When will the government take action to relocate 60,000 missing families?

by B.Matthews on January 27, 2017 - 10:31am


When will the government take action to relocate 60,000 missing family members?

‘Give Us Our Children Back’: Hunger Strikers in Sri Lanka Demand Answers

By Dharisha Bastians and Geeta Anand

Published on January 26th, 2017


The article was published in the New York Times on January 26th, 2017 “Give Us Our Children Back’: Hunger Strikes in Sri Lanka Demand Answers by Dharisha Bastians and Geeta Anand. The article talks about the issues regarding the Sri Lanka’s government and military groups surrounding the increase in hunger strikes, and missing children and families. What family wants to know that their child has been missing for six years and the country can’t show any interest in searching? “All we are asking for is for them to give us our children back. They took my child,” said, Sangarappillai Vanalochini (Bastians; Anand). Due to the hunger strikes, families have been fasting in order to ration food; their hopes are to get the attention of the government to aid in the relocation of the missing family members. These hunger strikes have become increasingly dangerous, Sri Lanka’s defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, has flown to the capital to aid in any helpful resources needed to end the conflict. Since the current election of Maithripala Sirisena, no work or improvement has been made to decrease the issues of hunger strikes or the mysterious disappearance of 60,000 families. According to human rights groups, the numerous people who vanished from their families were taken by Sri Lankan military assemblies or just never came home. The hopes in finding these missing family members have never progressed, “All the initiatives of the government remain on paper, there has been nothing evident in practice” (Dr. Sivamohan). If the Sri Lankan government was serious about taking action, then something would have already been done. 

The hunger strikes in Sri Lanka have been going on for years without any change from the government. Not only Tamil citizens are taking part in this strike but Tamil prisoners. The government finds this hard to believe, with this being said, they are trying to in-prison all of these people on suspicious activity. Some Tamil citizens have been in-prisoned due to concerns to the connection with the Tamil Tiger Rebel Group. The Tamil Tiger group or The liberation tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are an existing activist group fighting for the rights of all Tamil people.  Most of the people have been sentenced to jail based upon the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) where the government can hold a prisoner for the maximum of 18 months without a trial. The government has placed these people under lawful arrest because of the fear of violence. But what does the government have to change to decrease or just stop these insensitive conflicts from occurring. Too many families are loosing their loved ones. If the government wants to end this conflict that has been going on for decades and maybe even centuries then he should start by giving freedom to some citizens. If this doesn't necessarily work then maybe ask for help outside of your jurisdiction. There are numerous humanist groups, like the Red Cross willing to help out. In addition to the hunger strikes, the kidnapping of the families needs to stop. Is the government/ military groups trying to help the problem or make it worse? Since 1997, families have been disappearing for no reason at all. However, the government doesn't see this as "not a reason" the government has been taking families due to the thought of the connection with the Tamil Tiger rebels. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the new government's reconciliation officer, explained to journalists that since the conflict began in 1983, over 65,000 people have gone missing.  I consider this article a reliable source because third-world countries do get affected by these kind of issues regularly. Not all countries have reliable sources of food or water, but with the economy rising in other countries. More first world countries can aid in being a reliable source to increase third world country economies. With this being said, the hunger strikes could be affected by a single person by sending food to Sri Lanka in hopes to reduce this conflict. In addition, for further help, the hunger strikes could be affected by a single person based on the idea of telling organizations about what has been occurring in Sri Lanka, so that they could request more help in aid to decrease the hunger strikes that are currently happening.  For further information on the full article, please find the link below.

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About the author

I'm Brianne, this is my final semester at Champlain College and I am currently studying social science: education option. On my past time, I enjoy learning musical instruments, and practicing the ones that I currently study.