6 December, 2020

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UN Should Break Its Silence Over Gota’s Comments On Enforced Disappearances: TCSF

The press statement released by the Presidential Media Division on 17.01.2020 in relation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s meeting with Hanaa Singer, UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, attributes the following views to President Rajapaksa with regards to the issue of enforced disappearances:

1. ‘missing persons are actually dead’

2. ‘Most of them had been taken by the LTTE or forcefully conscripted’

3. ‘after necessary investigations steps would be taken to issue a death certificate to these missing persons’

4. ‘Afterwards their families would be given the support they need to continue with their lives’.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

missing persons are actually dead’

The immediate question that arises from this assertion is how does President Rajapaksa know this? The TCSF demands that President Rajapaksa divulge his sources and evidence that support this sweeping statement. While Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe previously on 26.01.2016 had made a similar irresponsible remark in the course of an interview, given that President Rajapaksa served as the Secretary of the Ministry of Defence during the last phase of the war it is reasonable to assume that President Rajapaksa is speaking from facts that he is familiar with. If what President Rajapaksa says is correct both the incumbent Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva who commanded the 58 Division and the incumbent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Maj. Gen. Kamal Gooneratne must be able to shed light on what happened to those who surrendered during the last phase of the war. 

‘Most of them had been taken by the LTTE or forcefully conscripted’

This could only be partially true but even then the question remains – what justifies their disappearance and (if President Rajapaksa is correct), their extra judicial killing? Is President Rajapaksa unaware that the enforced disappearance and probable killing of surrendees would constitute a very serious violation of war crimes and a blatant violation of due process enshrined in the Sri Lankan Constitution?

‘after necessary investigations steps would be taken to issue a death certificate to these missing persons’

If the President has already concluded that the missing are dead, the reasonable question to ask would be as to what these ‘necessary investigations’ would entail – tracing or accountability? If the conclusion is that they are dead, tracing would be futile. Would the investigations then bring forth to justice those who committed the murder of those who were taken into custody? Given that President Rajapaksa had repeatedly promised during the campaign trail that he will not allow any army soldier to be held accountable, can we expect these investigations to follow due process? There are also reports that the Office of Missing Persons, set up by the previous regime to manage Geneva, might be further weakened, a further reflection of the hollowness of the promise of investigations. 

‘Afterwards their families would be given the support they need to continue with their lives’.

To dichotomise and ask the families of the disappeared to choose between economic support (in other words economic survival) and the yearning to know what happened to their loved ones  (in other words accountability) is cruel. President Rajapaksa must recognise that even the economically marginalised must also be respected when they demand the right to know and justice. To deny the economically impoverished of their rights is denying them of their dignity and is most fundamentally anti-democratic. 

Why is the UN silent?

It is significant that President Rajapaksa chose his meeting with the UN Resident Coordinator to state his position on enforced disappearances. The question then is what did the UN Resident Coordinator say in response? The UN will be well reminded to re-read the recommendations and conclusions of the Charles Petrie Report commissioned by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Writing about his 2012 report in 2014 Charles Petrie concluded that the systemic failure on the part of the UN was defined by ‘poor institutional reflexes and timidity’.  It seems like nothing has changed in the UN. Even if late, we demand a response from the UN. 

To all those who care about justice in Sri Lanka, we call for solidarity with the protesting mothers of the disappeared. The protest of the mothers is at the epicentre of the Tamil demand for accountability. Their struggle must be strengthened. 

Fr. V. Yogeswaran and Dr. K. Guruparan – Co-Spokespersons, Tamil Civil Society Forum

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Latest comments

  • 28
    10

    Kill the surrendered and offer money to the victims’ families (if only the families are alive and not killed inhumanely). Justice wouldn’t be delivered, because the killers are ranaviruwo and the victims are Tamil civilians. SL deserves the worst-ever curse.

    • 12
      25

      Mr. Bingo,
      /
      It’s ok.
      We will keep them as missing.
      So your politicians can beat the missing drum forever.
      It’s cheaper than consolidating family members.

      • 2
        1

        No worth commenting.to yours. But why not u start it again from the Kindergarten? Alone CT commenters to understand u should at least complete a healthy schooling. Perhaps your own children or grandchildren could show u the way Paskalburuthadiyo. One can eat Punnakku for the 3 times but

    • 14
      9

      It is obvious to anyone that those who are missing are dead. If their death was due to natural causes or suicide there will be no issue. Fact is that they have been killed in cold blood by agents of the government. Unfortunately for the government there are video pictures of them surrendering to armed forces and taken away in buses. Just saying that they are dead and death certificates will be issued after investigation will not bring any solace to the relatives of those who have been forcibly disappeared. Any investigation should come to a definitive conclusion about where and when the death took place, who are those behind these murders and where are the dead bodies buried. If the bodies cannot be located, then it will corroborate with the belief that those killed were incinerated and the remains dissolved in sulphuric acid. Denial of truth will not bring justice. This is what Shirley Gunnel an anti-apartheid activist who suffered torture and imprisonment and after independence served in committee to implement truth and reconciliation recommendation in South Africa said about the situation in Sri Lanka : ” Truth and justice plus reparation equals reconciliation. I have not seen the truth aspect. I am not seeing to the commitment to justice aspect either, and I see reparation as a floating limb somewhere away from the truth, a branch cut off from the main stem, which is the truth.”

      • 5
        3

        After a while when busloads were taken to strategic locations within Army camps, away from public view, a mass of shot and killed with the bodies would have been buried in mass
        graves temporarily. There was news after some time re the importing of animal incinerators from China, but the news was suppressed forthwith. It can be assumed for what purpose these could have been used – only Ranavirus are privy to such happenings,
        including the 12-year Balachandran’s murder.

        The Consultant to the Defence Ministry was a Rohan Guneratne whose failure to include the ban camera telephones in the war areas will now be beneficial at future ICC inquiry.

    • 6
      6

      Killers are ranawiruwo, how did you find out? What is the investigation technique you used . The human scum who cheered Ltte massacaring 750 surrendered policemen are now calling a government which rehabilitated and released 13000 ltte carders, killers. I hope we were killers. Then that 13000 scum would not be living , if our sinhala kings followed ltte strategy to eliminate scum left by chola invaders we wont be having this problem at all.

      • 1
        4

        Sach. They used the “enema test”

      • 5
        2

        Such an idiot, if Kuveni followed LTTE strategy to eliminate the scum which landed illegally, we wont be having this problem at all. Genetic studies show that you are one of the scum left by Chola invaders.

    • 6
      4

      Fr. Yogeswaran and Dr Guruparan.
      Thank you for requesting the UN to follow up on President GR admission that those who were handed to the Armed forces of SL are dead.

      Can the Tamil Civil Society file charges against the Army Chief for crimes committed by his forces. And also for killing Pirapaharan’s child Balachandran who was in their custody and later his chest drilled with Bullets?

  • 18
    3

    The Tamil people are not so concerned about the fate of the LTTE fighters who died or went missing on the battlefield during the violent encounters that occurred before and during the closing stages of the war. They are mainly concerned about the fate of those individuals, both combatants and non-combatants who were seen to be alive after the fighting had ceased. Many of them had surrendered to the Army and taken away in buses to some unknown destination. Just announcing that they are ‘probably dead’ after remaining silent for 10 years is not acceptable. Maybe in another 10 years, the government would admit that they were all ‘summarily executed’ and their bodies disposed of without the benefit of any inquests.

    • 9
      16

      Stanley: I think those went through the fate Osama Bin Laden went through. Sri Lankan govt has to get those LTTE Financiers Living outside and those Brigadiers who escaped to Europe. Those brigadiers also may be in the MIA people. Some survived are those, in BOOSA I SUPPOSE, who were scared to bite the CYANIDE capsyle. Anyway, they were to become MAAVEERAR NAAL. So forget them I heard, they also do not want to go back to NORTH saying, food is in good in BOOSA. BESIDES, Tamils may kill then once they go, Another is no one hires them except sinhala Army.

    • 5
      2

      Why did Sri Lanka government release 13000 without killing them? A government that persue a policy of killing enemy combatants wont bw releasing any and certainly wont take steps to send child soldiers to school

  • 9
    12

    yeah the missing are really dead . you think they are hiding somewhere for 11 years. lol

    • 14
      8

      What is so funny to laugh a lol . Sinhalese low life? Why because they are Tamil . you find their tragic deaths funny and have to laugh low life , what if it was a member of your family and not a Tamil , will you be laughing out loud low life?

      • 7
        7

        Mr. Rohan.
        /
        Those people choose death over life you fool.
        \
        Of course we laughed out loud when VP and clan died like animals in a lagoon bathing in their shit.

        • 4
          5

          As per Siva Sankaran Sharma , you are nothing but a low caste Paravan , whose ancestors originated from Thootukudi in Tamil Nadu South India. Now beating the Sinhalese Aryan drum and dancing to an anti Tamil tune. Get lost racist . Another low life constantly posting rubbish here

    • 9
      2

      What do you think? Did they all just die of a flu or something? Heartless stupid useless person. Some day if and when a tragedy like this happens to you, you can lol all you want.

      • 3
        3

        go and ask 13000 ltte carders who were released

        • 1
          2

          Sach They said that they do not suffer from constipation

  • 10
    3

    Kill now and pay later rehabilitation schemes ? Instant solution for all political problems.

    • 3
      1

      What evidence do you have to say they killed ? I personally dont care about ltte lives, only civilians matter . Why should a government care about terrorists

  • 3
    8

    It is also fair to talk about the other side of the story. Civilian means not a name of a Tamil person but the people in Sri Lanka.
    During 1988-89, when the country was ruled by the ruthless dictator, Ranasinghe Premadasa who was a close friend of Tamil Tiger terrorists nearly 1,00,000 Sinhala Buddhists youths including student Monks were being massacred. No word of sympathy came from Tamil community b’cuz those massacred youths were not civilians from the viewpoint of Tamil extremists.
    In fact theTamil civil society is not responsible for this kind of inhuman conduct but mainly the pro-Tiger Tamil politicians in the North who uttered only anti Sinhala slogans just to maintain their positions in the parliament.
    I do not hesitate to mention that the whole “Drama” was staged by the Catholic Church.
    Tamils in North must be extremely cautious about the interference of Church in Politics.

    • 3
      2

      Not a single like right? Thats the Tamil mentality . The ones who celebrated when ltte massacred 750 surrendered policemen , when tamil terrorists thrashed babies on tree trunks because they were born sinhala are questioning a government the fate of their pet terrorists..

    • 4
      3

      Prof. Edward

      Brilliant, I don’t blame you, it is the Mahawamsa little lion hiding inside your Sinhala/Buddhist tummy which is bursting to jump out. Well we have too many of you in this island.

      “I do not hesitate to mention that the whole “Drama” was staged by the Catholic Church.”

      In other words the drama is being staged by the secret cross dresser Malcolm Ranjith.

  • 7
    3

    Gotha the Sinkala DIASPORA( what a joke) who after fleeing Terror in his own country returned home to SORT OUT THE ERROR . Mahinthapala says he was able to deal with the terror ( which he was unable to when he fled) using the techiques and experise he learnt as an American Citizen.
    It is time for UN to take stock of his CRIMINALTY as an American citizen and refer him to ICC to be tried.
    Sri Lankan people ( 41%) and the Judges cannot be the Judge and Jury. UN if you mean anything to the World and the down and outs please wake up. Gotha will not be delivered to the International Court by Shavendra as he will also have to be flown out but at least Referral will plunge Sinhala Lanka to its knees unable to move forward for the next 5 years.

  • 3
    1

    They are somebody’s children. All parents will feel deep sorrow of losing a child. Not knowing what happened to your child, even if the child was a terrorist or a murderer parents will feel it deeply.

    We must take the element of the ethnic divide out of this tragedy and let us all demand to know what happened to these prisoners. We cannot trust a government who cannot answer to what happened to prisoners in their custody, now can we?

    If they were forcefully conscripted by the LTTE, then it becomes an unbearable tragedy. Think if it your child? Taken forcefully by the LTTE to fight and then somehow managed to survive the war and they are taken prisoner by the government, only to die in prison. This is so heart breaking. We must not tolerate this anymore. We don’t need useless explanations given by the government anymore. We need the TRUTH.

  • 4
    1

    What does the president think we are? Who is he fooling?

    First telling that they are dead and that death certificates will be issued. Then telling that there will be investigations AND THEN death certificates will be issued. Its a joke! This man thinks we are all fools. WHAT EXACTLY is the difference? Investigations do not result in issuing death certificates, but they result in charges brought against the killers or verified and proven circumstances of natural death. Did they all get dengue and die? I mean…. ! please do not fool this country anymore. We do not need any useless development as long as there are mothers who are weeping and looking for their children.

    Enough is enough. You need to tell the truth or else there will be another war. BTW if we really won the war, why are these mothers crying and looking for their children almost 11 years afterwards? Give the mothers’ the answers they need. Let them find some peace and punish who ever is responsible for the “disappearances”.

    • 3
      1

      The difference is idiot , the media propaganda didnt report what Gotabaya said properly . They just picked words to suit their agenda and highlighted it.

  • 2
    2

    Arrest warrant for Sivajilingam

    *** I ask members of the Tamil Civil Society Forum to bring it to the attention of the UN.
    In Sinhala Lanka under Gotha the DIASPORA you ask for your Land back you get sent to Jail.

  • 2
    1

    The government said the missing are ‘probably’ dead. That is an understanding one could come into due to the lack of evidence to their existence for a decade . And these are ppl who lived in a war zone. None need thorough investigations for that. The government made a general statement. If these ppl do not like government issuing death certificates the government can stop doing that.

  • 2
    2

    I am not happy with the foreign ministry response at all. The response was inadequate . What about those who are in missing list already living in west? Why isnt gov asking for foreign nations support to track them down ? The gov should have displayed their shock and disappointment at UN officer going to town with a very casual remark. Rajapaksa should protest by not entertaining any UN official . Every thing should be handled via FAM without giving unnecessary importance to these liars

  • 3
    2

    Why should a government which released 13000 LTTE carders who surrendered to them after rehabilitation, execute any surrendered carders ?

  • 0
    1

    Prof. Edward,
    You have a point that proves you a better Prof. than GR of a different kind.
    Did we have Colombo Telegraph in 1988 and any freedom of opinion ?
    Fortunately, we have the web today and the fact no body can gag it permanently.
    Even a grain of intelligence and love for humanity is enough to voice against for atrocities done now or in the past.

    Are you not aware of human rights voices around the world against crimes by rulers like Hitler, Pol pot and incidents in Rohinga or murder of lasantha and Ekneligoda ?

    Be a Prof. of love. And not hatred.

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