News & events


900 days of protests by families of the disappeared

August 2019 marks 900 days of continuous protests by the families of the disappeared Tamil people in the North and East regions of Sri Lanka. The disappeared people had been taken into custody by the security forces. The Sri Lankan authorities have not positively responded to the two-year protest and the families are yet to receive answers from the Sri Lankan government regarding the whereabouts of their loved ones. Tamil Information Centre, 10th August 2019

In January 2017, the families of the disappeared held a hunger strike in Vavuniya which ended when government officials promised to meet their demands. However, as no progress was made, the families began demonstrations on 20 February 2017 in Kilinochchi.

The protests have continued from this date and other families of the disappeared joined the protests in Trincomalee, Mullaitivu, Marunthankerny and Vavuniya.

The protesters have demanded the Sri Lankan government to release a list of:

1. all persons surrendered or detained by the Sri Lankan security forces during and after the war;

2. all secret detention centres;

3. detainees held in such detention centres; and

4. all detainees held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Even though the protest continued for 900 days, the Sri Lankan government has failed to accede to the demands of the protesters, but repeatedly impeded any prospect of progress and has denied the existence of secret detention centres despite reports by international human rights NGOs and UN bodies about their existence.

The families are constantly placing their lives at risk by taking part in these protests; they face increased surveillance, harassment and intimidation by the Sri Lankan security forces. Since the start of the protests 38 parents have died, never finding out what happened to their relatives.

The Sri Lankan government has thus far failed to take positive and tangible measures in this regard, but has been an obstruction for the exposure of the truth and delivery of justice to the families of the disappeared. The Tamil Information Centre (TIC) calls on the Sri Lankan government to adhere to its promises and take relevant and significant steps to address the concerns raised by the families. The TIC also calls on the international community to conduct an independent investigation as urged by the families of the disappeared.


Tamil Information Centre