About 280 Tamils, including 29 children, who had surrendered before the Sri Lankan Army on the final day of the war against the LTTE in 2009, had gone missing in the single largest incident of enforced disappearance in the country’s history, according to a rights group report.
The International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) website has listed 280 names of enforced disappearances of people in Sri Lanka which included at least 29 children, a release from the ITJP said.
“This is the largest single group of enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka’s history – hundreds of people disappearing at the same time and place with multiple eyewitnesses both inside and outside the country,” ITJP executive director Yasmin Sooka was quoted as saying in the release.
Calling on Sri Lanka’s Office of Missing Persons to question the military commanders if it wants to recover the truth about these cases, the ITJP claimed that the commanders had even shook hands with the surrendered Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) leaders, who were alleged to have been executed.
“On the final day of the war, the Sri Lankan Army made loud speaker announcements urging Tamils to surrender, promising them an amnesty.”
The ITJP, the release said, urges that Sri Lanka civil society in one voice demand to know the plight of the 29 Tamil children, last seen with their families in the custody of the Sri Lankan Army on or around May 18, 2009.
“Nine long years have gone by and their grandmothers and mothers should not be left alone to stand on the roadside demanding the truth while exposed to intimidation and threats from the security forces,” Sooka said.
The Sri Lankan government has denied executing those who had surrendered despite demands from the UN Human Rights Council for an independent international probe into alleged war crimes.