In a statement, the AHRC says the recent abductions of Mr. Gunaratnam and Ms. Attigala, merely highlighted the long standing problem.
The concern about the absence of political will on the part of the government has been there for a long period of time. While Mr Gotabaya Rajapakse grudgingly handed over Mr. Premakumar to the Australian authorities, he gave no firm commitment to take all appropriate action to stop abductions from taking place as might be expected of the chief operative of the defense establishment of Sri Lanka.
For a long time now the use of abductions has been part of an approved counter insurgency strategy in Sri Lanka. The late Mr. Ranjan Wijeratne, who was a former Deputy Minister of Defense, told parliament that these things, meaning counter insurgency, cannot be done according to the law. Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike refused to sign the UN Convention against Forced Disappearances on the grounds that a military offensive was taking place against the LTTE.
However, even after the official announcement of the end of that conflict, there has been no end to abductions. A tacit policy that the use of abductions may be extended, not only to counter insurgency but also to the suppression of any opposition to the government, has been followed by all recent governments.
In the discussion on recent abductions, the position of government spokespersons has been to deny government involvement in abductions while, at the same time, refusing to make any form commitment to stopping them, irrespective of who carry them out, as is the duty of any government.
The government may tell those who accuse it of abductions to “prove our involvement”. However, it is unable to answer those who accuse it of failing to take decisive action to stop abductions, and of the lack of political will to deal with the issue.
The most obvious argument against the government on the basis of its involvement in abductions is this absence of political will to bring culprits to the book and demonstrate its determination to stop such things from taking place.
The only way the government can answer this accusation is by demonstrating what credible action it has taken to stop such widespread abductions. The simple deduction to be arrived at from government’s absence of political will to deal with the issue is that there is a justifiable imputation of guilt, the AHRC adds.