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5,671 cases of disappearances remain outstanding in Sri Lanka

According to the Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, 5,761 cases of involuntary disappearances remain outstanding in Sri Lanka.  The report was submitted to the 19th session of UNHRC on 06th Feb 2012.

However, these numbers do not include disappearances that had taken place in the Wanni during 2007- 2009.

The report says that the Sri Lankan government didn’t respond to any of those general allegations.

The report comments,

”Allegations were made about the absence of impartial investigations, prosecution, trial and sentence of alleged perpetrators of human rights violations. According to the sources, existing mechanisms such as police and existing human rights commissions, among others, have proved unable to assist the families of the victims of enforced or involuntary disappearances in their search for their beloved ones. It was alleged that families did not have access to relevant information and that there was no centralised list of detainees in each detention centre to which relatives could refer.

Sources also reported that there was a lack of substantial progress on the several reconciliation initiatives that were set, which have allegedly failed to provide the victims with answers on the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared and to provide accountability of alleged perpetrators of human rights violations; among other obligations incumbent upon States where enforced or involuntary disappearances have occurred. In this connection, it was alleged that few had been prosecuted, subjected to trial and sentenced, despite the almost three years that have elapsed between the end of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Sources alleged that there was a lack of transparency in the practice of various commissions of inquiry, the lack of public character of their reports and the denial of their access to the victims, families and civil society.

On 16 October 2006, the Working Group requested the Government of Sri Lanka to extend an invitation to undertake a mission to the country. The Government replied that it would not be possible to schedule a visit during the proposed dates, and that the interest of the Working Group would be given due consideration. Reminder letters were sent on 20 July 2009, 16 August 2010 and 20 July 2011.

Since its establishment, the Working Group has transmitted 12,460 cases to the Government; of those, 40 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the source, 6,535 cases have been clarified on the basis of information provided by the Government, 214 cases were found to be duplications and were therefore deleted, and 5,671 remain outstanding.


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