More than a decade after the Sri Lankan Civil War, investigations driven by the United Nations hope to bring justice to the estimated 40,000 victims of this conflict (Sivathasan). The Sri Lankan Civil War was a 26-year ethnically motivated battle between the marginalized Sri Lankan Tamils and the dominating Buddhist-Sinhalese population. Racial tensions ignited the creation of the Tamil Tigers which became the name of the armed Tamilian rebel group who ultimately lost the bloody battle against the Buddhist-Sinhalese government when their leader was killed in 2009. The Sri Lankan Civil War stands out for its extreme violence and disregard for human rights as well as its countless Tamilian victims who have not been officially pronounced dead. The ignorance of the Sri Lankan government to properly define the lives of such casualties has resulted in heavy turmoil for Sri Lankan families who consider their loved ones missing until confirmed otherwise by the government.
According to Wenzel Michalski of The European, in 2015, Germany, a key representative for the Human Rights Council, proposed a resolution to Sri Lanka to bring justice to victims and assign blame to those who have committed war crimes during the conflict. While initially beneficial, Gotabaya Rajakpaksa, a figure who was very instrumental in the violence during the last few years of the Civil War, was elected as president of Sri Lanka in 2019 (Michalski). Rajakpaksa shut down the resolution which curtailed any steps for justice and accountability (Michalski).
Now, the election of Gotabaya Rajakpaksa may have initiated the United Nations's involvement in investigations to expose those who have violated human rights and committed war crimes during the Civil War and those who have overlooked the trauma and turmoil of the affected families. Nick Cumming-Bruce of the New York Times explains that a resolution was passed by the Human Rights Council on March 23, 2021 and is led by Britain and Canada. The resolution is allowed a 2.8 million dollar budget and promises to gather an investigative team to analyze evidence from the Sri Lankan Civil War and assign accountability to the people who have committed atrocities and abuses (Ethirajan). All of this to say that while government officials and the president reject allegations of human right violations, the United Nations plans on investigating evidence in further detail and it is more than clear that the affected Tamilian families will make their voices heard until light is shed on the state of their missing family members.