The European Union (EU) Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Sri Lanka:
“On the International Day of the Disappeared, the European Union reiterates its solidarity with victims of enforced and involuntary disappearances and their families. The European Union also pays tribute to all those striving to assist victims’ loved ones to achieve closure and justice.
In Sri Lanka, thousands of people disappeared during the war. Many cases date back to the unrest in the south in the 1970s and 1980s. Others are much more recent, affecting people across the country, both during and after the war. Many families are still seeking the truth about what happened to their relatives.
Against this backdrop, the EU Delegation notes the recent appointment of a Presidential Commission to investigate disappearances during the war period. The Delegation hopes the Commission will approach its important and challenging task with determination and independence, helping to ensure credible and transparent investigations consistent with international standards.
The Delegation encourages Sri Lanka to draw on the support of international partners who may be able to assist with this challenging task. It also encourages the Government to respond to pending individual cases and to facilitate the request of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to visit the country.
The Delegation notes reports of Government plans to enact legislation criminalising enforced disappearances and looks forward to further progress in this regard.
Dealing with past disappearances, and preventing new ones, are important steps in helping the country to move forward.”