MPGA seeks action on Jaffna disappearances
[TamilNet, Sunday, 21 December 2003, 16:58 GMT]
The Missing Persons' Guardians Association (MPGA) in Jaffna, in a letter to Sri Lanka’s Minister of Justice, Mr. W.M.Lokubandara, has reminded him that no action has been taken on the disappereance of more than 600 persons in Jaffna after being arrested at checkpoints or abducted from their homes by the Sri Lanka Army in 1996, and demanded to know what happened to the youths.
The MPGA said that 234 of the missing are kin of its members.
The letter states: “In March 2002, our association had a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat with the PM’s Secretary and the Secretary to the Minister of Rehabilitation. The officials responded that they would take action on the MPGA members’ missing kin, about whom nothing has been heard since their disappearance after being arrested or abducted by the SLA. But no action has been taken so far.
“The Human Rights Commission appointed a committee headed by Mr. Devanesan Nesiah to investigate the disappearances. This committee after meeting our members produced a report that was unjust and untruthful.
“In July 1996, in a round-up by one Mr. Dumintha, then a senior officer of the Navatkuli SLA camp, 24 youths were arrested, and nothing has been heard about the youths since then. However, in a letter to the father of one of the youths, the HRC committee has said that the youth, Mr. Sinnathamby Sivakumar, was later produced before the Anuradhapura Magistrate and in March 1997, the Magistrate had released him on bail. The committee further said that according to the Magistrate, however, the court’s record showing who took him out on bail was missing.
“Is this a valid claim? Have justice and the law been buried in Sri Lanka? According to the Law in Sri Lanka, persons can be released on bail only to their relatives or the Grama Sevaka (Village Officer) of their home division. Given this law, if the person released on bail has not reached his home safely, then it is the court that should be held responsible for his disappearance.
“Was the youth released to any Jaffna-based Tamil organizations? Was he released to the Colombo-based Human Rights lawyer, Ms. Maheswary Velautham? The Minister of Justice should investigate and tell us the truth behind what happened to the youth within a week. If not, our association will start a fasting and picketing campaign in front of your Ministry.”
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