A U.K.-based human rights organisation has alleged in a new report that torture by Sri Lanka’s state agencies of Tamils seen to have links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued unabated well after the end of the civil war in May 2009.
Freedom from Torture, an organisation dedicated to the treatment and support of torture survivors seeking protection in the U.K., claims in its report entitled ‘Tainted Peace’ that the medico-legal reports in the cases of 148 survivors shows that they were subjected to a range of torture methods that included brutal beatings (100 per cent of the 148 cases), burning (78 per cent) and sexual torture (71 per cent), as well as asphyxiation techniques (38 per cent), forms of suspension (45 per cent) and solitary confinement (70 per cent).
The report says the eradication of torture by the military and police is “one of the most urgent tasks” that the government to be elected on August 17 must address.
“The new leadership will need to tackle vested interests in the military, police and intelligence services who until now have resisted any proper reckoning for torture and other grave abuses committed during the civil war and the six years since the conflict ended,” the report states.
Of the survivors, 93 per cent were tortured because of real or perceived links to the LTTE, and that in a majority of cases (139 out of 148) the victims were Tamil.
More than a third of the Tamils who survived torture were those who had returned to Sri Lanka from the U.K., usually following a period of study or work, often when visiting their families back home the report claims.
Sonya Sceats, Freedom from Torture’s Policy and Advocacy Director, said: “That torture is deeply entrenched in the Sri Lankan military and policing apparatus is undeniable.
“The new political leadership elected to work with the President next week must be fearless in pursuing accountability for those responsible, no matter how powerful they are, and must put in place a credible plan to prevent torture in the future.”