Home » Disappearances, Torture and Sexual Violence Continue After War’s End

Disappearances, Torture and Sexual Violence Continue After War’s End


Photo courtesy of AFP

Although Sri Lanka’s civil war ended 15 years ago, members of the Tamil community are still being disappeared and subjected to torture and sexual violence, according to a new report by the London-based International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP).

The report titled Disappearance, Torture And Sexual Violence Of Tamils 2015-2022 analyses the statements of 123 Tamils, 109 males and 14 females aged between 20 to 39 years of age, who between 2015 and 2022 were picked up and detained by security forces. The detentions lasted from between one day to one and a half years. Half of the 2022 detentions – 11 out of 24 – took place after President Ranil Wickremesinghe came to power in July 2022. The Tamil victims now all live outside Sri Lanka.

They were questioned about their links to the LTTE, participation in protests and memorials and about involvement with Tamil political parties.

“Sri Lankan security forces act as though young Tamil men and woman peacefully exercising their political rights pose a national security threat. The report shows that many of the same methods of disappearance and torture conducted against the surrendering LTTE fighters and the Tamil civilian population by security forces in the years immediately after the end of the war remain common till this day,” the report said.

In 130 of the 139 detentions, interrogation involved torture. They were severely beaten, asphyxiated with a polythene bag, burnt by cigarettes or other heated materials, immersed in water and suspended by  ropes. Sexual torture was also frequently used;ninety one detentions involved sexual torture.

In 55 of the 139 detentions, the detainees were forced to sign a confession after torture in a statement in Sinhala, which they could not understand. A few detainees escaped while others were released. However in 129 cases, they were blindfolded and returned to their families after money was paid.

Several reports, including those of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Freedom from Torture, the UK Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and ITJP, have documented widespread and pervasive incidents of torture by the security forces during the war and after it ended.

In a statement in March this year, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said, “I remain deeply concerned about recurring, credible accounts received by my office of abductions, unlawful detention and torture, including sexual violence, by the Sri Lankan police and security forces, some of which allegedly took place in 2023, mainly in the north and east of the country.”

The report includes a set of recommendations that should be implemented to end the culture of impunity currently being practiced by the police and security forces in regard to enforced disappearances, torture and sexual violence.

“While the Sri Lankan security forces should follow and abide by international standards regarding law, policy and practice, to date they have not done so and as a result, impunity for these crimes has become entrenched.

“The benchmarks set out in this report area constitute only a selection of suggested initial steps that donors and other states could recommend to the government of Sri Lanka, to abide by, which would demonstrate genuine political will on the part of the government to end the illegal practice of tortureand sexual violence as well as the unlawful conduct of the security forces which has continued for decades,” the report said.

It also pointed out that, “Ending this criminal behaviour by the security forces is arguably impossiblewith the current appointments to senior positions, of persons implicated in these crimes. However, even if credible individuals were in top positions, challenges would still exist about rooting out structuralpractices entrenched over decades with a few piecemeal reforms, and without comprehensive security sector reform.”

Read the full report here: https://itjpsl.com/reports/disappearance-torture-and-sexual-violence-of-tamils-2015-2022

What’s your Reaction?

Leave a Comment

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
You can enter the Tamil word or English word but not both
Anti-Spam Image