President Sirisena must not delay upholding his promises to protesting families of the disappeared any longer

By: Dharsha Jegatheeswaran for Tamil Guardian (Published July 17, 2017)

“Maybe if we all commit suicide then they’ll turn around to look at us lying here and do something,” an amma says to me. “We are ready to die for our children,” another amma adds.  I’m in Kilinochchi, sitting once again with the families of the disappeared at their roadside protest. As of today, 148 days – that’s how long they have been sitting here. That’s over 4 months of stifling heat, perpetual dust and roadside pollution where these families have thought of nothing else beside the enforced disappearances of their loved ones.

Over the past 4 months, (primarily) women across all 8 districts of the North-East of Sri Lanka have commenced roadside protests with one simple goal – to see their children again. Sri Lanka’s 30-year long war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) resulted in over 60,000 enforced disappearances. Sri Lanka has the second-highest number of cases submitted to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disapeparances – after Iraq (see here). To date, the Sri Lankan government has failed to even criminalize enforced disappearances – most recently choosing to indefinitely postpone a debate about the bill to do so (see here). Women across Sri Lanka and civil society are currently campaigning to get that bill to criminalize enforced disappearances back into parliament for debate and to be passed (see here).

Read article in full here.