Hope Stops Tamils from Moving On - The New Indian Express

Hope Stops Tamils from Moving On

Published: 11th February 2014 09:23 AM

Last Updated: 11th February 2014 09:23 AM

Social and emotional factors are preventing relations of disappeared persons from accepting death certificates to close the cases and move on in life, sources in Sri Lanka’s war-ravaged Northern Province said. The most recent Lankan government’s Commission on the Disappeared has already received 13,700 complaints of forced disappearances, mostly from the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces, and especially from Jaffna district. But the list also includes 4,300 Lankan military personnel.

On Monday, Daily Mirror quoted Suresh Premachandran, Tamil National Alliance MP from Jaffna district, as saying that even as the commission was holding a hearing in Kilinochchi, some government agencies had told the families of the disappeared that they would be better off accepting death certificates, securing compensation and bringing the matter to a close. 

Sources in Jaffna told Express that such an offer was made to 437 families and the amount offered as compensation was LKR 1,00,000 per family. But only seven families accepted the offer. A source said that young women whose husbands had disappeared, loathe to accept widowhood as it means a severe loss of status in conservative Tamil society. Parents of the disappeared do not want to accept the death of their sons or daughters without evidence.  The issue of disappearances is expected to be a major item in the US-sponsored resolution against Lanka in the March session of the UN Human Rights Commission.

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