Action Alert Archive
'Disappearances' of youth remain national crisis
April 10, 2008
I am writing today to call your attention to the disturbing phenomena of "disappearances" of Tamil youth in Sri Lanka, and to urge you to call for an international human rights monitoring mission to the island.
Last month, Human Rights Watch released a lengthy report condemning the Sri Lanka government for perpetrating widespread abductions and "disappearances," to the extent that it has become a national crisis. The report states that since the resumption of hostilities in 2006, Sri Lanka security forces and pro-government paramilitaries have abducted hundreds of individuals, primarily from the minority Tamil ethnicity.
These individuals are likely never seen again, even when relatives and witnesses identify the specific military or police units who detained their loved ones. Clergy, journalists, educators and humanitarian aid workers are among those being targeted.
The United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances recorded more new "disappearance" cases in Sri Lanka than in any other country in the world in 2006 and 2007. However, HRW reported that not a single member of the Sri Lanka security forces has been brought to justice for their involvement in these abductions.
The State Department has already called for an international human rights monitoring mission to the island to investigate violations of human rights and humanitarian law, but the government of Sri Lanka has repeatedly refused. I urge you to pressure Sri Lanka to accept an international mission to investigate and deter violence against innocent civilians.
The mission of People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) is to end the systemic human rights abuses against the Tamil population in Sri Lanka, and promote equality, rights and justice on the island. PEARL is 501(c)3 non-profit organization led by human rights activists concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka.