Sri Lankan security forces have continued to torture Tamil detainees even after the election of reformist president Maithripala Sirisena in January, according to a report.
The report, by the UK-based charity Freedom From Torture (FFT) and published on Thursday, comes just four days before critical parliamentary elections on 17 August. Sirisena, elected on a promise to lift government repression, is seeking to prevent a comeback by his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose government has been accused of systematic brutality against the country’s Tamils after the military rout of the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009.
The forthcoming election is the second Presidential election after the war. Since then, the North and East of Sri Lanka has undergone heightened militarisation. Around 89,000 women headed households in the former war areas struggle to address livelihood needs, look after their remaining family and in many cases also look for their missing loved ones. Despite numerous promises, no independent investigation into serious human rights violations has resulted in a successful prosecution and conviction of alleged perpetrators, a sign of the culture of impunity pervasive in post war Sri Lanka.
We, the undersigned women both from Sri Lanka and outside take this moment to call on the candidates to publicly acknowledge the situation faced by a significant number of women across Sri Lanka.
“Colombo Telegraph has obtained an unpublished report commissioned by the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission in 2006 which had explicitly concluded that security forces personnel were involved in several high profile human rights violations including the killing of five students in Trincomalee in January 2006 and the abduction on 31 January 2006.”
“One of the larger areas of focus in the Report of the “Lesson’s Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” (LLRC) and the subsequent National Plan of Action of the LLRC is land. Though recommendations have been made with regard to land ownership and the “extents of private land” that is being “utilized for security purposes”, there are several civilians who are yet to have access to their land.
The former residents of the villages of Mayilitty, Kangesanthurai and Palali who have been living in temporary shelters since the year 1990 are among the many who await the day their land will be released to them. Mallakam Konappulam camp in Valikaamam North, Jaffna for the displaced is one such camp in which these former residents are residing. Facilities in this particular camp that holds approximately 424 individuals belonging to 127 families are poor, making the people’s demand to go back to their homes even greater. Watch the video for their story.”
According to a letter issued by the Kilinochchi zonal education director on the 03rd of January 2013, hundred and three security personnel have been employed to teach the Sinhalese language in all schools within the Kilinochchi zone.
It is illegal to employ any person for teaching in government schools other than those who have been appointed by the Ministry of Education and who have been properly trained according to the teacher services regulations. This decision also goes against the LLRC Recommendation which urges that security forces personnel should move out of civil administration activities as a vital step towards post war reconciliation. As per Recommendation 9.134 of the LLRC report, “the security forces should dis-engage itself from all civil administration related activities as rapidly as possible.” In addition to this, Recommendations 9.171 calls for “the phasing out of the involvement of the security forces in civilian activities…”