Sri Lankan military charged with raping Tamils
London: Sri Lankan security forces have used rape and other forms of sexual violence to torture suspected members or supporters of the Tamil Tigers, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Tuesday. While widespread rape in custody occurred during the armed conflict that ended in 2009, HRW found that politically motivated sexual violence by the military and police continues to the present. A 140-page report, "'We Will Teach You a Lesson': Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces," provides detailed accounts of 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse during 2006-12 in both official and secret detention centres in Sri Lanka.
In the cases documented by HRW, men and women reported being raped on multiple days, often by several people, with the army, police and pro-government paramilitary groups frequently participating. "The Sri Lankan security forces have committed untold numbers of rapes of Tamil men and women in custody," said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW.
"These are not just wartime atrocities but continue to the present, putting every Tamil man and woman arrested for suspected LTTE involvement at serious risk," he said. Most rape victims spoke outside of Sri Lanka, and corroborated their accounts with medical and legal reports. Because HRW was not able to openly conduct research in Sri Lanka or interview people still in custody, these cases probably represent only a tiny fraction of custodial rape in political cases, it said.
Many cases followed a pattern of an individual being abducted from home by unidentified men, taken to a detention centre, and abusively interrogated about alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). A 23-year-old man who returned from abroad said he was abducted, held without charge, and raped on three consecutive days until he signed a confession.