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‘We are still waiting on Sri Lankan president to fulfil promises' – Mothers of the disappeared

Tamil mothers of the disappeared who have been protesting for months across the North-East stated that they were still waiting on the Sri Lankan president to fulfil promises he made to them earlier this year.

Speaking at a press conference in Colombo, the mothers stated that one of their demands was a list of all those who surrendered to Sri Lankan security forces before and after the armed conflict.

“Does [the Sri Lankan president] not understand the pain of losing a child?,” one mother told jouranlists.

They also expressed concern in how hope was fading in the government proposed Office of Missing Persons in finding answers to the whereabouts of their children. The mothers went on to appeal to people in the South to help them seek answers form the Sri Lankan government.

The press conference comes as one of the women at the forefront of the Mullaitivu families of the disappeared protest was assaulted by two men who also threatened her with death if she did not stop protesting earlier this week.

In June families handed over a memo to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena (click here) laying out 5 key demands which included:

(1) releasing a list of all those who surrendered or were detained by the Sri Lankan armed forces during and after the war, particularly during the last phase;

(2) releasing a list of all secret detention centres, their status and list of detainees;

(3) releasing a list of all detainees held under the PTA and detainees held in detention centres;

(4) releasing these lists to representatives from the families of the disappeared; and

(5) releasing in public all reports by commissions appointed over the years to address the issue of disappearances and the Government’s response to those reports.