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Amnesty sends report to UN Committee against Torture

Amnesty International has called on the Sri Lankan Government to bring to justice those who have committed acts of torture, in a report submitted to the UN last week.

The 32-page report documents allegations of torture, enforced disappearances and sexual abuse, and also slams the “routine use by Sri Lankan authorities of prolonged administrative detention”.

The group also called for “a public and impartial investigation” to reveal the existence and extensive use of secret detention sites, where torture has taken place “with a view to holding state actors accountable for actions and providing effective redress for victims of such violations”.

See the report here.

Citing case studies from interviews they conducted, Amnesty found that rape and sexual abuse was a problem for both male and female detainees held by Sri Lankan authorities.

One report read,

"A grandmother from Northern Sri Lanka described to Amnesty International how she and other displaced women attempting to flee the conflict in May 2009 were tortured by Sri Lankan army personnel, who she alleged forced them to parade naked, perform acts of a sexual nature and raped them in front of family members, including her grandchildren."

Another account told of how prison authorities organised attacks on Tamil prisoners by Sinhala mobs;

"On 13 November 2009, he (the victim) was among eight Tamil prisoners who said they were attacked and brutally beaten by a mob of Sinhalese prisoners. He told Amnesty International that the prison authorities were complicit in this attack; they had read out a list of eight names and handed the prisoners over to the Sinhalese prisoners to be beaten."

The danger to failed asylum seekers being deported to Sri Lanka was also highlighted with the report saying they were “especially at risk”.

Criticising anti-terrorism legislation and the lack of accountability in the country, Amnesty said,

Impunity remains the rule rather than the exception for violations of human rights in Sri Lanka.

See our earlier posts:

“In the North and East, police brutality is a way of life” (Oct 2011)

Bid to halt deportation fails, Tamils detained on arrival in Colombo (Sep 2011)