Sri Lanka: Gotabhaya Rajapaksa calls families of missing, liers

Sri Lanka’s once most powerful official who oversaw the security establishment accused of forced disappearances among other international crimes poured scorn on thousands of war affected Tamils searching for their loved ones by calling them untruthful.

Anyone who says that people were made to disappear after being handed over to the military is not telling the truth, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told a group of foreign journalists in Colombo.

His comments came at a time when hundreds of Tamils in Sri Lanka's north and east are demonstrating in a series of ongoing protests urging the government to reveal the fate of their loved ones who have gone missing for years.

Tamil Tigers

A vast majority of them firmly maintain that they handed over their sons and daughters to Sri Lanka security forces at check points leading out of the battle zone during the final days of the war in 2009 May.

“If somebody is saying that it is not the truth,” he claimed.

The military who screened hundreds of thousands of Tamils coming out of the battle zone made public announcements calling for those associated with Tamil Tigers to hand themselves over.

“No. That is wrong. That was never the case,” Rajapaksa denied emphatically.

“They don’t have any idea what happened to these people. They don’t know whether they were killed in action or whether they were living; or whether they surrendered; or they were captured; or whether they are in a camp. So they always want to know."

'What can we do?'

The United Nations and many international and local human rights organisations have detailed credible evidence of Tamils who disappeared after being handed over to Sri Lanka military.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is also the brother of ousted president Mahinda Rajapaksa whose war against Tamils fighting for autonomy killed at least 70,000 civillians according to the UN.

Any inquiry for accountability was vehemently rejected by the former defence secretary, who publicly engaged in majoritarian Sinhala Buddhist mobilisations against Tamils and Muslims.

“After a war, what can we do?" He snapped back at a journalist who sought his opinion on providing a solution to the war affected.

"Going back and harping on these things will never bring communities together. That will widen the gap."



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.