Colombo Telegraph

Worldwide Initiative Starts To Name The Dead From Sri Lanka’s War

In advance of the tenth anniversary of the end of the war in Sri Lanka in 2009, two international NGO’s are appealing for help to collect the names of the conflict dead to estimate the final death toll. The International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) urge groups inside and outside Sri Lanka to share existing casualty lists and go out and record new ones.

“We at least owe the dead the courtesy of collecting their names,” said ITJP Executive Director, Yasmin Sooka, “the scale of human loss is important to quantify and the final list of names which we will collate can also inform the memorialisation process which is key for communities”.

A decade after the war ended, nobody knows to the nearest ten thousand how many people died in Sri Lanka in 2009, let alone in the deacdes before. The aim of this initiative is to use a statistical approach to estimate the probability of a final death toll. The same approach was recently used by them to estimate the number of surrendees who disappeared at the very end of the war in 2009.

“We urge Tamils all round the world in the next few months to speak to their families, their friends, and their neighbours to collect the names of the dead. We have suggested a format to collect the information.” said Patrick Ball of HRDAG. “Several groups inside and outside the country have already started collecting lists. Recording the names of the dead is a way of collating the available information. And we can use statistical models to estimate how many people are likely missing from the data collected. Don’t worry about duplication! We will take care of the lists.”

Though the initial focus is on collecting information from the Tamil diaspora, the project is also keen to collate information regarding war related deaths among Sinhalese and Muslims.

Particularly important is to collate all existing lists so if you know of one please contact us.

Information can be sent to HRDAG or the ITJP at:

itjpsl@gmail.com or info@hrdag.org

Please note the source or sender of the information will be kept will be kept confidential. (ITJP Press release) 

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