02/22/2024, 12.51
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Tamil: truth and justice for the 'desaparecidos

by Melani Manel Perera

Seven years after the beginning of the struggle to get the truth from the government about the fate of 200,000 people forcibly disappeared during the war in the north and east of Sri Lanka, a procession brought family members and activists to the streets. "Rajapaksa will answer before an international court for these people who disappeared".

Kilinochchi (AsiaNews) - "We ask again and with greater force the international community to intervene and help us obtain truth and justice from the Sri Lankan government, which for 7 years has not responded to the request on what happened to our missing relatives", he said Yogarajah Kanakaranjani, president of the Association for Relatives of Enforced Disappearances (Ared) in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

In fact, February 20th was the 7th anniversary of the start of the Tamil struggle to find out the truth about the fate of their missing family members in the north and east of Sri Lanka. For the occasion, the association for relatives of forced disappearances organized a protest march along the main road in Kilinochchi in the north of the country.

Hundreds of members of Ared, from the 8 northern and eastern provinces of the island, participated in the protest march carrying with them photographs of the missing people, black flags and various placards and banners in Tamil with slogans such as: “We want truth and justice ", "We don't want death certificates, we want to know where our loved ones are", "All those responsible must be brought before the International Commission" and "We need international investigations".

There are thousands of Tamils, including many children and young people, disappeared after being taken away or handed over to the Sri Lankan security forces, especially the military, during and after the war: according to Ared data, in 2009, more than 200,000 people disappeared.

“We hope that former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who killed and disappeared many members of our community, will answer before the International Court,” Yogaraja Kanakaranjani said.

She added: “We have faced various problems and threats over the years from the police, army and secret services while searching for the truth about what happened to our relatives over these 7 years.

The international community should understand and provide solutions for justice." Furthermore, during the march all Tamil people living abroad were asked to join this fight in front of the embassies of those countries.

Some activists from Colombo, Christian priests, and a Buddhist monk also participated in the protest march along with the family members of the victims. Father Amila Jeevantha Peiris, representing the Colombo Aragalaya and the People's Council Movement, said: “The governments of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa have carried out and are still carrying out an anti-justice program by building offices for the missing and giving money to their families, but in this way they make fun of and further trample on the Tamil people in the north. For the sake of justice and fairness, the people of the north and south unite and protect the rights of victims of enforced disappearances."

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