MoD eyewash over Jaffna disappearances
[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The Association for the Defense of the Arrested and Disappeared has protested about the list of 'disappeared' persons published by the Board of Inquiry of the Ministry of Defense. The Sri Lankan MoD's list is made up mostly of people already released or officially acknowledged to be under arrest.
The Mod published its list of 'disappearences' in the Uthayan newspaper, which is currently the only independent newspaper in Jaffna. In a statement issued in Jaffna on 2 October the Association said:
"We were pained and felt cheated when we read the list of 176 persons that was published in the 'Uthayan' . This list has been prepared on the basis of details collected about persons who were released in January 97, and sometime before that."
"These are persons who were either released at KKS, Palaly and Anuradhapura or whose status was acknowledged officially. To the parents who are searching for their children and wives who are going from pillar to post looking for their husbands, the report of the Defence Ministry's committee is nothing but an eyewash"
The Association said that none of the 176 names in the Board's list tallied with its own record of the disappeared. It also inquired as to whether the Board's list had been submitted to the Kachcheri, [the town hall], making it 'official'.
The Association has launched a peaceful protest movement in Jaffna. It is claiming that more than 700 persons have gone missing due to Sri Lankan army action since early last year. Amnesty International has also confirmed that over 700 people are missing since being taken into army custody.
Leaders of the Association say that there is a feeling that the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry's 'human rights' Board might be engaging in delaying tactics aimed at slowly diluting the issue away from international focus.
"We are not as foolish as the government thinks we are, to ever seriously believe that will get anything just from the Sri Lankan army's board" said one of them.
01.10.97 Relatives of Jaffna's 'disappeared' protest
05.07.97 Sri Lanka disbands irksome human rights group