North and East protest over missing persons

Ketheswaran S.


Almost a decade and the Tamil community of Eelam (North and East of Sri Lanka) are still fighting for justice. Justice and accountability have been delayed and the string of protests and demonstrations by Tamils of the North and East cannot be simply ignored. One has to commend the peaceful protesters’ true grit and determination in uncovering the truth of the genocide, the prison camps and the disappeared in 2009 and since then by successive governments.

Further protests are planned in Sri Lanka for 25 February, mainly organised by women, to mark the first day of this year’s United Nations Human Rights Council Organisational meeting. Diaspora organisations around the world are also planning to hold demos on the same day in solidarity with the Tamil protesters in the North and East.

They are demanding answers over the plight of the thousands of missing persons. Days have become years. Mothers, sisters, wives and children of the disappeared are out in the blistering heat and the monsoon rain in the hope of getting justice. But the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) is yet to identify a missing individual.

In reality, the OMP is just a tick-box exercise by the government of Sri Lanka – so that, when it sends its ever-so-smiling diplomats to the UN, it can make it seem like it is moving towards some kind or reconciliation. However, the current demos and peaceful rallies held by mostly Tamil women are showing the truth to our international community – and exposing the hypocrisy of the government.

Our international community is the working-class and oppressed people the world over. All of them are struggling against exploitation and persecution. United in solidarity we can build mass movements for change – and to fight for the right of the Tamils to self-determination.

These rights will not be handed down from the top tables of the UN Security Council or major world and regional powers. At the end of the day, that so-called ‘international community’ defends the interests of the rich and powerful – and too many of them have vested interests in doing business and trade deals, arms sales and military pacts with the government of Sri Lanka.

So, Tamil Solidarity will support all those fighting for Tamil rights, for justice and a genuine community and worker-led investigation into the genocide. For accountability for the disappeared, an end to military occupation, and for homes, land, jobs and education for all those displaced.