Sandhya Eknaligoda, wife of disappeared political cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda, together with other mothers of the disappeared today met with parliamentarians to present a poster calling for an end to enforced disappearances. They asked the Government of Sri Lanka to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and invite the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances to visit the country.
“The number of disappeared people in Sri Lanka since the 1980s is second only to Iraq globally. The government’s efforts to address this issue – including to investigate cases of enforced disappearances, to provide redress to their families, to hold those responsible to account and to memorialize those missing appropriately – have been wholly inadequate. It is time for the government’s orchestrated lies and broken promises to be replaced with a genuine commitment to the truth,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.
“Prageeth Eknaligoda’s case is emblematic of the almost complete impunity that surrounds disappearances in Sri Lanka. Parliament must take note of her Sandya and other families search for truth”.
Amnesty International is concerned that families of missing persons protesting against enforced disappearances and the organizers of those demonstrations have been harassed and assaulted in recent months.
Human rights activists and families seeking accountability often risk reprisals for communication with international organizations. As recently as 26 October posters smearing the organizers of a commemoration event for the disappeared held in Seeduwa were posted near the organisers’ house. Amnesty International said the Government of Sri Lanka should support commemoration such as this and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.