Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2017, 17:20 GMT

Sri Lanka: Information on a group called "Mothers Front"

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 June 1994
Citation / Document Symbol LKA17670.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Sri Lanka: Information on a group called "Mothers Front", 1 June 1994, LKA17670.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6abaa6c.html [accessed 23 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

According to Reuters, the Mothers Front was formed in July 1990 by women whose children or husbands were killed or disappeared in a 1980s Sri Lankan government campaign against the People's Liberation Front (Janatha Vimukti Peramuna, or JVP) (8 Feb. 1991). The founders of the front were two Sri Lankan Freedom Party MPs, Mahinda Rajapakse and Managala Samaraweera (Inter Press Service 18 Feb. 1993)

The objectives of the Mothers Front were twofold: first, the creation of "an independent commission to investigate the disappearance of thousands of people since 1987," and second, the initiation of "an inquiry into [the fate of the disappeared], compensation for dependents of victims and help for relatives from social services" (Reuters 19 Feb. 1991). The Mothers Front also demanded that "the government remove "all oppressive laws and disband paramilitary death squads [and] reveal the names of all political prisoners..." (Japan Economic Newswire 19 Feb. 1991).

The first and the second conventions of the Mothers Front were held in February 1991 and June 1992 respectively (ibid.; Inter Press Service 23 June 1992)

Sources currently available to the DIRB provide information on the activities of the Mothers Front during the period 1990 to 1993. Following the second convention of the Mothers Front, "about 400 men and women," some presumably members of the Mothers Front, "stormed a Hindu Temple to Kaliamma, the goddess of revenge, demanding to be allowed in to pray for the punishment of those who took their children and husbands" (Reuters 23 June 1992). The Guardian refers to regular marches of front members during the period 1990 to early 1992 (9 Jan. 1992). As well, Reuters reports on a 1993 Mothers Front-organized sit-down protest near Colombo (5 Oct. 1993).

Inter Press Service states that the Mothers Front had little success in "pressuring the government to disclose information regarding whether or not people on their list are alive or dead" (18 Feb. 1993).

Sources currently available to the DIRB do not provide information on the activities of the Mothers Front since 1993.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

The Guardian [Manchester]. 9 January 1992. Gabriella Gamini. "Gabriella Gamini Reports from Sri Lanka on the Bereaved Women Trying to Track Down Their Sons' Killers and to Trace Those Still Missing." (NEXIS)

Inter Press Service. 23 June 1992. Rita Sebastian. "Sri Lanka: Mothers Mourn Children, Vow Vengeance." (NEXIS)

. 18 February 1993. "Sri Lanka: Three Years Later, Mothers Still Wait for Loved Ones." (NEXIS)

Japan Economic Newswire. 19 February 1991. "Asian News; Sri Lankan Mothers Demand Their Sons Back." (NEXIS)

. 14 February 1991. "Asian News; Sri Lankan Gov't Bans Demonstrations." (NEXIS)

Reuters. 5 October 1993. BC Cycle. "Protest by Parents of Sri Lanka's Missing." (NEXIS)

. 23 June 1992. BC Cycle. "Sri Lankan Women Want to Find Missing Relatives." (NEXIS)

. 19 February 1991. BC Cycle. Minoli de Soysa. "Sri Lankan Women Ask Government to Find Their Missing Men." (NEXIS)

. 8 February 1991. BC Cycle. "Sri Lankan Mothers' Front Demands Inquiry into Disappearances." (NEXIS)

Attachments

The Guardian [Manchester]. 9 January 1992. Gabriella Gamini. "Gabriella Gamini Reports from Sri Lanka on the Bereaved Women Trying to Track Down Their Sons' Killer and to Trace Those Still Missing." (NEXIS)

Inter Press Service. 23 June 1992. Rita Sebastian. "Sri Lanka: Mothers Mourn Children, Vow Vengeance." (NEXIS)

. 18 February 1993. "Sri Lanka: Three Years Later, Mothers Still Wait for Loved Ones." (NEXIS)

Japan Economic Newswire. 19 February 1991. "Asian News; Sri Lankan Mothers Demand Their Sons Back." (NEXIS)

. 14 February 1991. "Asian News; Sri Lankan Gov't Bans Demonstrations." (NEXIS)

Reuters. 5 October 1993. BC Cycle. "Protest by Parents of Sri Lanka's Missing." (NEXIS)

. 23 June 1992. BC Cycle. "Sri Lankan Women Want to Find Missing Relatives." (NEXIS)

. 19 February 1991. BC Cycle. Minoli de Soysa. "Sri Lankan Women Ask Government to Find Their Missing Men." (NEXIS)

. 8 February 1991. BC Cycle. "Sri Lankan Mothers' Front Demands Inquiry into Disappearances." (NEXIS)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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