Three years after the government of Sri Lanka declared an end to decades of civil conflict with separatist rebels, thousands of people are still missing, according to the UN and Sri Lankan activists.
The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) of the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights has recorded 5,671 reported cases of wartime-related disappearance in Sri Lanka, not counting people who went missing in the final stages of fighting from 2008 to 2009.
Hostilities between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels, who had been fighting for an independent Tamil state for nearly 30 years, ended on 18 May 2009.
“It’s been almost three years. My son went missing on 14 May  and I have not heard from him ever since. He was not a member of LTTE or any other group. He was just a normal Tamil civilian,” said Aarati, 56, a mother of three in the northern town of Kilinochchi, in the former war zone. Another son has been missing since 1993. Ganeshan Thambiah from Jaffna, told IRIN he has lost hope. “My son has gone missing for three years. It hurts me a lot but he is probably dead.”