The bombing has surely stopped. But for Tamils in the North and independent journalists and human rights defenders in the South the attacks continue. MCM Iqbal, the widely respected former secretary to two of Sri Lanka’s “truth commissions” has listed the current forms of “collective punishment.”
One needs to remember that the war has left behind a large number of victims who have been rendered destitute. An estimate says that there are nearly 50,000 war widows languishing without anyone to care, either for them or their siblings. In the North nearly 5000 men have been maimed during the war.
About 11,000 to 15,000 youth are detained as LTTE suspects without their next of kin being informed. 250 university students are also in custody. Even the Members of Parliament are not allowed to visit them. The names of those detained are not made public. Many grieving Tamils have no way of finding out if their loved ones are dead or alive. These are all citizens of Sri Lanka. It is the responsibility of the State to inform the next of kin of those detained, that they are under detention.
MCM Iqbal was appointed as secretary to two presidential inquiry panels into the 30,000 or more forced disappearances that took place in the late 1980s and early ’90s. The findings of the inquiries have not been fully released and the corrective actions proposed ignored.
Read his recent article on the challenge and opportunity facing President Rajapaksa: