The United Nations has called on the Government to investigate allegations of conflict-related sexual violence, including incidents said to have taken place during the post war period.
UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon, in a report to the UN Security Council, on conflict related sexual violence, said that in Sri Lanka, in the five years since the end of the armed conflict, the Government has committed to supporting the resettlement and reintegration of civilians displaced by the violence and has made considerable progress in this regard.
However, he said one of the major unaddressed issues is impunity for conflict-related sexual violence. He noted that the the Government has adopted a zero-tolerance policy on sexual and gender-based violence and committed to take stringent action in response to such crimes, including discharging and prosecuting offenders from the security forces.
However, the report by the UN Secretary General notes that there are indications that abduction, arbitrary detention, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence have increased in the post-war period. Notably, Tamil women and girls have reported sexual abuse in the context of the ongoing militarization of their areas of residence.
“Allegations of sexual violence by the Sri Lankan security forces against members of the Tamil community in the closing months of the war and in the post-conflict period have been extensively documented, but rarely addressed. Testimony of women released from detention in 2014 indicates that acts of sexual torture were accompanied by racial insults and specifically directed against individuals perceived as having been linked to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” the UN Chief said.
The UN Secretary General called on the newly elected Government of Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of sexual violence, including against national armed and security forces, and to provide multisectoral services for survivors, including reparations and economic empowerment programmes for women at risk, including war widows and female heads of household. (Colombo Gazette)