The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) and the Welfare Organisation for the Forcibly Disappeared Persons on the 24th of February 2015 in Jaffna have jointly decided not to appear and give evidence before the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons.
Issuing a statement today the TCSF says; “This decision comes in the wake of the Commission’s sittings in Trincomalee scheduled to be held between the 28th of February and 3th of March 2015.” According to the TCCF, they have taken this decision for the following reasons:
The relatives of those who have been forcibly disappeared are tired of going before various mechanisms set up by the Government of Sri Lanka from time to time. No results whatsoever have been forthcoming from such inquiries. Many questions have been raised about the terms of reference and capacity of this commission to act on the issue of enforced disappearances. Concerns have been raised previously about the Government’s initiative to issue death certificates for enforced disappearances in parallel to the work of this commission. The line of questioning adopted by the commissioners in past hearings also indicates that the commission is primarily interested in inquiring into the socio-economic support provided to relatives of those forcibly disappeared as opposed to tracing the whereabouts of those who have been made to disappear. The role of the international experts has also not been made clear. Recent reports suggest that one of the international experts so appointed was also hired by the then Sri Lankan Government to advice them on how to handle international community pressure on human rights issues, clearly pointing to a conflict of interest in his appointment as an expert. So far the commission or the Government have not responded adequately to any of these issues.
“We cannot afford to continue to appear before this commission giving it a stamp of legitimacy. We seek a credible inquiry and we are convinced that this can only be made possible through international means.” the TCSF further said.