by Indika Gamage
Reminding the world of one thousand days since the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, his wife Sandya has called upon the United Nations to intervene in bringing justice to all who have been forcibly disappeared in Sri Lanka.
In a letter handed over to the UN office in Colombo on Monday (22) Sandya Ekneligoda and the Committee for Investigating Disappearances (CID) has stated,” the combined force of the executive president, speaker of parliament, leader of the opposition and the UN secretary general have the power to make deliberate progress in fighting disappearances and impunity in Sri Lanka”.
While calling to facilitate a visit by the UN Working Group on Disappearances to Sri Lanka, Sandya has urged, to ensure accountability for those subject to enforced disappearances by identifying and prosecuting the responsible and to provide information about all persons held in government detention and rehabilitation centres, and grant access to their families.
Over 1, 46,000 ‘missing’
Reminding the UN and Sri Lankan authorities that the Bishop of Mannar, Dr. Rayappu Joseph has given evidence before the presidential commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (LLRC) that over 1,46,000 Tamils have gone unaccounted during the final phase of the government’s war against Tamil Tigers, Sandya has also stated that 56 people have been reported missing between October 2011 and March 2012. The government of Sri Lanka declared its military victory over Tamil Tigers in may 2009.
Prageeth, who was involved in the presidential campaign of former military commander Sarath Fonseka was last seen on the 24th of January 2010, two days before the election that saw Mahinda Rajapaksa winning a second term.
All governments responsible
The letter by Sandya and CID has expressed strong belief that those who have been forcibly taken away ‘are being held somewhere on this island’. It recalls an incident where an abducted Tamil male named as Rajan been found after six years. After being abducted in Colombo in 2006, he resurfaced in a government held camp in Mannar.
This makes the families of the disappeared ‘more convinced that their loved ones are still alive and being held at secret State-run detentions centres across the country,’ the letter sent to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon says.
The copies of the letter has been sent to Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Speaker of the Sri Lanka Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe. courtesy: JDS