VAVUNIYA, 13 May 2015 (IRIN) – Almost six years after Sri Lanka’s bloody civil conflict came to an end, an underreported legacy of the fighting is finally being acknowledged: the extraordinarily high number of war widows struggling to make ends meet.
“Mr. G. Thevaraja, the President of the Vavuniya Citizens Committee (VCC) was attacked around 5.30-6pm this evening (8th Oct), whilst he was riding his motorbike back home from his shop in Nedunkerny. He had gone to his shop soon after Chairing an afternoon meeting with the VCC to discuss the #FreeJeyakumary campaign protest to be held on Friday, Oct 10th, 2014, in Vavuniya. He was assaulted by 4 persons in civil, who rode two motorbikes and attacked him with iron rods. His head was saved due to him having worn a helmet, but even his helmet was damaged in the attack. Whilst beating him, his attackers also threatened him using broken Tamil (non-native speaker),“You are going to organize a campaign for Jeyakumary. If You do not stop that, we will kill you!” The attack took place between the Nedunkerny army camp and police station. The attackers were allegedly non-Tamil speaking. He was rushed to the Nedunkerny hospital and has been since transferred to the Vavuniya hospital to receive treatment. His condition is not believed to be critical at the moment.”
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The Vavuniya Citizens Committee (VCC) will hold a #FreeJeyakumary Public Protest, calling for her release and all those held in detention without charges, on Friday, Oct 10th, at 10am, opposite the Court House building, Vavuniya.
Particularly in light of last night’s (8th) attack on the President of the VCC, in yet another attempt by the State to intimidate and silence dissent in Sri Lanka, we must stand together in solidarity for the truth, justice and accountability.
The families seemed to have come to terms with the fact that they were probably massacred on the beach, even though their bodies have not been found or even been excavated yet from where they are suspected to be. 24 long years have passed, and loved ones still come before a Commission, like they have in the past, to provide testimony. They want their stories recorded, for history, for posterity.
“VALIPUNAM, Sri Lanka, Jul 7 2014 (IPS) – The village of Valipunam, 322 km north of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, occupies one of the remotest corners of the country’s former war zone. The dirt roads are impossible to navigate, there are no street lights, telephone connections are patchy and the nearest police post is miles away, closer to the centre of the battle-scarred Mullaitivu district.”
Four years since the end of the war in Sri Lanka, women and children remain as, or more vulnerable and insecure than ever before. With the number of female headed households (i.e. war widows, spouses of the disappeared and long-term detained, teen mothers and wives abandoned by their spouses) and poverty having drastically increased as a result of the war, so have the grievances and hardships they are made to face. The State has set up few (if any) mechanisms/structures to ensure their security, and have nurtured a climate of absolute impunity with regard to how it treats perpetrators, particularly those directly affiliated to the State (i.e. police, military, local authorities).