Melani Manel Perera
The appeal launched for the World Day of the disappeared. The women are asking the government to investigate a case without looking at ethnicity or religion. With 12 thousand missing persons, Sri Lanka is the second country with the highest number of disappearances in the world. “Help us to find our children, without looking at our ethnicity or religion.” This is the appeal launched by Tamil mothers, yesterday, on the occasion of World Day of the disappeared. A collective of various civil society groups, mostly Christians, has organized a commemoration in Colombo, to demand the government of Sri Lanka investigate and reveal the truth about the disappearance of the children of these women, during the long years of ethnic conflict.
Fernando Brito, Catholic activist for human rights and president of the Families of the Disappeared, was present at the meeting: “In the past, we did great things for the missing south of the country. Now, however, our President Mahinda Rajapaksa marginalises us as if we were people who do not love our land. We’ve had enough of seeing these mothers crying for their loved ones, be they Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim … Whoever they are, they are mothers of this country. We should do something constructive. ”
According to a UN study, Sri Lanka is the second country with the highest number of disappeared in the world, with about 12 thousand missing persons. In over 30 years, during the ethnic conflict that has bloodied the island, both the state and Tamil rebels were responsible for the large number of missing.
Tamil MP, M.A. Sumanthiran, denounces that “there is no change in reality, the emergency measures have been removed but the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is still in place”.
“We appreciate the determination of these women,” said Christian activist for human rights Nimalka Fernando. “Their group – she adds – asks the government of Sri Lanka to investigate quickly and efficiently each disappearance on an individual case basis, to implement a directive requiring security forces to operate within the Constitution and laws; to identify, investigate and prosecute organizations and individuals responsible. “