Swiss authorities stop Tamil war victims from coming to UN sessions

By Athula Vithanage

Tamil women representing tens of thousands who disappeared during Sri Lanka’s war and its aftermath have been stopped from entering Switzerland.

The Swiss embassy in Colombo has refused visa to the group of mothers from eight districts in war torn North and East of the island who were intending to appeal for justice at the UN human rights sessions in Geneva.

Speaking to journalists on the 557th day of their ongoing protest angry relatives of disappeared accused foreign governments of double standards.

Perpetrators welcomed

They highlighted a recent case where a top military official wanted for questioning on mass disappearances was invited for a state function abroad.

Sri Lanka’s Chief of Defence staff Ravindra Wijegunaratne is in Mexico on the invitation of Defence Minister of Mexico, General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda to attend the 208th Independence Day celebrations on 16 September.

Admiral Wijegunaratne had left the island on the same day the police criminal investigation department (CID) was expecting him to give a statement on harbouring a navy officer accused of abduction, illegal detention and torture.

“We are not allowed to speak about our suffering while military perpetrators are welcome abroad. Is this international justice?” asked co ordinator of the relatives orgnisations, Mariasuresh Easwari.

Another frustrated relative Ranjana Prabhakaran called it “the reality”.

“The government is not providing answers and the international community is stopping us from seeking justice.”

The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) receiving compliments from the UN and international powers has handed over its recommendations to the president who has passed them to a ministerial subcommittee.

Meanwhile, a team of Sinhala hardliners led by Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara, a former deputy minister of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration is in Geneva in a bid to garner opposition for accountability in Sri Lanka.☐



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.