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Missing persons’ protest marks 6 years in Kilinochchi

Missing persons’ protest marks 6 years in Kilinochchi

21 Feb 2023 | BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Marking the sixth anniversary of the struggle of the relatives of missing persons, on the 2,190th day, a massive protest involving more than a hundred relatives was held yesterday (20) in Kilinochchi, during which Association for Relatives of Enforced Disappearances President Yogarasa Kanagaranjani urged the international community to identify those responsible for the enforced disappearances of their loved ones by producing them before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Addressing the media, she further said: “This is a struggle for truth and justice. We started this protest on 20 February 2017 at the Kilinochchi Kandasamy Kovil premises. We have joined relatives of all eight districts of the Northern and Eastern Provinces in this. From the 36th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session, we have been urging for an international inquiry. Even the international community has dragged on the process of identifying the real status of our loved ones. They have extended the time duration. Justice should be delivered at the upcoming UNHRC sessions at the least. It has been six years since we started this struggle and now we are stepping onto the seventh year. It is a sad moment for us. We have been on a struggle to find the whereabouts of our loved ones. The international community should not drag this issue. They should come forward to find a suitable solution to our grief,” she added. 

Kanagaranjani also said: “Those responsible for the disappearances of our loved ones should be produced before the ICC. This should be done by the representatives of the international community. This issue is just being discussed in countries worldwide but a suitable solution is yet to be found. None are coming forward to resolve our long-standing issue.” 

Commenting on the threats faced by relatives of missing persons, she said: “We face numerous obstacles when staging our protests. There are court injunctions obtained to stop us from protesting. We are being threatened by Intelligence officers. We have nothing to fear from them. We will continue our protests until we resolve our longstanding issues and until we meet our missing loved ones.”

The protest began as a procession from the Kilinochchi Kandasamy Temple and reached the Office on Missing Persons (OMP), with participants raising slogans in front of the office reading: “We don’t want the OMP. We don’t want compensation”.

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