Sri Lankans seek information on missing

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Hundreds of people held candles and photographs of loved ones as they marched in Sri Lanka’s capital Friday demanding that authorities provide information about relatives reported missing during the country’s civil war.

The vigil, marking International Day of the Disappeared, coincided with a visit by Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, to assess the government’s progress in investigating wartime abuses.

During the quarter-century civil war, which ended in 2009, an undetermined number of suspected rebels, journalists, and activists were abducted by ‘‘white van squads’’ allegedly operated by progovernment paramilitaries. Many were never seen again.


Many relatives say they also don’t know the whereabouts of family members who surrendered to the army at the war’s end.

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Pillay is to report to the UN Human Rights Council on the status of the investigation into abuses allegedly committed by government troops and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, including disappearances.

Separately Friday, hundreds of people protested outside the country’s UN office, urging Pillay to probe alleged atrocities by the rebels.

The European Union delegation in the country said in a prepared statement that it ‘‘encourages Sri Lanka to draw on the support of international partners who may be able to assist with this challenging task.’’

associated press