30th of August 2020 is regarded as the day for the Internationally enforced disappeared.
Despite many barriers and content monitoring of security forces, protests were organised in the north and east of Sri Lanka. These were mainly organised by the mothers, wives and children of the disappeared.
The Sri Lankan government used its full force of the law in preventing these series of protests from taking place. They went as far as getting court orders to prevent protests from taking place.. The intimidation of protesters to key activists should be a stark reminder of the genocidal government that is currently in power.
The key organisers who are mostly women have been handed notices on that day from the court preventing them from holding demonstrations. Reasons used for suppressing these protests ranged from Corona to regrouping of the LTTE.
A lead female activist Thambirasa Selvarani from the Amparai district in Sri lanka states that over 400 protesters gathered from Amparai, Trincomalee and Batticaloa. A senior police officer along with other officers attacked the protesters with a few being choked by their necks. This lead activist then was repeatedly threatened by the police. Another police officer seized the picture of Selvarani’s husband whilst she was punched in the stomach. It was the only picture she has of her missing husband and now after 11 years her husband is sadly only a memory.
Children who took to the protest in the North and East voiced their frustration asking the whereabouts of their parents that have been missing for over a decade. The injustice these kids experience on a daily basis and the frustration along with the mental and physical scars they carry should be a stark reminder to the international communities and all those in the diaspora; that we have a moral responsibility towards the minorities living in that island.
The lead activist from Batticaloa; Amalarajah Mazhanayagi stated on the 27th of July 2020, a protest was called. However the GOSL took legal action against this protest from being conducted. The same route was taken by the GOSL in preventing Mazhanayagi from implementing the enforced disappeared protest even after she had been given permission a week before by the relevant authorities. She insists that the Tamils will not be able to conduct protests in the future.
In the UK many activists and volunteers representing various diaspora organisations organised and implemented a protest outside Trafalgar square. Activists spoke on issues of how the Srilankan government had physically tried to stop the Tamil mothers in the East and the Northern district from protesting. The artificially laid legal barriers coupled with intimidation from the security forces clearly shows the GOSL’s total disregard towards its minorities.
photo credits: TGTE media, kethes, ethir media, Tamil Guardian