Sri Lanka: “We handed over our babies and children” Tamil mothers tell UN (VIDEO)

Babies and children handed over to the Sri Lankan armed forces almost a decade ago have gone missing, Tamil mothers of the disappeared have told the UN human rights chief.

In a moving appeal on the eve of the 40th Human Rights Council Session in Geneva, the high commissioner was urged to pay attention to their plight.

After continuing with protests and hunger strike for the past two years hundreds of relatives marched through the northern town of Kilinochchi to deliver the appeal to UN officials.

The majority Tamil north of Sri Lanka came to a standstill with work stoppages on land and sea in solidarity with the relatives of disappeared.

'No answer'

The mothers expressed their frustration with not only the Sri Lankan government, but also international powers and mainstream Tamil politicians.

“Most of us personally and voluntarily handed over our loved ones including babies and children to the Sri Lankan security forces at the end of the war in May 2009 in reliance on assurances that they would be safe. But, almost ten years have passed, but there is no answer from the government about those we surrendered,” said the appeal to High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet.

“Every day we suffer imagining what would have happened to our loved ones. Are they alive? What happened to our babies? Are our daughters get raped? Are they tortured?”

The mothers were concerned there was "no tangible result" despite two resolutions adopted by the UNHRC.

Heavy criticism was aimed at Tamil mainstream politicians who were slammed as “supporting the Sri Lanka government”.

“We want to bring your kind attention that some of the Tamil parliamentarians who have access to international community do not speak for the victims like us. They are supporting the Sri Lanka government, on the contrary to their election manifesto, ignoring their promises given to the Tamil people,”

The high commissioner is expected to report to the UNHRC on Sri Lanka’s human right record in the first week of March.

Determining the fate of those who surrendered to the military at the end of war in 2009 May including Tamil combatants, has been earmarked  as a priority by the government appointed Office of the Missing Persons (OMP).☐



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.