As the world celebrates International Women’s day on March 8th, Tamil women are held in Sri Lankan military run “Rape Camps” said Mrs. Balambihai Murugadas, Minister for Women’s Affairs, Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE).
This is the latest chapter of the suffering of Tamil women, where over 90 thousand Tamil war widows and other women are forced to live among Security forces that abused them and killed their loved ones.
A recent report by the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) published details of Sri Lankan Military run “Rape Camps”, where Tamil women are being held as sex slaves.
The report states the following:
“A senior officer came into the room and was asked to take his pick, like we were meat in a meat market. He looked around and chose me. He took me to another room and raped me”
“Two of the women describe being detained in a group in one room, available for any soldier to come and chose from and take to an adjacent room or tent to be raped,” says ITJP.
48 of the victims had been detained under the Government of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and seven of them under the new Government of President Maithripala Sirisena.
ITJP has also provided details of six military men including a major and a lieutenant colonel who are alleged perpetrators of rape and torture in the military.
Other abuses faced by Tamil women:
According to the UN, Sri Lankan security forces have committed mass killings and large scale rape of Tamil women. The same security forces that committed these abuses are still stationed in very large numbers in Tamil areas; among the same women they committed sexual violence. Tamil women have to undergo fear and humiliation to live among the soldiers and to see them walking free and enjoying full protection and support of the Government, said Mrs. Murugadas.
Seven years have passed since the war came to an end but not a single soldier was brought to justice and the Government is trying to shield the soldiers even from the UN mandated inquiry. According to several independent sources, Tamil areas have a ratio of one soldier for every five civilians, the highest number of soldiers to civilian ratio in the world.
In addition, thousands of Tamil women who surrendered their husbands, daughters and sons to security forces have never seen their loved ones again. The Sri Lankan Prime Minister said that those surrendered are no more alive and refuse to give any additional information about how they were killed and continue to protect the Security forces, said Mrs. Murugadas.
The suffering of 90,000 Tamil war widows is continuing, having to live with pain of losing their husbands and to take care of the children with great difficulty and facing threats, intimidation and abuse from the same soldiers who killed their husbands. The current President who was Acting Defense Minister during the war when large number of Tamil women were sexually assaulted and raped has firmly reject any UN investigation and publicly committed to protect the Security forces from any punishment.
In addition, requests are also made by victims and Tamil Leaders to UN Human Rights Council:
1) We urge you not to give any extension of time to the Sri Lankan Government to fulfil its commitment to the unanimously adopted UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 on accountability beyond its March 2017 deadline. Sri Lanka voluntarily co-sponsored this Resolution and committed to fully implement the requirements of the Resolution by March 2017. Extensions and grace periods have been given already, but no progress has been made on any front,
2) The only way to protect us and give us justice and safety is for the UN Human Rights Council to refer Sri Lanka to the UN General Assembly, along with a recommendation to the UN Security Council that Sri Lanka be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or that an ad-hoc International Criminal Tribunal be created on Sri Lanka, similar to the procedure followed to assure accountability for North Korea’s Crimes Against Humanity.
Tamil’s safety will be in danger:
We fear that any extension of time will embolden and encourage Sri Lankan Government to commit human rights abuses against Tamils without any fear and Tamils safety will be in danger. Tens of thousands Sri Lankan Security forces who committed mass killings and sexual violence are still stationed in Tamil areas and live among the victims. There are numerous reports of current abuses against Tamils, including a recent report by UN Special Reporter on torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Mr. Juan Mendez.