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Sexual violence in the past by police and security forces against Tamil women

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by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s remarks while addressing the UN security council had an inaccurate reference about the Sri Lankan armed forces using rape as a tactic of war .

This is the relevant quote from the US Secretary of State:

“The resolution we passed today represents a step forward in our global efforts to end violence perpetrated against women and children in conflict zones, and it builds on two prior Security Council resolutions: Resolution 1325, which called on all parties in conflicts to respect women’s rights and increase their participation in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction efforts; and Resolution 1820, adopted last year, which affirms the ambitions set out in 1325, and establishes a clear link between maintaining international peace and security, and preventing and responding to sexual violence used as a tactic of war to target civilians. Yet despite these actions by the United Nations Security Council, violence against women and girls in conflict-related situations has not diminished; in fact, in some cases, it has escalated.

Now, reading the headlines, one might think that the use of rape as a tactic of war only happens occasionally, or in a few places, like the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Sudan. That would be bad enough, but the reality is much worse. We’ve seen rape used as a tactic of war before in Bosnia, Burma, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere. In too many countries and in too many cases, the perpetrators of this violence are not punished, and so this impunity encourages further attacks.”

Predictably Secretary Clinton’s comment evoked a storm of protests in Sri Lanka.While there have been many instances of rape during the course of the long war of many decades in Sri Lanka there have been no allegations of this particular type.

The important point to note is that these have been acts of individuals and not part of state policy that deliberately intends instilling fear into the hearts of the civilian population through systematic raping thereby making it easier to win the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

I personally think that it was an off the cuff observation (erroneous) by Hillary Clinton at the podium and not part of a prepared text. This however does not excuse her lapse but then they say even Homer nods. So why not Hillary?

It does seem clear that Washington realizes a faux pas has been made and is attempting to assuage the hurt feelings of a “hurt” Colombo as far as possible without acknowledging the error made by the Secretary of State.

Washington sent a special missive clearing the air without tendering any apology or announcing any retraction of Clinton’s remarks.

In a letter to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, the US State Department said the US government and international human rights groups over the years had detailed “numerous cases of rape and sexual violence in Sri Lanka, particularly acts committed against women held in detention by the government.”

However Melanne Verveer-the State Department’s global women’s issues ambassador-at-large, in the letter said, “In the most recent phase of the conflict, from 2006 to 2009…we have not received reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war, as they clearly have in other conflict areas around the world.”

“We hope that this clarification puts the issue in its proper context,” she said in the letter, adding that Washington remained concerned about extrajudicial killings, disappearances and detainee abuse in Sri Lanka.

“Secretary Clinton believes that Sri Lanka must focus to the future and move forward on the promotion of peace and the protection of human rights,” the letter said.

The Sri Lankan government stated in response that the explanation forwarded by the US State Department was accepted in good spirit and that the matter was closed.

Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing a media conference in Colombo said the letter of explanation sent by ambassador at large on global women’s issues at the State Department Melanne Verveer to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has cleared the air and was accepted as the official position of the US government.

“She had said in her letter that there was no evidence of rape or any other sexual violence between the period 2006 to 2009 by armed forces nor sexual abuse has been used as a tool of war. It seems that Mrs. Clinton had casually mentioned the name of Sri Lanka when she accused other countries of using sexual violence as a tool in war on September 30 in her address at the UN annual sessions,” Minister Samarasinghe stressed.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa also said he was grateful to the U.S State Department for correcting the statement made by U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accusing the Sri Lanka Army of adopting sexual abuse as a war tactic.

“The steps taken by the state department to correct the statement is a gesture of goodwill,” the President said while addressing an election propaganda rally in Galle .

After all that breast-beating and wailing and invoking of curses by the pseudo-patriotic elements this tempest in a tea-cup seems to have subsided. As the bard of Avon would say “All’s well that ends well”.

But then there’s an elephant in the room still.

It is a point that rape is not part of calculated state policy but there is no denying the fact that there have been several acts of rape reported during previous years of conflict (before 2006).

It is also a moot point as to whether the fact that no credible complaints of rape have been made can be interpreted as that of no incidence of rape.

Unlike previous regimes the Rajapakse regime has ruthlessly suppressed the media in Sri Lanka and through an effective system of media manipulation has succeeded in preventing instants of this type being reported in credible sections of the media.

As for the final phase of war what exactly happened is yet to be revealed in full. Again the cruel manner in which the government handled the medical doctors from the Wanni indicates that the whole truth will not be told for quite a while.

Against that backdrop the recent outbursts against the US in general and Clinton in particular exposed the sanctimonious hypocrisy of many a tin-pot Gemunu, saw-dust Parakrama and cardboard Gajaba.

Defending the state on the grounds that rape was not deliberate government policy was acceptable but to assert that the security forces were without blemish in this respect throughout this long war was unacceptable.

The harsh reality is that there have been several reported and unreported cases of sexual violence against Tamil women by Police and security forces in the past.

Moreover these offences seem to have been perpetrated in a climate of impunity. Very few instances saw the culprits being penalized.

Given the climate of impunity given official “approval” by the state it is possible to argue that such a state of officially sanctioned unofficial impunity is by itself part of deliberate government policy to utilize rape as a tactic or weapon of war.

But then this is only an arguable proposition and not a statement of fact.

The point to be emphasized here is that there have been many instances of sexual violence against Tamil women by security personnel in the past.

In that context I want to re-produce here an article I wrote for “The Sunday Leader” many years ago in July 2001.

It deals with incidents of sexual violence against Tamil women. The article was written in the aftermath of a massive protest demonstration by Tamil and Muslim parties over this issue.

Here then is the article and please keep in mind it was written eight years ago-Have things changed since then? – DBSJ

Sexual Violence Against Tamil Women

by D. B. S. Jeyaraj .

(Published on 8 July 2001)
___________________

“The Sri Lankan security forces have continued to commit serious human rights abuses, sexual violence, in the context of the 17 year armed conflict against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Sri Lankan Police have also repeatedly committed rape and other sexual abuse in the course of the fighting”. – Report by UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women [22 Dec 2000]

Eleven minority community political parties in Sri Lanka called for a protest demonstration held on Friday, 6 July 2001. Five of these parties represent the Sri Lankan Tamils and another five the Tamils of Indian descent while the eleventh is a Muslim Party. The objective of these parties in organizing this demonstration is to protest and draw attention to the disturbing rise of sexual violence against Tamil speaking women by personnel attached to the Armed Forces, Police and Para Military Outfits. Even though the political parties concerned are by no means the premier representative organizations of the people they claim to serve, the call for a protest was however enthusiastically received due to the serious timeliness of the issue at hand.

As a result, the protest was a near total success in the North and East with shops remaining closed, Schools being empty and transport at a standstill. The undergrads and senior students in the N- E spearheaded the campaign though few of them support the parties that called for it. The Hill Country saw Plantation workers keeping away from work for two hours and holding protest meetings. Black flags dotted the estate landscape. In Colombo there was a lunch hour demonstration. Several shops and businesses remained closed for a short period. According to a spokesperson from a Tamil political party, the protest was an overwhelming success because of popular people support.

The phenomenon of Tamil women being sexually assaulted by defence personnel “claiming to fight and uphold the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka” is nothing new. Complaints and protests have been raised in various foras. Several International Organizations, Tamil Politicians and Newspapers have highlighted these happenings very often. Although the 1996-98 period saw a lot of such incidents being reported, 1999 and 2000 had registered an all time low. This does not necessarily mean that such violence had ceased but was nevertheless, an indicator that it was on the decline. Some even attributed it to the intensive Human Rights Education being imparted to the Defence Personnel. This complacent mood however was shattered by events of the past week when the spectre of sexual assaults on Tamil women was resurrected again in Colombo.

Unlimited powers

The protest campaign was triggered off by a horrible incident on June 24 at a checkpoint in Maradana. A 28-year-old Tamil woman of Indian origin from Badulla was working as cashier at a hotel in Fort. The mother of two was staying at a lodge in Maradana. After work she walked home passing through the checkpoint manned by Police and Army personnel. Her address and name was noted by the cops and allowed to pass. Later the Policemen went to her residence in the night and forced her under threat of arrest, to come to the checkpoint. Since the current security situation enables Security Personnel to wield unlimited power over any Tamil suspect, the woman reluctantly agreed. She was gang raped by the cops and soldiers. She was warned under threat of death to keep quiet. The victim however told the lodge owner who took her to the Maradana Police who to their credit took immediate action. Three Army and three Police personnel have been arrested.

The revulsion felt by all decent people of the country at the incident was great. An incident related by a Sunday Newspaper illustrates this mindset. A 103 bus plying between Fort and Borella through Maradana had pulled up at this checkpoint. Someone in the vehicle had shouted out “this is the place where they gang-raped that woman”. The passengers had spontaneously shouted derisively and hooted in typical Lankan fashion at those manning that checkpoint. Although the personnel stationed there had nothing to do with the deplorable incident, the men had hung their heads shamefacedly and retreated to their hut. The 11 party call for a protest was sparked off by this, but extended in general, to the entire phenomenon of Tamil women being the targets of sexual violence over the past years.

The list of sexual offences allegedly perpetrated against Tamil women[i] by members of the Armed Forces and Police is compiled from news reports in the Tamil language newspapers and from additional particulars supplied by Human Rights Organizations engaged in gender issues.The list is neither representative nor exhaustive. it is crucial to note that these incidents are only the tip of the iceberg because several incidents have been suppressed by the authorities while a vast number of cases have not been reported to the authorities or organizations concerned about such violations.

This reluctance to reveal details of such instances is due to fear of reprisals and social ostracism. Most perpetrators of sexual offences are from the Police, Armed Forces or para-militaries. Therefore, victims are mortally afraid of the consequences if and when complaints are made. The cultural traditions of the community are yet to evolve an acceptance and accommodativeness of such violations. Hence, the suffering in silence. Despite these shortcomings the list does serve as an index to gauge the scope and scale of this terrible phenomenon.

The above-mentioned list provides an insight into this unceasing problem. The report submitted to the UN Commission on Human Rights early this year by the UN Special Rapporteur on “violence against women, its causes and consequences” highlights the cases of violence against women in times of armed conflict on a country by country basis. A relevant extract is “The Sri Lankan Security Forces have continued to commit serious human rights abuses, sexual violence, in the context of the 17 year armed conflict against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Sri Lankan Police have also repeatedly committed rape and other sexual abuse in the course of the fighting”.

Tamil women have in the North and East generally borne the brunt of these sexual assaults. There have been however some instances of Tamil speaking Muslim women also being victimised. A Muslim woman from Ottamavadi was raped in front of her husband by Soldiers. Two other documented cases are from Eravur. A 28 year old woman, Noor Lebbai Sithie Umma was raped and murdered by an armed para -Military group affiliated to the army. Likewise Ali Muhammath Athabia of Eravur was tortured and sexually assaulted in front of her daughters by members of an armed group.

While several incidents of sexual violence against Tamil women have gone unreported for obvious reasons, the details of many reported ones too have not been revealed. Many of the assaults perpetrated against women of the North and East have not received any publicity. But some incidents have received wide publicity Internationally though, not enough national coverage particularly in the Sinhala and English newspapers. Some of the better known incidents relate to Krishanthy Kumaraswamy of Kaithady , Rajini Velauthapillai of Urumpirai. Koneswari Murugesapillai of Amparai Central Camp Colony , Ida Carmelita of Pallimunai, Mannar, Saravanabavaan Sarathambal of Pungudutheevu etc. In all these cases, the victims were killed after being sexually violated. The most gruesome was that of Koneswari where a grenade was exploded inside her vagina after being raped and killed, to remove all traces of the sexual offence.

Tortured in custody

There have been other incidents reported where mercifully the victims have not been killed. One particular incident was that of Nagamany Yogalingam Vijitha who was arrested in Trincomalee and brought to Negombo. She was tortured horribly in custody. After ten months of incarceration, she was released on bail after the intervention of a Human Rights Organization. After a brief trial she was released on the grounds of insufficient evidence. A court summons was issued to the Officer-in-Charge of the Negombo Police Station who is yet to present himself in court over this matter.

Another incident that attracted notice was the case of two women Siva mani and Vijikala arrested in Uppukulam, Mannar by the Counter Subversive Unit and the Navy. They were allegedly raped by personnel belonging to both. When the incident came to light the Navy issued a controversial press release absolving their men of any complicity. The identification parade however disproved this claim. Although persons allegedly involved in the incident were arrested, the judicial process itself is painfully slow. Moreover the case is to be heard in Anuradhapura because the accused fear to go to Mannar courts.

The pattern of sexual assaults prevalent in the North and East came to Colombo in a big way this year. Two women, Siva rajani and Vimaladevi lodged at Haig Road , Bambalapitiya were detained and sexually assaulted by the Police in May. It is alleged that the Lodge Management was also involved in this shameful incident and had connived and collaborated in the offence. Initially there was some understandable reluctance by the victims to state as to what exactly had happened to them. At the same time, efforts were taken by top Police Officers to distort and underplay the incident. The victims however revealed more details, when the case was taken up at the Mount Lavinia Courts on Thursday.

This incident sent shock waves to the Tamils in Colombo that the wolf was at the door. Sexual violence against Tamil women by those in authority was no longer a phenomenon of the North and East alone. It was prevalent in the metropolis too. Then came the Maradana incident. Concern, anxiety and resentment over this state of affairs increased in leaps and bounds. The Tamil parties functioning essentially in Colombo had to be sensitive to the pressure emanating from the [ Colombo ] community. The protest demonstration followed.

While politicizing the issue from a Tamil perspective in its utilitarian value in the short term, the larger implications of the issue should not be lost sight of.

Lack of concern.

Although the victims are Tamil women, the issue cannot be confined to ethnic terms alone. The issue at stake is that of sexual assaults and violence against women in general. Unfortunately there seems to be a lack of concern among mainstream Human Rights Organizations and Feminist Activists on this. The universal outrage and condemnation felt and exercised over the Krishanthy Kumaraswamy issue seems to be absent now.

Whatever the reasons for this, the organizations concern should review and revise their stance. Allowing Tamil political parties to depict the problem as a “Tamil” problem alone would not help to eliminate the menace.

It is important for Tamils to realise that demonising the Sinhala people on the whole for this tragic situation would not be very helpful in the long run. This phenomenon of sexual violence in war situations is not restricted to Sri Lanka alone. It is not a unique attribute to the predominantly “Sinhala” Armed Forces or Police either.

Violence against women under similar circumstances is a worldwide phenomenon. UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Radhika Coomaraswamy states in her latest report to the UN Human Rights Commission “Violence against women during wartime continues to involve horrendous crimes that must shock the conscience of humanity. Despite the significant progress that has been made in recent years to strengthen legal prohibitions against rapes and other sexual violence, women and girls throughout the world continue to be the victims of unimaginable brutality”.

There is also the possibility that this type of violence against women would be confined to Tamil women alone in the future. Even as the problem moved from the North – East to Colombo there is no ruling out the possibility of it transcending ethnicity in due course.

There was an incident some months ago that focused attention on this possibility. The Police – Airforce checkpoint at Slave Island pounced on a woman who they suspected was a Tamil suicide bomber. They forced her to strip in broad daylight in the middle of the road. Subsequently it was discovered that she was a Sinhala woman from Ibbagamuwa in Kurunegala.

Luckily for the strip searching goons, the woman was of a rural background and therefore had no influence. Therefore, the monstrous action went unpenalised, though there was some criticism. This was silenced through a “masculinist manouevre”; the woman was a “sex worker” it was alleged. Another version was that she was a lunatic.

The idea was to “de-personize” her and “malign” her from a patriarchal perspective and undermine her. By doing thus, the issue of her rights being violated was deflected. The gravity of the offence was reduced. Interestingly the lunatics were those who sought to strip a suspected suicide bomber without adequate precaution. Another point is what the situation would have been had that woman been ethnically a Tamil instead of Sinhala? But the point here is that even non-Tamil women could be victimised in the future.

Incidentally, the assertion that the woman from Ibbagamuwa was a woman of loose morals has its parallel in other instances in Tamil areas too. Koneswari, Ida Carmelita, Sarathambal , Vijikala and Siva mani were all slandered wrongfully as “prostitutes” by those who violated their rights in a horrible manner. It was as if that assertion, even if a fact, gave these khakied offenders a right to violate the rights of these victimised women.

The continuing pattern of sexual violence against Tamil women persists because of the climate of virtual impunity that prevails. Apart from the solitary Krishanthy Kumaraswamy case, there has not been any other instance of the alleged offenders being meted out justice though there are some judicial inquiries on, they are being conducted in a manner that indicates justice would never be done. Cases are transferred out of the original jurisdiction in favour of the accused.

This however places a great burden on the living victims or those giving evidence on their behalf. What happens also is that as cases get protracted the will to seek justice gets enfeebled. The system seems designed to help the alleged offenders rather than the hapless victims.

The Police being asked to investigate cases is another farce. ‘Birds of a Khakied Feather stick together.’ The arrested persons are released on bail after a short spell. The cases keep dragging. Evidence is unavailable. People cannot be identified. Most alleged offenders are merely transferred and not interdicted pending inquiry.

Another aspect ignored is the gender sensitivity of the issue. Investigating male officers do not possess the required sensitivity and also share an unwritten bond with the accused fellow male officers. Justice is delayed and by extension this justice is denied. The credibility of the Judicial System in cases of this type is so low that few people expect any justice at all. Even the solitary exception of Krishanthy is now perceived as a ruse by the government to make an example of a showcase case and enhance its reputation.

Despicable Acts

This climate of impunity therefore encourages more and more persons to abuse their authority and indulge in sexual violations. The government is perceived as increasingly unwilling or unable to address this problem. Most high-ranking officers of the Armed forces and Police are fully conscious of the indiscipline amidst sections of the rank and file. There is however no incentive to check this tendency in a meaningful way.

The fact that the despicable acts of some vermin tarnishes the image of the entire Force is realised, yet fails to register. The only way out is to introduce the principle of superior or command responsibility. There is a possibility that if commanding officers are held responsible for the Human Rights Violations of their subordinates, then greater care and responsibility would be exercised to maintain discipline.

There is also a need to be more aware of global trends in the field of evolving jurisprudence in the area of Human Rights Violations in general and violence against women in particular. The International community has begun developing precise standards for rapes and gender crimes of violence. These can be classified as war crimes, crimes against humanity and even as components of genocide. This applies to women being tortured or subject to inhuman and degrading treatment too.

There are numerous instances of Tamil women being tortured and being meted out degrading treatment in custody. The recent furore over General Janaka Perera’s appointment in Canberra suggests that there is growing International awareness of the way in which the war against the LTTE is being fought in Sri Lanka. So these offenders should realise that a day of reckoning with International consequences cannot be ruled out in the future.

The International tribunals set up to investigate the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda have also created important precedents over the issue of prosecuting wartime sexual violence. The state is becoming held increasingly responsible. The cases and convictions against Dusko Tadic, Tihomir Blaskic, Bazim Delic, and Anto Furundzija of countries belonging to the former Yugoslavia have through case law advanced the cause of women vicimised in war situations. The Foca case concerning eight Bosnian Serbs is likely to be another path-breaker as the accused are charged with crimes against humanity for a widespread or systematic campaign of sexual violence against women. The Rwanda example of the Jean-Paul Akayesu conviction has established for the first time, that acts of sexual violence can be prosecuted as constituent elements of a genocidal campaign.

The approval in Rome on July 17, 1998 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court has, is another milestone. This statute has specifically defined rapes and other gender based violence as constituent acts of crime against humanity and war crimes. The Rome statute also addresses structural issues including the need to hire judges and prosecutors with special expertise on violence against women and children and the establishment of a victim and witness unit. These are “critical if the court is to function as progressive mechanism for justice for victims of gender based violence”.

Likewise, the government needs to revise and revamp the existing structure if it wants justice done in the case of sexual offences by Police and Armed force personnel against women. It is clear that the current system is structurally and functionally incapable of meting out justice fully. Just as the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act was incorporated on the grounds that special powers and laws were required to combat the menace of “terrorism”, new initiatives are needed to control and curb the tendency of Security Forces committing sexual assaults on people they are supposed to protect like the saying about the ‘fence devouring the crops.’ The phenomenon of sexual violence against Tamil women by those in authority can be checked only through an exhibition of political will by the state. That is if it has one.

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

A Sample Catalogue of Incidents of Abuse 1996 -2001

1996

11.05.96 Displaced unknown Woman at Kodikamam was raped and killed by unknown soldiers

19.05.96 Sri Ranjani (18), Puvaneswari (36) and Rajeswari (38) Sarasaalai by unknown soldiers. Rajeswari was Sri Ranjani’s mother and Puvaneswaris sister.

19.05.96 Woman (Name undisclosed)-Colombothurai-Armed forces

07-04.96 (45) woman-Thiyavettuvaan-Soldiers

01.05.96 Pushpamalar (22)-Kachchaai-Soldiers

09.08.96 K.Baleswari-Kerudaavil-Armed Forces

07.09.96 Krishanthi Kumarasamy (18)-Kaithady – Soldiers stationed at Chemmani search point. (Tried and sentenced)

08. 09.96 Vasuki-Jaffna-Six Soldiers (area unknown)

10.09.96 55-year-old woman-Thirunelvely in Jaffna-Soldiers (area unknown)

11.09.96 Thanaletchumi (17)-Kiliveddy in Mutur-Armed forces

Oct 1996 Letchumipillai-Trincomalee-Armed forces

Nov 1996 Young Girl in Vavuniya-Armed forces.

03.11. 96 Kanapathipillai Sornamma (35) Pattiyachcholai in Kalkudah-Army stationed in Kalkudah

12.11.96 S.Thenuka (Ten Years) Pathaimeni in Atchuvely-Armed forces

31.12.96 S. Siva sothy-Mandoor-Special Task Force at Mandoor.

Dec 96 P. Vanitha-Mayilambaaveli Housing Scheme-Army stationed at Mayilambaavely

1997

09.01.97 S.Navamani P. Jeyanthi (22) and K.Mekala (16)-Thiyavettuvaan-Defence Personnel at Valaichenai Paper Factory Camp. Jeyanthi and Mekala were Navamani’s daughters.

Mar. 1997 Woman Worker at Kalliankaadu garment factory-Kalladi Road Batticaloa-PLOTE (Mohan Group)

17.03.97 V. Rasamma (39) and V.Vasantha (28) at Mayilambaavely by soldiers stationed there. Both were sisters.

17.05.97 Murugesapillai Koneswari (35)-Amparai Central Camp Colony-Central Camp Police .

19.05.97 Kirubadevi (37)-Madduvil North-Soldiers

17.07.97 Vijayarani (17)-Araly-soldiers

05.08.97 Sinnappu Pakkiyam-(37)-Maavadivembu-Armed Forces at Maavadivembu

19.08.97 S Rajini-Vipulananda Street, Valaichenai-Army at Harbour.

05.09.97 Bala ndhi (Six years)-Atchuvely-Soldiers

12.09.97 Rajan i Velauthapillai (23)-Urumpirai North-Soldiers in Kondavil

16.10.97 Thanganayaki (49)-Amparai-Home Guards

28.10.97 (40) woman-Manthikai-(Soldiers)

12.07.97 K.Chandrakala (20)-Alvai. Soldiers

06.11.97 Shyamala (17)-Pallai-Soldiers

25.12.97 K. Amutha-Vidathaltheevu, Mannar-(Police)

27.12.97 Savari Madelleine (31)-Sorikkalmunai-5 division-Sorikkalmunai (STF)

1998

16.03.98 S. Selvarani (28)-Meesaalai-(Soldiers)

15.04.98 P. Ajanthanaa (17)-Ariyaalai-(Police)

07.05.98 Mentally Retarded woman (36) Nochchikkulam, Mannar-(Armed Forces)

22.06.98 K.Ragini (23)-Panichchankerni-(Army at Panichchankerni).

16.07. 98 N. Bhavani (46) Thirunelvely, Jaffna-(Soldiers)

1999

11.07. 99 Ida Carmelita-Pallimunai in Mannar-(Soldiers from Pallimunai Detachment)

17.12.99 N. Vijayalatchumi (19)-Kalmadu, Valaichenai-Tamil ParaMilitary Group in East.

28.12.99 Saravanabavaan Sarathambal ( 20)-Punkudutheevu, 10th division-Naval personnel

2000

21.06.00 Nagalingam Yogalingam Vijitha-Negombo-tortured and assaulted in custody by Negumbo Police

2001

01.02.01 T. Ananthy (28 )-Chettipaalaiam-(Special task force)

19.03. 01 S. Siva mani (22)-Uppukulam, Mannar-Counter Subversive Unit and Navy.

19.03. 2001 – N. Vijikala (22)-Uppukulam, Mannar-(CSU and Navy)

19.05.01 Siva rajani-Haig Rd , Bambalapitiya-Alleged Sexual assault by Police and Lodge Management.

19.05. 2001 Vimalathevi-Haig Road, Bambalapitiya-Alleged sexual assault by Police and Lodge Management.

24.06.01 28-year-old mother of two-at Maradana checkpoint – Alleged gang rape by Police and Army.

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

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110 Comments

  1. What DBS wrote eight years ago is valid today also. We hear of many cases s of sexual violations by armed forces and cops against Tamil women in north and east and up – country. Rural areas Singala women also affected.

    These things dont get reported by media as Mahinda govt has terrorised or put under control the media. If any journo tries to tell truth they are killed, abducted or jailed.

    Yes DBS the situation has not changed 8 years later. Actually its worse

    Thanks for pinpointing this

  2. Madam Hilary Clinton is to be praised for drawing attention of the world to the bad conduct of Sri Lanka army. Today no details are coming out because Rajapaksha govt keeps media controlled and blocks foreign journalists from meeting IDP’s in Vavuniya. If IDP”s are allowed to complain freely there will be lots of charges of rape and misconduct against Army. Even ow there is lot happening in IDP camps but people afraid to complain

  3. Point made by DBS is very valid. If rapes happen on an “individual” basis for long time and no action is taken by govt then that means govt approves of it happening. Climate of impunity encourages rape and so is systematic. In that case the Colombo govt is certainly using rape as weapon of war and sexual crime as deliberate war tactic

    Madam Hilary Cinton is 100% correct in her statement. Bravo!

  4. This article does point out the atrocities commited on Tamil women by the aremed forces. Govt Vehemently denying as if nothing has happened to Tamil women just puts the credibility of the state into question. Instead of using rape as tool if the Govt had followed up sincerely on these cases, it would have brought much faith within Tamil community . Myself as a Tamilian lost all my faith in the system and state on that day in July 1983 . Had my government done its best job to protect the innocent Tamil civilian, by now I would have translated the National anthem of Srilanka in Tamil and sung it proudly…

  5. Point well made.

    What Ms. Clinton said might not be ‘exactly’ correct but I would not go to bat for the Srilankan Defence Forces nor condemn Ms. Clinton. I say good on her for bringing this up.. may be it was done intentionally by the US.

    Similarly, the Channel 4 video might be fabricated – but, we all know that 100s (if not 1000s) of Taml youth have been killed in captivity, in the last stages of the war. You only have had to lived in Southern Srilanka during the JVP uprising in 1988-89 to see the ruthlessness of the Srilankan Defence Forces, and their horrific crimes committed against the Sinhala youth.

    I have 300,000 reasons to applaud Ms.Clinton’s statement in implicating Srilanka with crimes against Tamil women. I hope only such international pressure will shame the Srilankan govenment, and make it releax the hawlkish stance on Tamil IDPs.

    LET MY PEOPLE GO….

  6. Act of individual? Then the state must take this individual to court otherwise the people/victims will accept the act of individual as act of state. Why state was silent on this issue until Mrs.Clinton mention it?

  7. Dear Mr. DBS Jeyaraj

    Thank you for a very timely reproduction of an old article. When I see these articles and remember the single-handed , courageous exposure by you of Sri Lankan government’s atrocities I always get angry about the ridiculous but venomous propaganda by LTTE people against you. I just cant understand how they can try spreading such lies about you

  8. Indeed this is an eye opener. I myself was unaware that there have been so many cases which make it a rather sinister trend rather than isolated incidents. In the present environment with the increased harrassment of media and crushing of dissent it is very likely that such incidents go unreported.

  9. To
    Mr. DBS Jeyaraj

    As a European who served in your beautiful country for seven years I’ve been depressed by the endless cycles of violence there.

    This article of yours is one which I kept in my archives on the conflict in Sri Lanka

    You have rightly posted it again as the situation has not changed yet. The more things appear to chang the more they remain the same

    When i re-read your illuminating article again I was reminded of a saying y playwright Eugene O’Neill on Ireland.

    He said –

    In Ireland there’s no present or future.Only the past repeating itself again and again”

    Sadly this is true of Sri Lanka too.

    Your article of 2001 is appropriate for 2009 too because in Sri Lanka there is no present or future only the past repeating itself

  10. DBSJ is attacked by tiger Tamils not decent Tamils. Tiger Tamils know that DBS is strong critic of govt human rights offences but never admit that because DBS criticises LTTE human rights violations also. If DBS praised LTTE then tiger Tamils will also praise DBS . But its because DBS is critical of both govt and LTTE that many decent Tamils and non – Tamils respect and believe him

  11. DBS sense of timing is perfect. Appropriate article reporoduced at appropriate time with appropriate introduction

  12. Good balance Article again.
    1996 to 2001 around 60 rape cases according to your report against tamils. In other parts of the Sri Lanka on that period rapes reported to the Police is well over 5000. This is basically not majority systematically use against minority. There are many variety of maniacs live in Sinhala society, tamil soceity and in the world. This is individual s behaviour issue rather than SL govt. as a whole or SL Army as a whole. Please understand that! We all now must share friedship among Tamils & sinhalease rather than planting hatred among thes etwo societies repeating past mistakes.

  13. Mrs. Clinton’s comment and this DBS article brings attention to on going problem of soldiers raping women. Only public inquiry can bring out whole truth

  14. What is the purpose of publishing an article written 8 years ago? Recycling articles from archives is not serving any purpose.

  15. “In the most recent phase of the conflict, from 2006 to 2009…we have not received reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war.

    Because Independent journalists like this writer were not allowed in the conflict zone and still they are not allowed to interview the IDP inmates. Let the GOSL release those inmates then we will read lots of news from journo like this writer.

  16. We know that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton are respected leader by not only by American people but also by people around the globe. Therefore, without clear evidence and verifying the evidence, she would not have issued that statement. Though she acknowledged that there is no evidence that rape was occured period between 2006 and now, how we can make sure that rape by government forces does not happen without free media or agencies access? This is a million dollar question and we need to find answers. To clear the air, we need an international inquiry.

  17. Rape and child abuse is a widespread problem throughout Sri Lanka. Open the newspaper on any given day and there’ll be at least one rape case highlighted. The Armed Forces are not really any different — so in a society where sexual abuse against women (and young boys) is common, it will obviously appear in the Armed Forces as well.

  18. Suthanthiranathan

    You are displaying your ignorance in public by saying you dont understand significance of DBS earlier article reproduced now.Pathetic!

  19. to comment 15-suthanthiranathan

    you are missing the point. this is in the context of a serious allegation made in the UN against srilanka by none other than the most powerful women in the world.

    DBSJ’s old artcle clearly shows to which period she is referring to, and how we ot this bad image.

    maybe you prefer that it refers to the current period. then you are an exception. i think we all only want to know the truth.

  20. Rape of women and men is abhorrent in any country let alone Srilanka.Even in peaceful times it happens in poor countries as much as in rich and powerful countries.Rapists of of children in particular must be punished with death or life imprisonment.

    During armed conflicts and wars, rap eoccurs even in European countries.Srlanka is no exception as the writer has pointed out.

    The last reported incident was in 2001 according to the list prepared by the writer.The fact that there has been no incidents since, is commendable.This is proof that the current armed forces are well disciplined .They have learned from the past mistakes.

    The State Dept’s statement also seem to make this point.

    The “list” stops with 2001 because the original article was written in July 2001. This does not mean that sexual violations did not take place after 2001………DBSJ

  21. Dear DBSJ,
    I have a question:

    Your article title is “Sexual violence in the past by police and security forces against Tamil women”

    Wouldn’t this be a racist remark? I thought the idea was to persue a Sri Lankan Nationalism uniting all races. By singling out ‘Tamil Women’ the heading of the article descriminates agains abused women of all other races. I think this is the wrong attitude we have to rid ourselves from.

    Afterall, if a Sinhala write writes an article saying “Abuse of Sinhala women”, the entire international media and NGOs will shout RACIST…!!!

    In my openion, this is no different.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    This article written in 2001 was about sexual violations against Tamil women by members of the Police and armed forces .The heading reflects the content in the article. If the heading said by “Sinhala police and security forces” that could be “racist”

    If the article was about Sinhala, Muslim or Burgher women victims I would have stated that ethnicity too in the heading. But then they were not the victims in this instance. Neither did I focus on victims outside Tamil women because I wrote this consequent to a political demonstration by Tamil parties that Tamil women were being victimised

    Now there is nothing “racist” in spotlighting the injustice being meted out to women of a particular ethnicity. There is nothing wrong in pointing out the ethnicity of victims if an unjust act had been done against them on grounds of their ethnicity.

    The racism if any lies in the perpetrators of these crimes and those who seek to obfuscate simple issues under the name of “non – racist political correctness”.

    I would have expected a person of your calibre to be concerned about the climate of impunity that allows such crimes against members of a minority community. If the victims were all “Sinhala” there would have been a greater outcry.SAying this does not make me “Racist”.

    Having a national consciousness does not mean that we have to be silent about injustice against people of particular ethnicities. If you are unable to understand this simple fact then nation building will continue to be a mirage

    Take the Wanni IDP’s. We make it a point to describe them all as “IDP” because we are not “racist” and are “politically correct”. But the actuality is that the IDP’s are all Tamils and are being detained against their will only due to their Tamilness. So who is being racist the victims or perpetrators or those who avoid the ethnic issue in victimisation?

    You are best advised to do nit-picking on headings elsewhere. For starters there are English newspapers that report according to ethnicity

    If a “Sinhala” guy is convicted in a foreign country for smuggling drugs the heading would say “Sri Lankan”. But if a Tamil or Muslim is convicted the heading would say Tamil or Muslim

    So focus on issues like that instead of tilting at this windmill , Don Quixote!

  22. Well known politicians sexually harassed the woman a pubic figure is made to throw out all what happened and made get into bandwagon of politicians in power in Sri Lanka. They also give some bone falling off the table to the sexually harassed. This is the culture taught to us by our leaders

  23. It is very couargeous on your part to enliven the subject
    at the proper time, despite all the impunity of the
    State agencies and the curtailment of the press.

    Thank your for your services to humanity……..

  24. It was the LTTE under VP & Pottu that used rape as a deliberate instrument of terror to make Tamil people submit to tiger diktat. Hillary was right in her general accusation

  25. Violence against Women is a reality in SriLanka regardless of which group the perpetrators and victims come from

    The sad part is, it’s accepted and hidden and indeed, sometimes justified for one reason or the other

    SriLankan men are real He-Men after all !

    Secretary Clinton is not unknown for speaking before all facts are known (does anyone remember the heavily berated Congolese student ?)

    AFAIK, there was never a policy to use rape as a tool of war and I don’t think characterising it as such is valid

    That being said, when men are given power over others, (especially over women), some do take advantage of that power.

    Perhaps it would be a good idea to check the occurences of non-military cases of rape in all communities for comparison

  26. There has been plenty of reports of rape in 2006 and beyond e.g. Vankalai massacre.

    Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, UK has recorded many cases, here is one:

    “In another case, a Tamil Hindu woman was targeted by the Sri Lankan army and the police when her husband, a former LTTE member previously detained by the police, went missing. Police and army officers raided her home when LTTE men were there offering to help the woman find her husband.

    She was frequently raped and sexually assaulted by groups of officers who would ply her with alcohol and on one occasion, administered a drug that rendered her unconscious. Disturbingly, it was a female officer who helped orchestrate the rapes, which were filmed and photographed. She was told she would be shot if she reported the rapes and after her release, became suicidal when she could not talk about her ordeal.”

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. Nothing has changed in the Sri Lankan govts’ approach, it is just hidden more.

  27. there were reports of rape and kidnapping of young girls in the east in 2007-2008 / pre provincial counsil elections. these were highlighted in the local media but after the elections all these media became silent.
    do you have any reports on these sexual violences in the east in the recent past?

  28. 18 David Blacker

    How can you say rape and child abuse is only happening
    in SL. Look at USA and Europe there were two well
    known cases of women kidnapped and held for nearly
    two decades under appalling conditions and raped
    for years producing children as a result of rape.
    Rape and child abuse happens in these so called
    devloped countries too. Some of these child abusers
    come from western countries to places like Sri Lanka
    to commit these acts.

    Madam Hillary Clinton can say those things about a small poor country like SL but she conveniently
    forgets what their forces are doing in Iraq and Afganisthan. Who would forget Abu Grai incident, the
    female soldiers pointing at the genitals of hooded
    prisoners and having a good laugh.
    Besides why doesn’t she talk about her own husband
    who took advantage of a young white house intern.
    These are only few incidents that has come to light.
    How many other abuses must have taken place.

    Having said the above, I am not for one moment
    defending any abuses committed by the SL forces and
    Police. In every war abuses have happened. Look
    at Vietnam, how many children of mix races walking around in the streets as a result of these rapes.
    If SL forces have done any acts of abuse or rape, surely
    the culprits should be brought to justice.

    Peace for all.

  29. DBS ….

    Do u believe in GODOT??? Do u believe atleast the belief that GODOT is present and would come will keep our people alive and kicking or do u think the same thoughts are tying them down???

  30. Well balanced.

    Clinton was wrong, because she said rape was a tool of war. At the same time there have been so many isolated incidents which were not a part of a state plan to infuse fear in the mind of the warring community, well taken.

    But adding to the TCK’s point do you think nothing of the sort happened during the two JVP insurrections in the south.

    Another point is that in Sri Lanka one reason for women’s reluctance to join aggressive political activities is the fear of sexual assualt either by armed peope phisically or by politicians socially (like in the case of Anaarkaly )

  31. dear mr. jeyaraj,
    it’s a pity that wide sinhala public won’t have access to this article. i don’t think lankadeepa will be brave enough to translate this and publish.

    sexual violence against women is a menace in sri lanka. not only tamil women, any vulnerable woman is in danger of abuse. we have heard a lot of stories of rape of sinhala girls in custody during JVP uprising and infact it’s well known that even the females in the armed forces and police are vulnerable to sexual abuse by their senior officers. especially with the war situation, the armed forces have taken an upper hand and they act as if they are above the law. since north and east predominantly ruled by them these incidents you have reported are no surprise, though chilling.

    may be the government and the armed forces think that by bringing the perpetrators of these crimes into justice and wide publicity they get, they will loose popular support from the people, especially in a war situation. but hiding these crimes doesn’t help the victim or the armed forces. the soldiers keep on doing this disgracing the whole nation.

    not only the politicians and the heads of armed forces, even journalists in colombo are responsible for these crimes by not giving them the publicity they deserve. even now the newspapers are full of Hillary bashing. by idolising armed forces as heroes and failing to see them as normal human beings with mistakes, they try to hide all crimes. this prevents our armed forces being disciplined and professional. it hurts not only tamils but the nation as a whole.

  32. David Blacker’s (#18) comment in more ways than one goes to trivialize rape against innocent Tamil women by the armed forces a matter of deep concern to Tamil women all over the country. The list provided elsewhere in the blog is frightening. Blacker’s comments also have features of justification and even encouragement in it.

    This taken with the fact he is believed to be an ex-army man brings a bad taste to the whole issue. Isolated sadistic behaviour of army men is not uncommon as one reads of occasional instances of rape by US soldiers in Japan and many other. But the US Army, Govt and the Press there do not seek to hide them. They bring them to public focus and set in motion the rule of law against them as is expected of all civilized societies.

    The world that comes to know of this does not form a bad opinion of the US army but, on the other hand, appreciate the action they take against the bad apples in a large responsible defence force. As Blacker ? also familiar with journalism-may agree exposure of crimes against society advances the rule of law rather than sweeping these under the carpet and defending warped minds.

    In this particular case Hillary Clinton has not specifically chosen Sri Lankan for her critique. She has mentioned several other delinquent States as well.

    ISS

  33. Most people who carries a gun get a feelin of importence.During this feeling of importence people (gun carriers) hurt other people.Wheater its a tamil sinhala burger or any other race.
    Lets not forget the american forces raped more women than any other military as they have caused to put there hand in other peoples conflicts bcause of the greed.

  34. Sri Lankan army sexuelly abused women as they served as peace keeping forces in Haity. No need to talk about this in war situation and as an occupied army.

  35. DBS,

    Sri Lankan society a highly traumatized one. Over the last 30-40 years it has been raked by two armed insurrections by Singhalese, one by Tamils. Political violence is rampant so is corruption at every level in the society. Sexual violence against women and young children are also extremely high. This in the country that is claimed to be the cradle of Buddhism, the premier non-violent religion in the world.

    Having said all that one also has to recognise and admit that the government of Sri Lanka (or no past government) has ever used sexual violence as a means to conduct any war (be it against the LTTE or JVP). Individual acts of sexual brutality has happened, as they would in a situation when a section of the society is placed in a controlling position over another section with no law and order to provide restrain. You have listed a number of cases where individuals from the police/armed forces sexually brutalized individuals from one ethnic community. What you should also have provided was the total number of such cases reported in the country during that time, because that would have provided context. No doubt there is a problem in the country with respect to sexual violence against women and children. While is not a fact that one should be proud of, but it is much dangerous to portrait as directed against one community, which I don’t believe is the case.

    Madame Clinton is on very thin grounds here, and I have a feeling that what she said will come back to haunt her and her administration. She is acting like a silly women who has been scorned. One remembers her repeated calls to Sri Lankan officials during the last days of Ellam war, trying to rescue the LTTE leadership on the pretext of saving civilians. Sri Lanka has been pushed into the sphere of Chinese influence due to circumstances where the country could not get any real support to combat LTTE terrorism form her traditional friends. Statements like these from US officials will act to strengthen that situation very much. There is outrage in Sri Lanka over Clinton remarks and more than the government officials it the common people who are upset. One can be sure that at every turn of the conversations with Sri Lankans on this subject, we will be reminded of how numerous individuals from the virtuous US army behaved in Iraq. The incident in Hadita comes to ones mind. And one also has to remember that after a “fair” trial by the US Armed Forces, all solders who were accused of that were freed. Now where is the outrage of the international community in that case?

  36. As usual, a great article DBSJ.

    On a slightly different tangent, can you please throw some light on what sort of track record the LTTE and other Tamil insurgent groups had in this regard? Generally, it is believed that the LTTE never sorted to rape (either as a tactic or through errant individuals) though they have been accused of many other dirty tactics (massacres of Sinhala villagers and the like). However, what about other Tamil insurgent groups such as the PLOTE or TULF or the pro-India EPRLF? Have any of them been guilty of rape (of either Tamils/Sinhalese)?

  37. When Adolf Hitler was asked if his planned invasion of Poland a violation of international law, he scoffed, “Who ever heard of the extermination of Armenians?” .

  38. There may be no evidence that LTTE used rape as a tool of war, but they certainly used rape-victims as a tool of war with the famous example of Dhanu, the suicide bomber who killed Rajive Ghandi, Indian PM in 1991.

  39. Accidently I saw an article in the Neruppu.com written by Archchunan today. I really don’t know who this Archchunan is.
    I used to previously read his articles in the thenee.com. This man exactly predicted the down fall of LTTE well before the start of the 4th ealam war.
    In the current article, coincidently he has dealt with how some of the LTTE leaders have got their spouses.

    It is worth to read.

  40. what is most glaring is that except for one case none of the culprits it seems have been tried or convicted. Is there not any fast track procedure to deal with cases of rape and molestation in Sri lanka

  41. SL armed forces have notorious back-round for sexual violence against women. They earned very bad publicity in Haiti (See below BBC news). As they could not maintain discipline on their peace keeping mission in Haiti under UN; how can we expect they behave with discipline in SL under moon light cow boys regime. There is no media, no watch dog…….etc. But LTTE and other Tamil parties use these small incidents against Tamil women, for their propaganda and their own political gain. Even Government never punish any soldiers who involved in the sexual violence. I don’t know what happened to Kirishanthy case.

    BBC NEWS Friday, 2 November 2007, 22:15 GMT

    S Lanka troops ‘abused Haitians’

    Sri Lankan authorities were involved in the investigation
    The UN is sending home more than 100 of the 950 Sri Lankan peacekeepers in Haiti, accusing them of sexual abuse, including with underage girls.
    The UN said the troops had paid for sex and that some of the girls were minors.
    UN peacekeepers have been involved in a series of sex-abuse scandals, including this year in Ivory Coast, where 800 were suspended.
    The organisation said it had a “zero tolerance” policy but it was up to the supplying nations to discipline troops.
    A 2005 UN report suggested a central disciplining policy but member nations could not agree.
    ‘Low standards’
    A total of 108 of the Sri Lankan peacekeepers are being sent home.
    The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services and the Sri Lankan authorities had overseen the investigation.
    UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said: “The United Nations and the Sri Lankan government deeply regret any sexual exploitation and abuse that has occurred.”
    She added: “The [soldiers] are back under national jurisdiction. So far Sri Lanka has said… that they are going to be prosecuted in Sri Lanka.”
    The UN was working to help the victims of the abuse, she said.
    Member states are supplying about 100,000 troops to peacekeeping operations worldwide.
    In recent years, peacekeepers in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have also been accused of sexual exploitation.
    In July, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, said the standards for selecting peacekeepers were too low.
    Mr Nowak said concerns about the quality, training and ethics of peacekeepers were growing.

  42. As pointed out by many, sexual crimes against women and children are prevalent in Sri Lankan society and have been used by various parties against all communities from time to time. Even in the case of toture of men, sexual methods have been used. This is because sexual torture is the most bestial and degrading tactic that can be inflicted on a human being.

    In the present conflict, sexual harassment of civilians has been highlighted as there are a plethroa of such cases and nothing has been done by the authorities to aprehend the criminals and bring them to Justice. As in the case of extra-judicial killings, abductions, the inaction of the authorities indicates their unwillingness or pressure brought from above to scuttle or not proceed with investigations. These crimes have to be viewed against the general backdrop of Impunity, Human Rights violations by the Government, lack of transparency etc.

    As the majority of crimes reported at this time are against a particular community by the forces who are mainly from the majority community, there is a certain impression that may be created in the minds of the International Community. Government could easily counter this by being transparent and taking action against the miscreants. Instead the Government says that we are 100% guiltless and as white as lilies. Such statements only serve to reduce our credibilty amongst the International Community.

  43. Dear DBSJ,

    I was goind to negate one of your point regading SL Government’s state policy, but few paragraphs down, you said that clearly as

    “Given the climate of impunity given official “approval” by the state it is possible to argue that such a state of officially sanctioned unofficial impunity is by itself part of deliberate government policy to utilize rape as a tactic or weapon of war. ”

    Very Well Said!!!

    But again,


    Melanne Verveer-the State Department’s global women’s issues ambassador-at-large, in the letter said, “In the most recent phase of the conflict, from 2006 to 2009…we have not received reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war, as they clearly have in other conflict areas around the world.”

    It is very unfortunate for thamils, on top of many , that Hon. Melanne Verveer did not see the video in which

    The most decent SL Army having sex with the Dead Body of a Female LTTE fighter during 2006 to 2009.

  44. Sir you have as usual written and excellent article. More than a journalist you are a man of great knowledge and vision. Thank you and God bless you to continue your good work.

  45. This is a case for women who face violence in their daily life, but under war condition situation becomes extremely bad and dangerous. Tamil women were even raped, sometimes, killed during IPKF time (Indian Army). Notorious cases were emerging from Thrunelveely and Urmpirai areas. Our daily life was so uncomfortable and we were really worried then ( 1987 to 1989).

    Army should develop a comprehensive policy to deal with this important issue. It is really damaging to any government, if it is scrutinized under human right violation.

    I still remember the Krishanthy case and every Sinhala woman was so up set. So every women who is behind thees powerful men ( president and ministers), should try to work on it and bring a good solution.

  46. Rape is rape whether it is pre 2006 or post 2006. In establishing the veracity of these allegations one has to decide the authenticity of the source and if means of establishing that fact are systematically denied.

    Obviously the US government and human rights groups depend on eye witness statements made to themselves directly or to time -honoured agencies such as the independent media reporters, or to parliamentary representatives.

    Madam Melanne Verneer says that “in the most recent phase of the conflict, from 2006 to 2009 … we have not received reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war, as they clearly have in other conflict area around the world. Reports from whom?

  47. # 37 Roshan,

    You know very well that your claim of American Soldiers is a complete fiction. Only few comitted this crime and were rightfully punished by the US Military.

    Why does some people resort to this kind of propaganda, to deflate the heat?

    If you find some one guilty under the law, punish them regardless of the race. This will deter other would be rapists, It’s that simple!

    # 42 Vinod Joseph,

    I can answer you on your question and DBSJ is well knowledged to input further.

    I’ve never heard anyone ever accusing the LTTE of raping anyone but the Karuna and Pillayan group have done plenty in the east with assistance from their masters, the SL Military’s Intelligence division.

    All were equally bad but these two are standing out;

    1) The TRO Female Accountant was gang raped and killed with other staff on their way to Wanni.
    The person who led this rape and killings was “Hacked” to death few years after during, Karuna-Pillayan interecine battle.

    2) The mother who went to complain about her daughter’s rape to the Police in Kalmunai was also raped and murdered.

    This is the service provided by the ” few babarians” in the Armed Forces on innocents. Again, please do not generalise the entire Armed Forces or accuse them, but the bad ones couldn’t have done these crime, without the blessings from their higher ups.

  48. Brother DBS,

    Thank you for being a better human being, rather than just another journalist.After May, there is a political vacuum among Eelam Tamils.You are outspoken,honest and interlligent.Have you ever thought about leading the Tamil Diaspora in achieving Eelam Tamil’s aspirations ?Now don’t give no silly excuses.After all, you know we Tamils are proud of you and love you.

    “Sirippu varuthu,sirippu varuthu, sirikka sirikka sirippu varuthu” (Chandrababu song in film “Aandavan Kattalai” written by Kannadasan)……………..DBSJ

  49. Vinod Joseph,
    The Sunday Leader newspaper reported last year that cadres of the pro-GoSL terror group TMVP raped two teenage Tamil girls on the day of the Eastern Province elections. Absolutely nothing was done in the form of investigation or prosecution. So maybe Hillary Clinton should revise her statement on sexual violence in Sri Lanka to ” Sexual violence against Tamil women is condoned by the GoSL”. That would be far more accurate.

  50. ” If a “Sinhala” guy is convicted in a foreign country for smuggling drugs the heading would say “Sri Lankan”. But if a Tamil or Muslim is convicted the heading would say Tamil or Muslim”

    well said DBS !! a consistent theme I have noticed in particularly one colombo daily.

    Hope atleast now they correct their mistake after being highlighted by people like you !!

  51. DBS and readers. I am not supporting rape, torture, Singhalese or Tamils etc but I wish to present a different point of view. All this needs to be looked at thru in what context and back ground are we looking at this picture. The article and many of the ensuing comments seem to make emotional judgements without looking at the full picture.
    Firstly I have lost all regard for Mrs Clinton. A person of her position should check the facts before talking. I still have my greatest regard to her husband who was a good president and did a lot for world peace.
    In 1971 there was the JVP insurgency in SL where at least 20 to 40,000 sinhala girls and boys were killed by armed forces. The Singhalese beauty queen of Kataragama, Srilanka who was suspected JPV terrorist was raped, then paraded in the town naked and shot and buried in a make shift grave. There was no Diaspora to make world head lines or investigative journalists. In 1983 under Premadasa regime, second insurgency, death squads operated, girls were taken from their houses, raped and killed. These were all sinhalese and if a list like DBS’s one was made, it would have been 100 times more. Point is, it is not only Tamil women were subjected to this. But the common thread is, JVP and LTTE took violence to GOSL and the latter reacted. This is a by product of a section of population taking to arms. Then we say, the reaction of GOSL was unreasonable. But there are NO rules of engagement in these instances.
    I can give one of many examples during world war 2. The US soldiers entered Germany and a forward patrol was ambushed and 8 killed by Hitlers werewolf gang of youths. WW were trained to kill many US troops as possible but the war was lost and further killing was fruitless. A US soldier caught the youth, who said even if dead he will not tell where his group was hiding. When the soldier was about to kill him, US Army chaplain saved his life. The boy was 13 years. Later the soldier was court marshalled and he escaped severe punishment for attempting to commit murder because of the extreme circumstances. He was dishonourably discharged.
    Always when there is a war or civil unrest, it is the population which suffers. In the last gulf war, the proportion of civilian casualties to combatants was 1 is to 200. This tells the story. I do not think the situation in 2001 is comparable to 2006 or 2008 as the armed forces became more and more conscious of civilian well being. One has to read the articles of Maj Gen Lalin Fernando, Thomian and Ex Sandhurst, in Asian Tribune to realise that Army officers did understand the ideas and aspirations of the Tamil people as this struggle progressed.
    I don’t understand why we open old wounds. Injustices will be done in this world now as well as in the future. We cannot change the world but we can change ourselves. What is necessary, is for us NOT to allow a small group of radicle individuals whether Sinhala or Tamil to hold the community to ransom and dominate our lives. We should NOT support them with financial backing. Revenge does not extinguish revenge but compassion does. So said Buddha.

  52. #58 Don,
    The issue is not only the war situation lead to the abuse of women. But the lack of the justice been done to them. You cannot accept this brutal behavior of anyone who cover the brutalities as a part of the war or even defending it. Victims are mostly innocent women and it doesn’t matter they are Tamil, Sinhalese or Muslim. As far as I know the LTTE had done many brutal things to the public but they never sunk so low to rape a women during the 30 yrs of conflict. Lack of the justice, encouraged the solders to rape women not only in Srilanka but as far as in Haiti as well. We all should be shame to be born in a country with the solders did so many abuses with full protection of the country’s justice system.

  53. #57
    Not only that, if a Tamil did something good, then he is srilankan, but if he done something bad then he is tamil or muslim. …

  54. A warring state will never instruct its armed forces to rape women as a matter of policy as such directives will be construed as war crimes.What the state does in such situations is that it condones such behaviour.Then there is the question of command responsibility,as mentioned in your 2001 article.So somebody has to take responsibility for such acts and should be punished accordingly.
    .Whatever the SL may say there is ample evidence, as enumerated in your 2001 article, of rape happening even before 2006.Lets not forget that SL soldiers were found guilty of raping underaged girls in Haiti. Mrs Clinton you may note never apologised for what she said and a clarification was issued so as to maintain good relations with SL.

  55. Things can happen anywhere.It doesnt matter in Sri Lanka or Afganisthan.But Sri Lanka has not use it as a wepon during the war.I agree with Jeyaraj, however compare to other countries Sri Lankan situation is much better.I hope you agree with that.However I am not saying that one incident or several is correct in this case.They are totally violate our values and laws.We cannot let them happen in the future.But dont forget that ,this is not a ethnic issue! It has happened, and can happen in anywhere in Sri Lanka!

  56. #59 Roshan:

    As far as I know the LTTE had done many brutal things to the public but they never sunk so low to rape a women during the 30 yrs of conflict.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. No no they never raped any women… They just chopped them in half, crushed their heads and butchered anything that was left … I’m pretty sure any woman would opt for the latter than be raped and rape is of much lower standing the above.

  57. Nissanka (#30), I have never said that rape occurs only in Sri Lanka. But SL is the subject of this discussion, and even a cursory glance at a newspaper will show you that rape of women and young girls is commonplace in SL. Sexual abuse of young boys is also common in our gender-segregated schools. It is pointless to say that the US Army does this, or the German Army did that. SL is the subject here.

    It is also a fallacy that the majority of sexual abuse is committed by western sex tourists. the latter come to SL because we are a country in which sexual abuse is common. 90% of all sexual abuse in SL is committed by Sri Lankans.

    ISS (#35), your allegation that I’m defending rape by the Armed Forces or trivializing the rape of Tamil women is absurd. I won’t bother addressing you, as most of your comments in the SL blogosphere are usually absurd, uninformed and ignorant of the facts. However, I will defend myself for the benefit of other readers here on DBSJ’s blog.

    How exactly can I trivialize the rape of a Tamil by pointing out that many Sinhalese are also raped? Are Tamil women somehow more important than Muslim, Sinhalese, or Burgher women? Women are women and rape is wrong. As DBSJ’s stats show, a proportion of those raped Tamil (and Muslim) women were in fact raped by other Tamils. Are you not then trivializing the rape of Sinhalese women during the JVP era, or the abuse of Sinhalese children every day in the south?

    It is very easy (and ignorant) to demonize the Armed Forces and make them the scapegoat for the faults of our society. During WW2, the German population almost entirely supported the Nazis, their plans of European conquest, and the deportation of the Jews. This support was consistent right through to the end. In 1945, however, it was very hard to find any Nazi supporters, and the population conveniently blamed all sins on the Waffen-SS, forgetting that a huge proportion of the Holocaust was carried out by civilian police units and the Wehrmacht (Army), with the complicity of German civilians.

    The SL Armed forces reflect the society from which it is recruited, and the Army’s courage as well as its brutality is only our society in extremis. Nothing more, nothing less. Point your finger at the Army, and you are pointing at the mirror.

    Finally, the bullshit oft-repeated here and elsewhere about the Haitian incident needs to be looked at in context. The LTTE propaganda story of rape gives the impression that this was rape on the level of the incidents listed by DBSJ. It is not. The charge against the SL Army peacekeepers in Haiti was statutory rape. Soldiers paid underage prostitutes for sex. Statutory rape is to do with age, not consent. While this is still wrong (and a crime), it is clearly not the same as the incidents of rape and murder described above. Many SL prostitutes (of all races) are underage, and statutory rape is committed on them daily (by civilians as well as soldiers). Repeating a lie does not make it true.

    There are many ills in our country that need to be addressed. Let’s not wasting time spreading lies that add to the problem.

    Finally, Clinton was wrong. Rape isn’t (and wasn’t) used as a tool of war in Sri Lanka by either the Armed Forces or the LTTE, though individuals of both sides have committed rape and gotten away with it. In addition, male and female recruits of both the Armed Forces and the LTTE were (and still are, in the case of the former) often sexually abused by their superiors during basic training. And the organizations that these criminals belong to are responsible for ignoring these crimes. Perhaps Clinton was thinking of Sierra Leone, since that too starts with S and L). The only institutionalized rape in SL is within our own institutions — our boys schools and our armed forces. Often it is a cycle of the abused becoming the abuser later. If you want it to stop, stop it in the schools.

  58. This is raw courage. Now I am really worried about DBS Jeyaraj’s safety. It takes guts to bring this information to the sri lankan public without fear or favor.

    Only when Sri Lankan society comes to a point where these heartless animals who perpetrate the cowardly crime of rape will be punished with castration can SL be called a civilized nation.

    Disclaimer: No offense meant to animals!

  59. “The charge against the SL Army peacekeepers in Haiti was statutory rape. Soldiers paid underage prostitutes for sex. Statutory rape is to do with age, not consent.”

    David Blacker that is not true. The SLA had raped underage girls against their will in haiti like this unfortunate girl :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib3LJz6a0Fk

    Google “Sri Lankan Army’s sex abuse on a peace keeping mission” for the youtube video.

  60. There is a lot of Bull Crap in the comment #65.

    I read Srilankan newspapers every day, specially the English papers which are hell bent on tarnishing the the image of Srilanka to appease their backers.

    I read more incidents of rape and sexual abuse in foreign newspapers than what I see in Srilankan papers.

    I did all my schooling in SL and never came across any incidents of rape in my school or any other school in my district.or in fact in the whole Island.

    Most of the abuse of young boys and young girls are carried out by pedophiles from Western countries who come under the guise of Tourists or NGOS.

  61. I think, DBS Jayaraj is not living in Sri Lanka. So he is not in touch with the current happenings.

    Is he trying to undermine the US State Department or is he trying to protect Sri Lankan Army by any means?

  62. Rape as a weapon of war is part of feminist lore. There’s a whole industry in academia behind it, and it’s based on the feminist creed that men’s actions use violence to make power relations clear.

    It certainly doesn’t imply that there were direct orders as to imply that would require a degree of evidence that feminist studies rarely have.

    One fact to bear in mind is that Jayawardene was wrong-footed by the reaction to the July 1983 pogrom. He was always talking about using force to teach the Tamils a lesson, but hadn’t actually bothered to build up an armed forces of any substance, so in the mid and late eighties a gaggle of ill-disciplined recruits, often inflamed with Sinhala chauvinism got to have a field day. John Tulley described the Sri Lankan army of that time as the worst-disciplined army in the world.

    The present improvement in the armed forces behaviour is more a result of increased discipline and professionalism then any change in the attitudes of red-blooded young males.

  63. Cruelty is redefined here in the cruelest manner……

    Even if one does not believe in the concept of Eelam, this article underlines the need for a separate state for Eelam Tamil speaking people.

  64. I read Srilankan newspapers every day, specially the English papers which are hell bent on tarnishing the the image of Srilanka to appease their backers.

    The Daily Noise is a government rag that would shame the authorities in Zimbabwe. The Island is partially owned by people close to the Rajapakses. Even the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Times often bend the news in the government’s favour. The Sunday Leader is independent of the government but has its own problems.

    I did all my schooling in SL and never came across any incidents of rape in my school or any other school in my district.or in fact in the whole Island.

    Glad to see you learnt to be totally clueless at an early age.

    Most of the abuse of young boys and young girls are carried out by pedophiles from Western countries who come under the guise of Tourists or NGOS.

    Stick your racist crap where it belongs. If you read the annual reports of the National Child Protection Agency you’ll find out almost all the abuse is carried out by other Sri Lankans, often members of the same family.

  65. Thanks DBJ – for another well rounded article.

    The dignity of women are not necessarily served in the times when you have a woman at the top. I recall reading papers after the notorious Vayamba elections just after CBK’s rise to power. That show was masterminded by Mangy S for CBK and many nasty acts against women suspected of coming to vote for the opposite campp were discussed in papers. But I do not think any came to courts.

    Many novels / films of second world war record the ease with which Western powers had their way with women of the fallen societies, how the female collaborators of fascism were shaved in public etc.

    I cannot help adding that the the SL army should be complemented for their resolve and discipline in the recent period.

    Zero tolerance should be the aim and this episode will prove to be a valuable lesson.

  66. We all remember Hilary Cliontons husband, the serial philanderer Bill clinton being convicted of lying and abusing monica lewinsky! As such it would be wise for Hilary to mind her own backyard before talking about dubious “rapes” in Sri Lanka. The americans are jealous and hurt (and they are not the only people hurt) cuz they still could not finish the taliban, while our forces under the great general Sarath Fonseka massacred Prabhakaran in less than three years.

  67. 65# David Blacker

    Start of quote ” even a cursory glance at newspaper will show you that rape of women and young girls is commonplace in SL” End of quote.

    Start of quote ” The SL Armed forces reflect the society from which it is recruited ” End of quote.

    Start of Quote ” It is very easy ( and ignorant ) to demonize the Armed Forces and make them the scapegoat for the faults of our society ” End of quote.

    Start of quote ” in a society where sexual abuse against women ( and young boys ) is common, it will obviously appear in the Armed Forces ” End of quote.

    The last quote is from your comment # 18.

    Do you imply sinhalese society is morally decadent and is prone to deviant sexual behavior ? If so, do you find the characterization as appropriate ?

    I believe SL Armed Forces were manned almost entirely by Sinhala people during the period under review in the article.

    When you shift the blame from the Armed Forces to the society from where they were recruited, then consequently the problem that exists in the society needs to be defined.

    Identifying the society on the whole as the culprit instead of the offending individuals in the Armed Forces, i think you are unwittingly escalating the issue of sexual violence prevalent in the Armed forces.

    So, who deserves punishment ? The persons who committed the crime or the permissive society which contributed to the crime. In the end everybody goes scot-free.This is why, i think, ISS #35 accusation against you of trivializing the issue has substance.

  68. Re: “71” by “anpan”, please feel free to setup your mythical tamil eelam in 1. Tamil Nadu, 2. Toronto a.k.a Litle Eelam) or anywhere you want but not in sri lanka. We Sri Lankan Tamils have suffered enough thanks to certain elements of the war mongering diaspora.

  69. David Blacker’s (#65) crude diatribe to my comments is calculated at personal insult and seeped in vitriol. I have offered him no personal offence. Ignoring his gutter conduct, let me simply say DBSJ’s article flowed from Mrs Clinton’s censure on those armies that are guilty of raping civilian women – Sri Lanka being one. There is no need for me here to go outside this framework. At least in the future, I hope his interventions will be in more decent and acceptable language moreso since he has some journalist credentials, as I am told. But I realize, in his case, this may be difficult because being a private in the army the sublime mannerisms expected of “an officer and gentlemen” may well be outside his genre. I might add that in the Lankan Army there are many gracious
    gentlemen officers and soldiers whose conduct in the field during the war has lived upto the high traditions expected of good men in uniform.

    ISS

  70. to comment 69-mayu

    i think hilary undermined herself, not DBSJ.

    she put her foot in her mouth and now has to grovel before tiny srilanka, because her credibility is at stake.

  71. 59. Roshan….. To enforce the law successfully in such a rape, there should be collaborating statements from good witnesses, strong medical evidence pointing out to rape and other well documented substantiation. This is impossible in civil war scenario. Also the victim should be strong to undergo humiliating cross examination. If a summary trial is held and offender punished say via a military tribunal, such rulings are generally set aside by higher courts. It is not the lack of will on the part of GOSL or Military Authority the issue but the daunting process due to extra ordinary circumstances which most often makes the whole exercise a great white elephant. The whole scenario has been repeated many times abroad in war situations. However I am not trying to justify or shield the responsibly of GOSL or Military for these horrible acts. But we need to look at it realistically. Pointing the finger and slandering parties is easy. That is why I have previously suggested, without getting our knickers in a knot, we need to see that such acts shall not be repeated. If anyone is ashamed to live in SL because of these rapes, then he should try to find a country where there is no rape and best of luck. The military have come a long way from 2001 to 2008, from a rat tag unit to a professional out fit. I am no friend of GOSL or SLA but I am proud to be Srilankan with unique life experiences of living with her wonderful people of all ethnic backgrounds and a grateful recipient of her free education.

  72. To 78. shanker –

    I certainly know what Hilary’s intention and move was. Sri Lanka was one of the worse countries where there are many ladies abducted from the camps of displaced people living now, and raped by Uniformed and no uniformed government forces.

  73. ISS (#77), ask your “gracious officers and gentlemen” why the war took 25 years to win. Also, ask them if they were gracious and gentlemanly when they crushed the JVP in three years.

    Oh, and Nostradamus (#75), while you’re wondering about the depravity of the SL Army, and Sinhalese society in general, have a peep at DBSJ’s next article about the gang-rape of a Tamil woman by Tamils.

  74. I am not sure whether GOLSL soldiers will rape at will, after reading DBS’s article on TVMP that theory will be thrown. I think all people specially amles would have forced sexual acts with women who are under their command / prisoners. This is not a Race related norm.
    What prevents rape would be Peace and the rule of law. Sadly political intereference in a Sri Lanka would allow all perpetraters to be free. This responsibility has to be borne by all arms carrying groups.

  75. dilshan,
    how can there be political will to stop sexual violence when most of the politicians themselves have such allegations and they themselves use it as a weapon to silence women of other political parties? lack of political will, corruption of the judiciary system from top to bottom and loop holes in our law prevents any justice being delivered. after all it’s all about winning elections and earning more money, isn’t it?

    Buddhadasa, i’m surprised that you have never read any news of school principals and teachers abusing school children and various court cases against them. how about university ragging where boys have to appear naked before their seniors and seniors making fun of juniors’ body parts and baptising them with new names accordingly? hope such wild stories are never heard of.

    nobody seems to be bothered about upcountry tamil girls. there are various reports of them being sexually exploited by their masters and sometimes by their own family members. are they any less tamils?

    sexual violence is wide spread in our society and unless law is implemented to curb such crimes regardless of the criminal’s and victim’s ethnicity, position and social background, we will not get any fruitful results. there should be zero tolerance to all such crimes. punishing only the armed forces won’t help our society as a whole.

  76. Poster 72 is oblivious to the sexual abuse and pedophilia that is rampant in the West. The recent incidents reported from Austria and Australia of fathers keeping their own daughters as sex slaves and producing children have never happened and never will in Srilanka.

  77. to comment 80 -mau

    if that was so why is hilary clarifying that there is no evidence of rape for the period 2006-2009. indirectly she is telling she was referring to an earlier period,isn’t it? you may know much more about hilary than me, but iam merely going by her clarification, not defending the government.

    ps- i reiterate that hilary put her foot in her mouth at the UN. then she was wondering what to do. then she took her foot out and put the other one in, with the clarification.

  78. I wonder whether Madam Hillary Clinton knows where
    Sri Lanka is.

    As few writers have stated I reckon she has mistaken
    Sri Lanka for Seira Leon. I remember when JR went to USA while Reagan (another ignorant man) was the
    President, he made the same mistake and said
    “I welcome the president of Seira Leon”.

    One more thing if I may. How come suddenly
    Hillary Clinton has become Madam Hillary Clinton
    for some people, especially for LTTE sympathisers.?.

  79. If rape had happened, the perpetrators should be punished, and allowing such goons to live freely is not correct. When we were young we were told that we men always have to protect the women. We are all born to a woman – mother, so raping or sexual harassment of women is an unforgivable sin!

    Problem in this matter of Hilary adding Sri Lanka into her list had made everyone angry, for she is a wife of a man who had sexually harassed and even raped a low level female worker using his position and power. I remember how Hilary stood up for her husband and defended him, even when all the world knew that he was lying through his teeth.

    The other matter is that Hilary had lost her election, and was brought in as a compensation. Since she became the Foreign Secretary, she had made many blunders. Sometimes I feel that Obama is letting her make those blunders, so that she would never be an opponent to him in the next term. But Obama himself is collecting many blunders and there won’t be another term for him, and another chance for a non-white US president for quite a long time!

    Hilary should not point at other people, while she defended a rapist herself, who had used his power get at what he wanted.

  80. Hello Folks,

    Where are we standing?

    If rape is done by an amry personnel, it is a private issue. Govt can’t hold responsible for that but if it was done by a tamil person it is done by LTTE.
    example 1: is Karuna.
    example 2: Few guys attacked DBS’s private property but written as done by LTTE.

    Don’t be too smart folks.

  81. I heard of a village in Sri Lanka where girls are sent to Colombo to work as prostitutes. The story was that the adults themselves were handing over the teenage girls to the army deserters and thugs to take them away.

  82. David Blacker said : It is very easy (and ignorant) to demonize the Armed Forces and make them the scapegoat for the faults of our society
    ———————————————-
    Excuse me but i dont know what planet you are living on.
    In SriLanka it has always been the LTTE that has been the primary scapegoat to blame everything on.
    The armed forces have not been exposed enough in my opinion.
    And reading your comments it is very obvious to me that you are trying to trivialize what the armed forces have done to the tamil women for years. This happened even before the civil war even started.
    As soon as you try to divert the issue by saying ‘The LTTE did it also’ or that ‘Tamil women are not the only ones who suffer it’, it is a clear indicator to me that you are trying to divert the issue.
    Perhaps it is you who needs to cut the BS

  83. To me this whole issue is very simple.
    People in the armed forces are far more likely to lose their humanity than the rest of society.
    Tamilnet published a very good article about what armed forces do during war and even after they leave. In the UK many British veterans end up in jail because they perpetrate violence (mainly domestic) and anti social behaviour. Many soldiers lose their mind.
    I have heard of Vietnam veterans causing problems once they return to the USA.
    In SL this also happens. For many years army deserters were hired by underworld gangs to participate in shady activities.

  84. I also met a tamil lady in 2002 who said the IPKF had raped a member of her family and shot her husband when he confronted them for it.

  85. There was one seriously misinformed individual (don) who claims that LTTE and JVP took violence to the GOSL and the GOSL responded.
    It was the constant mistreatment of certain people that the oppressed react in a violent way.
    Long before LTTE came into existance, tamils were murdered and brutalised from the 1950s onwards. It was for this reason that the LTTE gained support and reacted with violence.
    i hope you get that straight.

  86. 41. Ranjan from Toronto ,
    There is no way that Sri Lanka is a cradle of Buddhism. The Buddha had nothing to do with the island.
    You are correct about the hypocrisy of the west. But you cant use hypocrisy as an excuse to dismiss Clinton.
    The outrage in Sri lanka is from whom exactly? The same ones who scream ‘white tiger’ at any foreigner who express disgust at the mistreatment of tamil civilians?

  87. The recent incidents reported from Austria and Australia of fathers keeping their own daughters as sex slaves and producing children have never happened and never will in Srilanka.

    Only because Sri Lankan houses don’t have basements. But there are dozens of convictions each year of fathers, uncles or grandfathers having forcible sexual intercourse with their daughters. And the number that goes unreported must be much, much higher.

    The last year the NCPA gives figures for was 2003.
    http://www.childprotection.gov.lk/childinfo.html
    It gave 405 cases of abuse of which 205 were sexual abuse. To the best of my knowledge that year there was not a single foreigner involved. The reason for the high figure of abused young girls by family members, especially the father, is the habit of Sri Lankan mothers going off to work abroad as maids, leaving the children to be looked after by the father, who without his wife, and often with an income from abroad to pay his arrack, does his worst.

  88. A well-balanced article again from Mr Jeyaraj, I thought. Not much to add to what others have said, except these 2 points:
    1 – We should remember that politics in the USA is heavily influenced by group lobbying & so far Tamil separatists have been much better at this than have those who see the need to maintain a united Sri Lanka. There was, for example, a group called Tamils for Hillary (or something similar) campaigning for this good woman’s nomination as the Democratic candidate prior to the last election. Some of those behind this group were known LTTE sympathisers. In the USA such lobby groups are usually well rewarded.
    2 – There is no doubt in my mind that Western governments & opinion makers are annoyed and frustrated that Sri Lanka appears to have been “lost” by them to the Asian sphere of influence. A few days ago there was a short feature on the BBC TV world service mourning the fact that Sri Lanka looked as though it was not going to develop into what they called a “model Western-style democracy”. But why should Sri Lanka follow the Western modal, and what Asian country governed by its indigenous population has successfully done so?
    So out of frustration Hillary can’t send the marines against Sri Lanka, but she can send a few nasty, well-chosen insinuations.

  89. Ugk, never mind the planets, which article are you reading? This piece is about the Armed Forces, not the LTTE. Atrocities by Tamil militant groups have been addressed in DBSJ’s most recent piece.

    If by pointing out the greater problem of large scale sexual abuse of women and children (of all races) in Sri Lanka, I am thereby trivializing the rape of Tamils, then yes, I am guilty. However, if you are so narrow-minded as to think that the rape of Tamils is somehow more important than the rape of other women and children, then you may decide for yourself what that makes you — it’s pretty clear to me.

    My point is that it’s very easy to point to the Army, or the TMVP, or the LTTE and make them scapegoats, but that fails to address the root cause. Remember, it is our own society that created all three of the aforementioned entities. They are us, and not aliens from another planet.

    This does not absolve those criminal individuals of guilt — they must be brought to justice. Butt it is downright stupid to blame the organization these people belong to if you are unwilling to blame the society they are drawn from.

    Many of you are criticizing and attacking me without understanding the difference between rationalizing and excusing. We rationalize criminal behaviour in order to understand it and prevent it in the future. It’s quite different to excusing it.

    First understand what you are arguing about before you hit that keyboard.

  90. 94. UGK… You say Tamils were murdered and brutalised from 1950 onwards. Well I lived in many Tamil areas and how come I never saw that? But I can say they were discriminated to some degree. Friend, you are telling this propaganda story to the wrong man. Your argument is, Tamils were brutalised and therefore armed struggle is justified. In that case why haven’t the other minorities like the Burgers, Malay’s, Muslims and Estate Tamils taken up to terror? How did it start with the comparatively well off Jaffna Tamils? Do you know where this armed struggle has now led the Tamils to? If you have any friends or relations in IDP camps just as I have, you will know the suffering that the great Tamil liberation movement has created for those poor people. All the while, LTTE front line leaders at the end of the war were trying to negotiate safe passage thru KP. They were hiding behind the skirts of the very women and children they promised to protect. If you still think armed struggle is still justified, please get to the front and start Elam war 5. No need to preach the gospel. Secondly LTTE and JVP(in 1971) are terror outfits. They believed in killing to achieve their ends. The only solution adopted throughout the world is to kill them. Because terror and killing is the only medicine they understand. That is why Hitler,Polpot,Top,Saddam,Bader-Mintof,Red brigades etc were all killed. Vp & LTTE would never have come to a negotiated settlement although there were many opportunities because they believed in killing to achieve their ends. Even DBS wrote about these lost opportunities for negotiated settlement. LTTE did NOT gain support from all Tamils but they terrorised them to submission. Finally in these responses, try to meet logic with logic and not slander people. You can call me a nut and I am not annoyed but that is a similar response to what LTTE adopted. Logic of the sensible Tamils who pointed out facts and differed with them were either killed or assaulted as what happened to DBS.

  91. 98 Bose

    You want to know whether 74 and 76 (K. Rajaratnam)
    is K M P Rajaratna.

    Do you know about K M P Rajaratna ?. He was one of the
    extreme racist Sinhala politicians we ever had. He was the
    MP for Welimada seat, and if I can remember well, he
    belonged to MEP political party.

    I would not like to repeat here what he used to say at
    public meetings about Tamils. It was that bad.
    However, some people at that time were so naive
    and racist, they applauded him

    I wonder whether DBSJ remember or knows what
    he used to say at public meetings.

    K M P Rajaratna belongs to the same category as
    Cyril Mathew. Both these guys fuelled racism in SL.

  92. Dear Don,

    Your argument is, Tamils were brutalised and therefore armed struggle is justified. In that case why haven’t the other minorities like the Burgers, Malay’s, Muslims and Estate Tamils taken up to terror? How did it start with the comparatively well off Jaffna Tamils?

    UGK is correct that Tamils- not Burghers or Muslims- faced violence from 1956 through 1983, although this violence did not occur on a regular or systematic basis. Before 1983, most Jaffna Tamil youth were not involved in militancy. The LTTE only had 30 members as DBS pointed out.

    The 1983 violence changed all that with the murder of thousands of Tamils and the displacement of tens of thousands more to foreign countries where they became the LTTE’s financial bedrock. As a Sinhala I have to say that I can understand the rise of the LTTE and Tamil armed struggle as the result of 1983, NOT simply due to the LTTE’s ability to terrorize Tamils which came later.

    Tamil armed struggle, whether justified or not by anti-Tamil violence, later degenerated into intracommunity violence where Tamils murdered Tamils. This seems to be the part that UGK does not understand. The Tamils today are a ruined people because of the LTTE. They have no leaders today because the LTTE killed or silenced them all. The LTTE arranged things so that if it were to fall, it would drag the rest of the Tamils too.

    Today the government appears to be adopting LTTE-like mannerisms and Mahinda is becoming elevated to “Thalaivar” status. Anyone criticizing the Rajapakses is a traitor. If things don’t change then we’ll end up the same as the Tamils, and we won’t have anyone to blame but ourselves.

  93. to comment 102-wijeyapala

    one of the best analysis i have read so far. you have in a nutshell analysed the past well and predicting the future too, quite well.

  94. Dear kalujaka
    Let not your heart to be troubled! By knowing Who K.M.P was and what he uttered about Tamils only, I compared with K.Rajaratnam. Further, an average Rajaratnams(?) won’t expressed in such a manner as said in #74 and in #78.?
    Again, If Kalujaka can raised the question on behalf of Rajaratnam , why can’t Mrs Clinton voiced about the sexual abuse in Sri lanka. This is a human rights issue and not a family issue?
    As per #76,Rajaratnam should understand , Tamil nadu is a state and not a country. Moreover, Toronto is a city where Sri Lankan Tamils are being settled in a considerable amount only. Let the Toronto based Tamils decide their future if such needs arises!
    If Toronto could be considered or to form a Little Eelam in Canada, why Tamils of Sri Lanka cannot consider same in a Sri Lanka. In addition, If Tamil Nadu being a state of Tamils, why can’t they consider for such model for Tamils in Sri Lanka?
    It does not mean I am advocating separatism or division. If Singhalese have their own destiny why can’t the Tamils decide theirs! All depends on how they treat and live harmoniously with other communities.
    #74 Secondly , Prabhakaran is the other side of Singhalese extremism in away, to Sarath fonseka or “Cinthanaya” Bros. in terms of the deeds! Further, Prabhakaran is a bitter product due to the majority’s gross violations and continued denial of rights. Due to the negligence of the majority leaders in the past our beautiful nation has gone through such ordeal and a deadlock created among the communities. Separatism cry began from all these nonsense!
    Leaders are fighting for their prosperity and luxuries, by pawning the innocents. Not only Kalujaka but also and suthumenike , Naina marikkar and Thamibimuthu in the country are in constant panic due to extremism, terrorism, pogrom , genocide and bloody war.

    Totalitarian rule won’t last for long! History will repeat one day.
    This is my reply to kalujaka on behalf of Rajaratnam .

  95. Dear DBSJ,
    Thanks for the clarification.

    1. “If the victims were all “Sinhala” there would have been a greater outcry.” – I donot disagree with you. This too is racist and I think we should not promote this.

    2. “You are best advised to do nit-picking on headings elsewhere. For starters there are English newspapers that report according to ethnicity…”
    Again, I agree with you.
    Once I wrote an email to Daily Mirror copying how DM & Lankadeepa reported the same news report from the two ends of the racial spectrum. but nothing happened.

    Unfortunately only you takes time to publish the reader comments and then explain your stance. Most opt to just ignore.

    3. I would have expected a person of your calibre to be concerned about the climate of impunity that allows such crimes against members of a minority community.

    We are all concerned about the cliamte of inpunity. I never said these atrocities didn’t happen. or they are justified. I am merely highlighitng something else. After all would any of us know if the Army didnt rape any Sinhala women in the 89-90 period? So if the report said “there have been numerous reports of the rape and assault of sri lankan women by Army personnel, most of whome are Tamils, wouldnt it be more balanced?”

    5. But the actuality is that the IDP’s are all Tamils.. – Is this true? Are’nt there Muslims also amoung the IDPs?

    6. Yu are writing this blog and we are reading this for the same reason. Because we want to change things. So I choose to ignore the rude and confrontational language.

    All I am saying is that if we want Sri Lanka to prosper and be the place we want it to be, I have to put my ‘sinhalaness’ and a Tamil his/her Tmailness in the backburner and maybe eventually completely remove from the rational thinking spectrum.

    It can come out when I want to sing, dance or read a book.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    I am sorry for the tone of my response.

    Much as I would like to put away ethnic consciousness and evolve a Sri Lankan identity the reality is different. As long as minority community people are being victimised on grounds of their ethnicity and the notion that the Sinhala “Majority” has greater rights to the Country prevails there can be no true nation building

    Only a genuine process of reconciliation based on justice and equality can result in TRUE unity and amity

  96. Many writers state that rape happens where there is war and it is done by the Armed forces. I might like to add
    that rape happens everywhere, and it happens more
    where there is no law and order (Anarchy).

    It happened in New Orleans after Katrina hit the town and
    people were living in that Dome. Rape was committed in
    Northern Australia (Darwin) when cyclone Tracey hit that town. This was committed by soldiers who was sent
    there to help the locals.

    What about all those girls sent by the LTTE as suicide
    bombers. Is it because their lives were cheaper and
    dispensable. Why didn’t diaspora open their big mouths
    when scores of girls were sent to the front line while
    VP and his little angels were swimming in a prestine
    pool. Serves them right to end up in a mud pool. LTTE treated their own tamil girls like phoo.
    At least now those girls can look forward for a future.

    Further, what about in Tamil Nadhu when a girl is born,
    some people choke them to death by putting too much
    rice in their mouths. I saw this story when I was in
    Australia in 60 minutes programme. I am highlighting
    these facts to show everyone how tamil community
    treat their own women.

  97. During the time the JVP was being suppressed, there were many incidents of rape too. They are the victims without a voice. It seems in a situation of war, where the law is unfortuntely silent the vulnerbale become the victims, namely the women and children. I would desist from saying that these crimes are racially motivated. However, sex offences thrive in war situations because the sex offenders have the best opportunities to commit these crimes. Women were sexually abused during World War 1 and 2 too. Hence, in these circumstances, it is not a new phenomenon and it will never be new phenomenon. When one uses a victim’s ethinicity by saying a Tamil woman was raped or Sinhalese woman was raped we attract an additional motive based on race into it. Whether they be Tamil women or Sinhalese women and were raped we need to constructively find a way to give them a voice and bring the culprits to book. If not, all what we write here will be in vain and will have no meaning.

  98. things are getting a bit out of hand in srilanka. i don’ know whether this is an isolated case or a wider phenomenom of decay in society. the following article appeared today

    “Oct 20, 2009 2:42 PM · People had beaten up two youths, who had allegedly abducted and raped a girl aged three years, and handed the duo over to police.

    The incident had taken place in Bandaragama in the early hours of yesterday morning (Oct. 19).

    The suspects had entered a house, snatched the sleeping little girl from her mother and taken her to a nearby well, where they had continually raped her.

    Her father had been away at his workplace, and only the mother and the grandmother had been at home at the time, Moragahahena Police said.

    Waking up, the mother had found the girl missing, and with the help of people of the area, had searched for and found her near the well.

    The suspects aged 23 and 24 years – one of them a father of one – are said to be drug and alcohol peddlers.

    They had also robbed the mobile phone of the girl’s mother.

  99. Don should read the Srilankan history first.
    Sri Lanka is the name of the island earlier known as Ceylon and situated at the Southern extremity of the Indian Subcontinent, separated from it at its narrowest point by 22 miles of sea called the Palk Strait.
    It covers an area of 25,322 square miles almost the size of Ireland or Tasmania and has a population of 18 million. Both the Sinhala and the Tamil nations co-existed in the island for over 2,500 years, and shared the rule of the island separately. Population ratio is approximately 74% Sinhala speaking and 26% Tamil speaking: Of the Sinhalese 93 % are Buddhists and 7% Christians. Of the Tamil speakers, 60 % are Hindus, 28 % Muslims and 12 % Christians.
    The sources of the national conflict in Sri Lanka are historical, economic, cultural & religious. In the words of David Selbourne of Ruskin College, Oxford, it is “a true national question, if ever there was one”.
    Both the Tamil People & Sinhalese people are indigenous people of Sri Lanka. Early history records that they had their own monarchs and kingdoms. They were conquered by the colonial powers separately and in different periods in history. They existed as separate communities until the British brought them together in 1883 under a single administration (for the very first time in their long history).
    The European Colonial Era
    1505 – Arrival of Portuguese – They first occupied the low country Sinhalese areas in the south west of the Island.
    1621 – Jaffna Tamil Kingdom fell to the Portuguese (more than a century later).
    1656 – Dutch occupied areas which were under Portuguese control.
    1802 – Treaty of Amiens – Dutch possessions ceded to the British.
    1815 – The Sinhalese Kandyan Kingdom in the central parts conquered by the British, having annexed the Tamil Vanni Kingdom in the north.
    1833 -The British unified the island based on the recommendations of Cole Brook – Cameron Commission (purely for administrative convenience).
    1931 – Donoughmore constitution – State Council elected by Universal suffrage (the first people to exercise universal suffrage in Asia).
    1947 – Soulbury constitution adopted & general elections held for the parliament of Ceylon.
    The Sinhala-Colonial Era
    1948 – British grant independence under the Soulbury constitution.
    The parliament, with its entrenched Sinhalese majority, legislates to disenfranchise Tamils of [recent] Indian origin who have lived there for generations and have always exercised their franchise. The Tamil people lost almost half of their representation in the parliament.
    The state aided colonisation of Sinhalese people in Tamil areas promoted to annex Tamil homelands and further reduce Tamil representation in the parliament.
    1956 – The Sinhalese Language was made the only official language by legislation, disadvantaging Tamil people in dealing with the state administration and denying them equal access to education and employment.
    1957 – Bandaranaike – Chelvanayakam Pact between the Sinhalese Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike and Tamil leader SJV Chelvanayakam QC to meet some of the demands of the Tamil people.
    1958 – The Pact was unilaterally abrogated by the Sinhalese Prime Minister to pacify the extreme elements among the Sinhalese Buddhists. (He is the father of the President of Sri Lanka Chandrika Kumaratunga (1995 – ) He was assassinated by a Buddhist monk for his pact with the Tamils in 1959.
    1965 – Senanayake – Chelvanayakam Pact – entered into, with another Sinhalese Prime minister Dudley Senanayake, and was never implemented by the Sinhalese government.
    1969 – The Privy Council in London directs the Supreme Court in Sri Lanka to review the constitutionality of the Official Language Act, since it violated s.29(2) the constitution.
    1971 – The government responds by abolishing appeals to Privy Council. The Tamil people’s only avenue to seek justice through independent judiciary came to an end.
    1972- The new Republican Constitution was adopted and imposed on the Tamil people without their consent.
    The only legal safeguard provided by the entrenched section 29(2) of the Soulbury constitution, described by the Privy Council in London that they “represent the solemn balance of rights between the citizens of Ceylon, the fundamental condition on which inter se they accepted the constitution; and these are therefore unalterable under the constitution”, was scrapped.
    Tamil parties walked out of the constituent assembly. With this Tamil participation of the democratic process in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) came to an end.
    1973 – Through a process of standardization the government restricts entry of Tamil students to universities and institutions of higher education.
    1974 – The 4th International Tamil literary conference in Jaffna was broken up by the police, where many died and several were injured.
    1976 – All the main Tamil political parties unite under the leadership of SJV Chelvanayakam QC and at their First National Convention declare:
    “The Convention resolves that the restoration and reconstitution of the Free, Sovereign, Secular, Socialist state of Tamil Eelam based on the right of self-determination inherent to every nation has become inevitable in order to safeguard the very existence of the Tamil nation in this country.”
    1977 – Historical mandate of the Tamil people – The Tamil people gave a clear mandate at the general elections to establish their sovereignty. The manifesto called for:
    “… in the general Election the mandate of the Tamil Nation to establish an independent, sovereign, secular, socialist State of Tamil Eelam that includes all the geographically contiguous areas that have been the traditional homeland of the Tamil-speaking people in the country.
    “The Tamil nation must take the decision to establish its sovereignty in its homeland on the basis of its right to self-determination. The only way to announce this decision to the Sinhalese Government and to the world is to vote for TULF. The Tamil-speaking representatives who get elected through these votes while being members of the National State Assembly of Tamil Eelam which will draft a constitution for the state of Tamil Eelam and establish the independence of Tamil Eelam by bringing that constitution into operation either by peaceful means or by direct action or struggle”.
    The Tamil resolution also called on
    “The Tamil youth in particular to come forward to throw themselves fully in the sacred fight for freedom and flinch not till the goal of a sovereign socialist state of Tamil Eelam is reached”.
    (The Sinhalese Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1970 to 1977 was Mrs. Srimavo Bandaranalke the present Prime Minister and the mother of the President Chandrika Kumaratunge [1995 – ).
    The Anti-Tamil Violence – The Tamil people have been subjected periodically to communal violence. There have been anti-Tamil riots and pogroms in 1956,1958,1977 and culminating in the 1983 massacres and holocaust.
    Military occupation & Police brutality – First in 1961 and then in 1974, 1979, 1981 and from 1983. Many historical monuments including temples and churches were destroyed. (Attested in two reports by the International Commission of Jurists, and in several other reports of independent international human rights organisations).
    The armed struggle by the LTTE on behalf of the Tamil people arose as a rebellion against the tyranny of the Sinhalese state and its brutal repression of Tamil people. It is a just cause in pursuance of their democratic aspirations, and the historic mandate, and therefore is lawful.
    1983 – Sri Lanka commenced arbitrary arrests and detention without trial, torture and rape, violence against women, summary executions of the Tamil people. The era of mass exodus of Tamil refugees internally and internationally begins.

  100. What Sri Lanka needs is an Independant Police Commission, with power to punish the offenders of human rights. But we cannot expect any government, including Ranil’s UNP, to appoint this volunterily. As the citizens of Sri Lanka are not capable of forcing the goverment to do this, the International community must force the Sri Lankan government to do this. Mr. Pakyasothy Saravanamuttu’s efferts in this regards are much appreciated by the general public of Sri Lanka.

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