‘Military is still waging a campaign of persecution using abduction, arbitrary detention and sexual violence’
A report by rights groups on Friday said there was enough evidence that the Sri Lankan military was still waging a war against Tamils.
The report — published by the UK Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and the International Truth & Justice Project, Sri Lanka — is one of the first documents to detail alleged rights abuse by the Sri Lankan armed forces in the post-war context.
Five years after the brutal war ended with the defeat of the rebel Tigers, the military was still waging a campaign of persecution, resorting to abduction, arbitrary detention, torture, rape and sexual violence, the report said.
Leading South African human rights lawyer and U.N. adviser Yasmin Sooka compiled the report, based on interviews with 40 Tamils who were reportedly held in custody by Sri Lankan authorities and who later sought refuge in the U.K.
The report, ‘Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka, 2009- 2014,’ comes ahead of the U.N. Human Rights Council debate in Geneva on a U.S.-led resolution, calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes and rights abuse in Sri Lanka.
“Sworn statements, along with medical and psychiatric examinations, have been gathered from dozens of Tamil men and women who sought refuge in the U.K. after being subjected to abuses in Sri Lanka. Almost all incidents they described took place after the war, some of them as recently as February 2014,” the report said.
Their accounts, documented by nine independent lawyers from western and Asian countries, established a case to answer for post-war crimes against humanity involving torture, rape and sexual violence — including anal rape and forced oral sex — by the Sri Lankan military, the report said.
South African rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in his foreword, said it “gives the lie to the Sri Lankan government’s propaganda that it is reconciling with its former enemies.”
The Sri Lankan army has been denying allegations of war crimes and rights abuse, maintaining that it was part of an anti-Sri Lanka campaign by some sections of the Tamil diaspora that supported the LTTE.