HRW claim on sexual abuse speculative, says Sri Lanka

Human Rights Watch

Submitted by Walter Jayawardhana

The Sri Lankan armed forces on Thursday rebutted the charge of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) that the government troops had indulged in extensive sexual violence against Tamil women during and after the Eelam War IV, saying that cases of such violence were very few and the perpetrators were punished.

Describing the HRW’s report as “speculative creativity”, military spokesman Brig Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that during the conflict period (January 2007 to May 2009) seven security forces personnel were reported as being involved in five incidents of sexual violence in the Northern Province. This was out of a total of 125 persons (including civilians) accused in 119 incidents in the Northern Province.

The ethnicity of the victims of the five cases reported against security forces personnel was four Sinhalese and one Tamil.

In the post-conflict period, 10 security forces personnel were reported as being involved in six incidents of sexual violence in the North. This was out of a total of 307 persons accused in 256 incidents in the entire Northern Province.  The ethnicity of the victims was two Tamils, one Muslim and three Sinhalese.

The involvement of security forces personnel as a percentage of the total accused stood at 5.6 per cent in the conflict period, and 3.3 per cent in the post-conflict period.

He further said that legal action had been taken in all cases in which Sri Lankan security forces personnel were involved.

Five personnel were discharged from service after due punishment. Some cases were filed in civil courts. (Source: The New Indian Express)

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