US report slams Lanka on disappearances

The US State Department report for 2011 released on Thursday has slammed Sri Lanka over enforced and involuntary disappearances.

According to the annual report enforced and involuntary disappearances continued to be a problem in 2011, although the number of such disappearances appeared to decline from previous years.

Many disappearances appeared to be politically motivated, but during the year there also were increasing reports of disappearances connected with extortion and other criminal activity, sometimes involving government actors.

Local residents blamed abductions in the Jaffna Peninsula on security forces or members of the EPDP. Some disappearances appeared to be politically motivated, targeting civil society activists and persons believed to be LTTE sympathizers, the report said.

The report also said that rhere were reports of abductions and beatings of released former combatants. In July last year a police official told the media that a report compiled by the police department found that 1,700 persons were abducted in 2009-10, including 926 abducted in 2009 and 774 abducted in 2010. According to police, most of the abductions appeared motivated by extortion. Police took legal action in 275 cases, while 202 suspects were yet to be identified.

In its annual report released January 26, the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances noted 5,653 outstanding cases from Sri Lanka as of the end of 2010.

There was no significant progress made with regard to the thousands of disappearances from past years, the US report said. (Colombo Gazette)