Sri Lanka admits 65,000 missing from war
Posted on June 9th, 2016

Source: AAP

Around 65,000 people went missing during Sri Lanka’s civil war and a separate Marxist rebellion, Colombo has admitted for the first time

Sri Lanka has acknowledged for the first time that some 65,000 people are missing from its 26-year-long war with Tamil Tiger rebels and a separate Marxist insurrection.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s coalition government has agreed to address past human rights violations through independent probes and to implement a resolution by the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government had rejected the UN recommendations, saying it wanted to address rights concerns without any international pressure. Rajapaksa lost power in January 2015.

“Since 1994 various commissions have documented that there are about 65,000 people missing or not found to be dead,” Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, a former president and head of the new government’s reconciliation office, told reporters on Wednesday.

“We will get a final list later from the office of missing persons.”

The Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 for an independent Tamil state in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka.

Their insurgency ended in 2009. Separately a radical Marxist group waged an armed revolt against the government in 1987-89.

Sri Lanka also said on Wednesday a certificate of absence would be given to relatives allowing them to temporarily manage the property and assets of missing people, to obtain provisional guardianship of their children and apply for government welfare schemes.

The government has set up an office to independently investigate the cases of thousands of missing people, who are mostly from the ethnic minority Tamils, after the United Nations urged the government to probe such disappearances.

However, relatives have accused the government of doing almost nothing to find the missing people as promised in the UN resolution.

The government is due to make an oral representation in Geneva later this month on its progress in implementing the UN resolution, which aims to address rights violations.

The United Nations and rights groups have long urged justice for the families of those who disappeared during the war, including those who were alleged to have been secretly abducted by state-backed groups and paramilitary outfits.

7 Responses to “Sri Lanka admits 65,000 missing from war”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    If the government accepts 65,000 went missing during 26 year period, then the UNP must accept for the majority of these missing people. It is a well known fact during the second JVP insurrection in the late 1980’sover 40,000 were murdered by the then UNP government and the present prime minister had a big part in the murders in Batalanda. It up to the UNHCR to take action against Ranil as his government admits to these disappearances and there is evidence in his involvement.

  2. Sooriarachi Says:

    It is very well known that the Tiger diaspora successfully fooled foreign governments, especially the naïve western leaders, not to divulge the identity of Tamil “refugees” who managed to get across illegally into those respective countries, claiming that, if identities divulged, then, their families would be tortured by Sri Lankan forces. Believing this hog wash, foreign western governments gave these “refugees” new names and identities, and those that managed to escape from Sri Lanka, most probably are happily living in those countries under their new identities. Therefore, the Government has to qualify their statement, by stating that that missing does not mean they are dead, as the Tamil separatists wants to imply ‘missing’ means ‘dead’.
    It is also well known that during the JVP insurrections, Sinhala youth were arbitrarily arrested and put to death merely on suspicion. So, are these Sinhala youth, included in this 65000 figure? If so, I believe over 80% of this number most probably are the Sinhalese.

  3. plumblossom Says:

    This is a completely false information by this idiotic government and the Western media. During the JVP insurrection around 43,000 people are said to have died. It is CBK herself who set up a commission to investigate into missing persons as far as the JVP insurrection is concerned which found that over 16,500 were considered missing, all Sinhalese obviously. When it comes to the LTTE terrorist war, the commission set up, the Paranagama commission has received around 23,000 complaints of which over 5,000 are about Sri Lankan Forces soldiers who are missing (presumably being extra judicially executed by the LTTE and Prabhakaran). Over 11,000 complaints are against the LTTE itself (regarding the LTTE forcibly recruiting young persons). Only 7,000 complaints are about so called missing persons during the LTTE war against the Sri Lankan Armed Forces (however these can be presumed to be LTTE terrorists or cadres who died in the war just as thousands upon thousands of our Sri Lankan Forces members died in the war.

    Therefore even taking into account that over 16,500 are thought to be missing due to the JVP insurrection (all Sinhalese) and let us say over 23,000 missing due to the LTTE war, still it is only 39,000 who can be considered missing. Of this at least 21,500 are Sinhalese (16,5000 from the JVP insurrection and over 5,000 Sri Lanka Forces members from the LTTE war). Also the LTTE terrorists who died in the war and whose bodies have not been found cannot be considered as missing since they fought and died in a war which they waged against the people of Sri Lanka. They must take responsibility for that not the Sri Lankan Government.

    This false report says that most of the missing are Tamils which is a completely false statement since over 21,500 out of let us say a total of 39.000 are Sinhalese. The figure 65,000 is also completely false as shown above and should be 39,000 from both the JVP insurrection and the LTTE terrorist war.

    The JVP insurrection was not a war and the evil UNP government at the time went around killing people at will instead of arresting any possible suspects. The LTTE terrorists on the other hand, just as evil as the UNP Government was, waged a war against the Sri Lankan people killing many civilians and the armed forces of the country had to take action against the LTTE terrorists since the terrorists were demanding that over 28% land area, over 66% coastline and over 66% of our ocean be handed over to them as a separate state. Our government had no choice except to take action against them. The LTTE war was a conventional war and those LTTE terrorists who fought, died in the war. They cannot then be categorised as missing but presumed to be those who died in the war.

    Western news reporting as usual is completely false providing completely false information about Sri Lanka and this yahapalanaya government is supporting them and providing them with false information.

  4. Cerberus Says:

    Agree with the two above writers. Of the 65,000 most of them are Sinhala youth who were just rounded up and shot by armed forces during the UNP regime in the late 1980s, for protesting violently the 13-A imposed by India. No talks were held with the JVP, unlike 5 rounds of talks with the LTTE. I think John Amaratunge was in charge of law and order under the UNP then, and the infamous Batalanda was set up by Ranil Wickremasinghe. According to the Police Sergeant Karunadasa who was a witness to a lot of the torture done at Batalanda about 15,000 youth were killed at Batalanda. People used to see bodies floating down Kelani river at that time. I know personally that the army used to go to villages and round up any youth who were there. They were asked to dig pits and then they were asked stand in front of them and were then shot. This was the information that our office drivers gave us. When they fell into the pits the earth was put on top. Some of the youth were still alive when they were buried. Please listen to the talk by Karunadasa on this video on this matter. The Batalanda Commission recommended that Ranil’s civic rights be removed. Of course, none of it happened as Ranil is “untouchable” since he is protected by the West & Colombo.

    We must not forget the Tsunami which killed an estimated 30,000 people in 2004. Many were considered as ‘missing’. Why has the date been selected as 1994? Why not 1983 since many Tamils disappeared in 1983 after the riots. For all we know they are living abroad under false names.

    How about the Eastern villages where LTTE went in and massacred innocent villagers when they were sleeping. Since these were Sinhala Buddhist people the UNP Govt which is mainly Catholic and Christian did not care and nor did the Human Rights Activists all over the world.
    They were poor people who had no voice. President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave them a voice and looked after them. This is what the foreign countries did not like. They wanted to propagate other religions and keep the people poor so that the Corporations could come in the exploit the land and poor workers for their profit as well as have religious conversions. They do it all over the world. There must be special hells for these people who committed these atrocities against poor innocent people.

  5. Cerberus Says:

    The Paranagama commission which received reports of missing persons from 1983 received only 19,000 missing persons. However when it was changed to Office of Missing Persons in May 24 of this year suddenly the number has jumped to 65,000 from the original number of 19,000 the Paranagama commission had. How can this be? Can the GoSL explain what changed? What are the criteria on which these numbers are based upon? Did the Indian Govt and the West pressure the GoSL to pad up the numbers to meet the original numbers which were floated by the Tamil diaspora and the CH4 etc.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    The hype in figures of Missing Persons is a prelude to the goal of Fed State for Tamils ?

    No notice is taken by the International Community that it was the Tamil leaders themselves with later interested India & foreign participation, who set up the Separatist Movement for Tamils, as far back as the 1930s, partly to merge their Tamil Caste wars imported from Tamil Nadu, into Cold War politics from outside.

    Cold War needs have governed Sri Lanka, with Tamil Separatist leaders leading their own people on a downward slope and runining a country which earlier took pride of place as SE Asia’s oldest Democracy.

    It is certainly does not look like a Democracy any more, does it ?
    Lanka looks like a Fascist type state to any informed observer.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    The figure of 65,000 Missing Persons since 1994 : How did the Yahap people arrive at this figure – what are the criteria
    used ?

    To show the magnitude of Missing Persons in other parts of the world, some figures from the internet :

    Missing Persons in WW I :

    72,090 British & Commonwealth persons
    54,896 Allied forces at Ypres
    130,000 Unidentifed French & German remains- Battle of Verdun

    Remains of Missing Combatants still show up in former battlefields of the Western Front.

    Missing Persons in WW II:

    US Armed Forces 78,750 i.e. 19% of the total killed 405,399
    According to Defense Prisonoer of War/Missing Accounting Office, there still 73,515 unaccounted for from WW II.

    There are large numbers Missing in Action during the Korean War, Vietnam War, etc.

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