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Campaign in Mannar to protect Human remains of Mannar Mass Grave

Human skeletons of 269 people have been unearthed within 115 days of excavation of Mannar Mass Grave , the countries biggest mass grave which was discovered in May 2018 in Mannar city of Northern Sri-Lanka,  and this situation has raised serious concerns among human rights defenders and war affected communities on justice, future protection and non recurrence. Also the current political turmoils and instability of governance of Sri-Lanka has created questions and  loss of trust on rulers regarding  the protection of the unearthed human remains, truth seeking process and finding justice for the buried human lives.

Therefore, more than 1000 people of war affected communities and civil society sectors  from all eight districts of North and East of the country gathered in front of  Mannar Kachcheri on 12 December 2018 and read a memorandum which is addressed to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres  to take necessary measures to  protect of the human remains from mass graves under the responsibility of the United Nations.

The campaign was moderated by North East Coordinating Committee (NECC)


His Excellency Antonio Guterres, the General Secretary of the United Nations
Open appeal by the representatives of the people of the North and East of Sri-Lanka
UN ! Take the Responsibility to Protect the Unearthed Human Remains of Mass graves

Your Excellency!
During the 30 years of war and aftermath of the war thousands of people of North and East regions of Sri-Lanka have been enforcedly disappeared. There is no any news about them until to date. But in recent past two major mass graves have been discovered mainly in the Mannar District of Northern Province. In 2014 a mass grave was discovered in Thiruketheeswaram area of the district where 83 human skeletons were exhumed and stored in the Anuradhapura teaching hospital.

In May 2018 another mass grave has been discovered in the main city of Mannar. Until to date 276 human remains have been identified and skeletal remains of 269 people were unearthed and stored in the Mannar Magistrate Court. Among those unearthed human remains 21 are skeletons of children. Shockingly, on 6th December 2018 during the excavation a human skeleton was found with the leg bones tied together with a metal chain. This has spread shock and agony among
the grieved minority community.

Your Excellency!
The current political situation has created an insecure and unsafe situation to the people of the country, especially to the minorities. In this context there is no credibility that the human remains would be completely unearthed without
interference and protected and will be subjected to DNA tests.

Therefore, we plea Your Excellency General Secretary of the United Nations to take necessary measure to protect the unearthed human remains of the mass graves and subject the remains to DNA tests under the responsibility of the
United Nations.

We also call upon the United Nations to take prompt actions to safeguard the human rights of all and to provide justice for the victims of enforced disappearances, victims of torture and for the innocent civilians including children who were massacred and dumped in mass graves.

We urge the United Nations to continuously advice and guide the Sri-Lankan government:

• To ensure the security and safety of the human rights defenders and civil society workers
• To ensure the security and independent functions of the lawyers and judges who engage in habeas corpus cases
• To protect the victims and witness of human rights violations
• To ensure the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and the security and independent functions of the independent commissions

North East Coordinating Committee
12 December 2018


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