'650 Jaffna Disappearences' - Human Rights Force Admits

Place: Jaffna | Courtesy: TamilCanadian
| Date: 19970315

An official of the government's own Human Rights Task Force (HRTF), Nalinda Indathissa, has acknowledged the 'disappearance' of at least 650 Tamils from army-controlled Jaffna. While the HRTF remains a token body set up chiefly to assuage the international community, and though it has itself come in for severe criticism from international bodies for its gross ineffectiveness, its admission of so many hundreds of army-related disappearances ought to be an eye-opener about the scale of harassment Tamils are facing in their own land.

Indeed, the level of violence against Tamils in the peninsula - including the alarming rate of extra-judicial killings - can no more be dismissed as the work of 'a few bad apples' in the military. It is a systematic brutalisation of the population which only those living through it can properly appreciate. Even journalists who might wish to report independently on the real ground situation are turned away by the government which knows that the truth would astound and horrify the international community. That is why for a year and a half since the military's occupation of Jaffna Sri Lanka has still not permitted journalists free travel to captured areas.