Sri Lanka's Tamil leaders call for UN help on 4,000 missing

JAFFNA, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil leaders on Sunday asked the top UN human rights official to help determine the fate of more than 4,000 civilians reported missing in the country's long civil war amid the government's assertion that most of them are probably dead.

See Full Article

The UN official, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, met with the chief minister of Sri Lanka's Northern Province, the centre of the civil war, which ended in 2009. Zeid is on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka to review measures taken by the government to investigate alleged war abuses during the war.

Both the Sri Lankan government and the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels are accused of serious human rights violations. According to UN estimates, up to 100,000 people were killed in the 26-year war, but many more are feared to have died, including up to 40,000 civilians in the final months of the fighting.

The UN Human Rights Council last year adopted a consensus resolution in which Sri Lanka agreed to an investigation with foreign participation.

Zeid said he discussed several issues with Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran and other provincial officials, including the missing people, detentions without trial and military-occupied private land. He said he would take the issues up with the central government.

"The discussions very much focused on the challenges faced by the province, but also the plans and achievements in that regard, and the people who aspire to see more information in terms of those detained and those missing and the issue of release of lands," Zeid said.

He said the discussions would continue during his visit.

Wigneswaran said he gave Zeid a list of the more than 4,000 people reported missing, with dates and places where they were seen last.

Many civilians have not been heard from since they were picked up by police or military personnel at their homes or abducted by pro-government militia during the war. Relatives say there are many whom they personally handed over to the military at the end of the fighting, after the military requested the surrender of anyone who had even the smallest link to the now-defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, promising their early release.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was elected last year, has said most of those reported missing are probably dead. He said that the new government found no secret detention centres being run by the state, as suspected by families of the missing, and that there are only 292 people in government detention.

Wigneswaran said Zeid opposed the suggestion of negotiating an amnesty for Tamil rebel suspects detained for years without trial. Zeid said releasing innocents through a quick and proper legal process would be the best course of action.

Since defeating his nationalist predecessor last year, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has released some land and promised speedy trials for detainees. But Tamils have complained that the authorities are slow in fulfilling their promises.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Islamic State militants re-enter Syria's historic Palmyra

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- Syrian activists say the Islamic State group has re-entered the historic city of Palmyra in central Syria, nine months after they were expelled by Syrian and Russian forces in a highly publicized campaign. Source
  • Trump's team pushes back against Russia hacking reports

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's presidential transition team pushed back Saturday against reports that Russia was caught trying to tip the November election to the Republican and challenged the veracity of U.S. intelligence agencies investigating the campaign-season cyberattacks. Source
  • Heavy snow, squalls in store for southern Ontario

    Canada News CTV News
    Environment Canada is warning that much of southern Ontario could be blanketed in snow by Monday morning, and areas along the Bruce peninsula can expect snow squalls. The weather agency says areas from Sarnia all the way to Kingston could get up to 20 centimetres of snow beginning Sunday and ending Monday morning. Source
  • Donald Trump's transition team slams secret CIA briefing concluding Russia helped get him elected

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential transition team pushed back Saturday against reports that Russia was caught trying to tip the November election to the Republican and challenged the veracity of U.S. intelligence agencies investigating the campaign-season cyberattacks. Source
  • Aleppo exodus grows as thousands more leave

    World News CBC News
    More than 20,000 civilians left eastern Aleppo and over 1,200 rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad laid down their arms on Saturday, the Russian defence ministry said.City under siege: Inside the battle for AleppoCivilians stream out of crumbling rebel enclave in AleppoThe number of people leaving through humanitarian corridors to areas controlled by the Syrian government has grown to about 50,000 over the past two days, ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said. Source
  • Workers at endangered Indiana plant feel forgotten by Trump

    World News CTV News
    HUNTINGTON, Ind. -- A full parking lot and 50-hour workweeks belie the anxiety at the United Technologies-owned factory outside a small northeastern Indiana city, where Mike Harmon and co-workers wonder whether they aren't just stockpiling parts for when the company sends their 700 jobs to Mexico. Source
  • Deep freeze not over as B.C. dusts off snow and jibes from eastern Canada

    Canada News CBC News
    British Columbia's Lower Mainland was hit with its second snowstorm overnight, dusting suburbs with white and causing havoc on the roads leading in and out of Vancouver. B.C.'s winter weather is far from over, with the province's deep freeze set to continue until mid-January, bringing temperatures up to 15 degrees lower than the yearly norm. Source
  • Russia accepts IOC plan to retest Olympic doping samples

    World News CBC News
    Russia will accept an International Olympic Committee plan to retest all drug test samples given by its athletes at the 2012 and 2014 Olympics, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said Saturday. The IOC's declaration Friday followed the publication of a report by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren. Source
  • CIA says Russia intervened to help Trump win White House, U.S. official says

    World News CBC News
    The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help president-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, a senior U.S. official said on Friday. Source
  • Worker killed after vehicle slides off hoist at B.C. auto repair shop

    Canada News CTV News
    VERNON, B.C. -- RCMP are investigating the death of an employee at an auto repair shop in Vernon, B.C. WorkSafeBC spokeswoman Trish Knight Chernecki says Mounties contacted the agency to report that a four-by-four vehicle slid off an elevated hoist and pinned a worker. Source