Missing women & PTA detainees Sasitharan urges families to register

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By 2018-01-16

By Mirudhula Thambiah

Northern Province Minister of Women's Affairs Ananthy Sasitharan urged all families of missing women and females detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to register with her Ministry to take further action to hasten the legal process.

"Two years ago, when I visited Welikada Prison to meet the detainees, I was able to meet nine women who had been arrested under the Act. But later, I was unable to maintain contact with them or their families to assist them.

Therefore, currently I have come up with an initiative to assist the affected families of missing women and PTA detainees. Thus, I request all families to register with my Ministry," she added.

She said that the numbers cannot be limited to nine prisoners, adding that there should in fact, be more. Many young women who surrendered during the end of war to the Security Forces have not returned yet, she noted.

"Some women who had minor injuries were taken for treatment at the end of war and they never returned. They were definitely not in a life or death situation. The whereabouts of many female cadres who were taken away from the Omanthai camp are not known.

Nobody is concerned about missing women. Even the District Secretaries in all five Districts in the North do not have data regarding the missing females and PTA detainees," she further noted. She further added, "Families of female cadres should come to the Northern Provincial Women's Affairs Ministry and register the names of the missing women and of those who were arrested under the PTA. They don't even have to visit our Ministry but can just send a letter regarding the female member of their family who has gone missing."

She, however, stated that owing to the fact that people had given this information to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the former Missing Persons Commission, they no longer hand any inclination to register again with the Ministry.

According to Sasitharan, the ICRC had recorded 18,000 cases of missing persons while her Ministry had thus far registered 304 cases.

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