November, President Maithripala Sirisena met the families of the [forcibly] disappeared and promised them that he would deliver a list of those who had surrendered to the army in the last stages of the conflict. In turn, the family members have left in their hands a list with five requests: the list of names of those who surrendered before and after the war; the list of those who surrendered in the last weeks of clashes; the list of all the secret detention centers; [news] on the status of prisoners; the list of political prisoners arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). To date, the protesters conclude, "none of our requests have been accepted".

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