Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday claimed that the so called “torture camps” inside the Trincomalee Navy base were constructed by the British during World War II. He was responding to a question by a journalist at the Cabinet press briefing held at the Parliamentary complex. He observed if the Government had denied the access to the UN representatives to go and check this place, the world could have got a wrong impression that there had been “torture camps”.
“They claimed there were torture camps, so we let them go and inspect by themselves. Should not we free ourselves from these charges? Is it right to stifle this process in the name of sovereignty? The UN should not be misunderstood as the US. The UN is a place where we can voice our own problems” he stated.
Further responding to the claims that the offer by the UK to provide financial support to upgrade Sri Lankan Armed forces and the move to appoint the Military Attaché of the UK High Commission in New Delhi to oversee these reforms were detrimental to the sovereignty of the country, the minister asked what was wrong in accepting the technical support that the Government does not possess from an external party.
“How many such consultants have come to our country in the past? Have not we received such technical help from foreign nations before?” he asked.
Adding to the comment Cabinet Spokesman and Parliamentary Reforms and Media
Minister Gayantha Karunathilake also observed that foreign training was received by the Army for a long time from countries such as the US, UK and India, and that such assistance was discontinued during the period of the former regime due to its callous foreign policy.
Sooka’s organisation ready to share details on cells More details have surfaced on the secret cells said to have being in operation at the Trincomalee Navy camp, including the names of the Navy officers alleged to have been involved in taking detainees to the site. The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, which concluded a visit to Sri Lanka last week, said that the detention cells at the Trincomalee Navy camp could not have been in operation without the knowledge of the top officials. Now an organization led by Yasmin Sooka, a former member of the UN Expert Panel on Sri Lanka, also known as the ‘Darusman panel’ says it has the names of the Navy officers involved in transporting detainees to the Trincomalee camp. […]
UN visit ‘Gota’s Camp’ secret torture site in Sri Lanka navy base By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan The government pledged yesterday that it would investigate the secret torture camp at the Naval Base in Trincomalee that was in operation during the last regime and also investigate complaints made by the UN Working Group to the government that families of missing persons were intimidated and harassed by CID officials after the UN officials had spoken to them. The Foreign Ministry quoted the UN Working Group as having said that they saw secret detention chambers in the Trincomalee Naval Base which were maintained in the past, and not existing now, and urged the government to investigate. The government in return assured them it would do so. Foreign Ministry’s […]
The secret camp within the naval base in the eastern town of Trincomalee was an `important discovery`, a top team of UN experts investigating disappearances in Sri Lanka told journalists in Colombo on 18 Wednesday. Led by Bernard Duhaime, the UN working group on enforced and involuntary disappearance (UNWGEID) had visited the underground torture site known as `Gota`s Camp` during their ten day stay in Sri Lanka. Prime minister Ranil`s denial Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe had vehemently denied the existence of many such secret torture sites despite exposures by Tamil politicians, grass roots activists and rights organisations including JDS. Visiting UN team member Ariel Dulitzky expressed fear that many taken to Gota`s Camp would have been killed People would have been saved had there been[…]
Sri Lanka: New report names torture camps and perpetrators BY ATHULA VITHANAGE Shocking details of sexual torture has been exposed in a report identifying many torture camps and several officers who carried out the systematic persecution of Tamils through torture, rape, illegal detention and killings. In compiling its latest report, “Still Unfinished War: Sri Lanka’s Survivors of Torture and Sexual Violence 2009-2015”, International Truth & Justice Project (ITJP) records details of more than 40 torture sites while naming over 60 rapists and torturers. ‘This is by no means a comprehensive list,’ says ITJP. A vast number of the identified torture camps are located in the pre-dominantly Tamil speaking North. Two thirds of them are military sites while the rest are police stations and government designated […]
Tamil Militants who surrendered with White Flag after UN negotiated the surrender were taken to Secret Camps by Sri Lanka forces in May 2009- Are They Still Alive? NO says PM Ranil Were they killed in these camps by Mahinda’s Government forces? I cannot speak for the previous government says PM Ranil “After we took over the government, there are no secret camps. I cannot speak for the time before that,” PM Wickremesinghe (said in Jaffna on Friday March 27). In addition to thousands of Tamil militants More than 1000 LTTE Leaders and their family members who surrendered with white flag after UN negotiated the surrender were taken away to secret camps by the Sri Lankan forces in May 2009. It is believed that the Girls were […]
By Veluppillai Thangavelu – The former Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda has given a lengthy interview toThe Island newspaper (November 21, 2015) rebutting any claim that there had been a secret detention facility within the Trincomalee naval base during Eelam war IV. The statement that naval facilities within Trincomalee base were used as torture chambers was made by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) in Colombo at the end of a 10-day visit to Sri Lanka. Karannagoda asserts “We didn’t operate torture chambers at the Trinco base or any other command. There was no requirement to do so. ” He said that during the war renegade LTTE cadres had been accommodated at the Trinco facility which some interested parties now wanted to portray as a torture chamber. “We didn’t operate torture […]
A highly placed Navy official said yesterday that the secret torture camp the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) is referring to could be the one commander Sampath Munasinghe, the personal bodyguard of the former Navy commander retired Admiral Wasantha Karannagodahad kept Tamil youth who were abducted in Colombo. The official said that he had no-knowledge of three Navy officers being arrested in connection with the recent revelations made by the UN working group, as claimed by some media Contrary to this notion the officer said that such torture chambers which existed during previous regimes time were discovered much earlier and was revealed in the media itself. The champers were used to accommodate the Karuna-led ex LTTE militants. “The way the team presented […]
The United Nations Organization asserts that still there are intimidations imposed against the relatives of the people disappeared. The organization said that they received credible information’s when they met the relatives of the people disappeared during their tour of Sri Lanka. A specialist team consisted with Bernard Duhaime, Tae-Ung Baik and Ariel Dulitzky told this during a media communiqué held in Colombo following their ten day tour. The UN team said that this cannot be accepted in a democratic society. The delegation said that they met 200 relatives of the people disappeared. When the BBC inquired this from the foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera about the latter said the UN delegation disclosed this allegation when they met him. The minister said although it is not the […]
Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe refutes media reports about a continuation of secret detention camps of the Navy in the eastern province. Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya, he said anyone is free to investigate the alleged existence of such camps. But unknown to to the powerful Prime Minister of Sri Lanka the UN OFFICIALS HAD VISITED THE SECRET TORTURE CAMPS IN TRINCOMALEE. It is believed that over 700 Tamil’s have been detained at a secret Sri Lankan army camp, known as “Gota’s camp” in the Eastern port city of Trincomalee. It is claimed that most of the 700 prisoners held in these torture camps had surrendered with White Flag on the 18th May 2009. PM Ranil also said the persons whose names are not in the list […]
UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS UN expert group urges Sri Lanka to seize the moment to fulfil the rights of the families of the disappeared < http://www.ohchr.org/EN/newsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16772&LangID=E > THE ISLAND TNA meets UNWGD, wants truth seeking mechanisms established < http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=135527 > TAMIL GUARDIAN UN confirms existence of secret torture camps in Sri Lanka, calls on gov to reveal other possible locations < http://www.tamilguardian.com/article.asp?articleid=16482 > YAHOO NEWS **COMMENTS CAN BE POSTED** UN experts demand action over suspected secret Sri Lankan prisons < https://in.news.yahoo.com/un-experts-demand-action-over-133941404.html > CEYLON TODAY UN Group visits Trinco torture chamber < http://www.ceylontoday.lk/51-109833-news-detail-un-group-visits-trinco-torture-chamber.html > DAILY MIRROR **COMMENTS CAN BE POSTED** Another eleven LTTE cadres re-remanded < http://www.dailymirror.lk/95885/another-eleven-ltte-cadres-re-remanded > CEYLON TODAY We need the PTA < http://ceylontoday.lk/89-109671-news-detail-we-need-the-pta.html > COLOMBO GAZETTE **COMMENTS CAN BE POSTED** US envoy to UN Samantha Power to visit Jaffna < http://colombogazette.com/2015/11/18/us-envoy-to-un-samantha-power-to-visit-jaffna/ […]
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has re-iterated his earlier recommendation for setting up an ad hoc hybrid special court for Sri Lanka integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators, mandated to try notably war crimes and crimes against humanity, with its own independent investigative and prosecuting organ, defence office and witness and victims protections programme. Emphasising that the Sri Lankan judicial system is not equipped to probe war crimes ,the UN human rights chief renewed his call for a special hybrid court while addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 30th 2015. The full text of his address is as follows – Mr President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to present the report of […]
Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein via videolink to the Human Rights Council The Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints regarding Missing Persons that was appointed by the previous Government has continued its work, despite widespread concerns raised about its credibility and effectiveness. We believe this Commission should be disbanded and its pending cases transferred to a credible and independent institution established in consultation with families of the disappeared. ( September 30, 2015, Geneva, Sri Lanka Guardian) I am pleased to present the report of OHCHR on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, including the findings of the comprehensive investigation mandated by Human Rights Council resolution 25/1. As you know, following signals of engagement by the […]
19 years in remand without conclusion of case, 17 years and case still ongoing in High Court, 15 years to file charges, 400-500 court hearings without conclusion of a case, 15 cases against one person, and 21 persons (or more) reported as arrested under the PTA in 2015. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and Emergency Regulations (ER)have resulted in arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention without charges, long drawn out court cases, multiple cases against one suspect, inhumane detention conditions, torture, forced confessions, long years to release those who are innocent, post-release harassment and restrictions, including re-arrests. Many of the detainees have spent most of their youth behind bars, and their mental and physical wellbeing has been severely affected due to long term detention, and in […]
A new international report has found that systematic persecution of the Tamil community still takes place through torture, rape, illegal detention and killings committed by the state authorities. The report by the International Truth & Justice Project, a project administered by the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa, run by transitional justice expert Yasmin Sooka who was also a member of the UN panel of experts on Sri Lanka after the war, shows how the use of torture and sexual violence is part of a well-coordinated policy, planned at the highest level of the Sri Lankan government and its security forces. Through careful research brought to life by the vivid horror of victim testimonials, the report titled ‘Still Unfinished War: Sri Lanka’s Survivors of Torture and Sexual Violence 2009-2015′ goes as far […]
By Zahrah Imtiaz Fifteen years is a long time, it was going on for so long but we are thankful to God that justice is finally served, said Gnanachandran Parameswari, the wife of Kathiran Gnanachandran and mother of Gnanachandran Santhan. Kathiran and Santhan along with Gnanapalan Raviveeran, Sellamuttu Theivakulasingham, Vilvarajah Pratheepan, Sinniah Vilvarajah, Nadesu Jeyachandran, and Vilvarajah Prasath were allegedly massacred by five members of the Army on 19 December 2000 at Mirusuvil, Jaffna. Prasath was only five years of age at the time of his death. On Thursday (25) Army Staff Sergeant R.M. Sunil Ratnayake was found guilty of murdering the eight civilians by slashing their necks and was sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court. He was found guilty on15 counts. The […]
‘There are positive developments, but these are not signs everything is good and everything is democratic now,’ says Catholic priest Sri Lankan religious leaders say it is too early to send asylum seekers back to the country, despite the recent change of government. “My general view of the countries holding asylum seekers: please do not send them back immediately,” says Catholic priest and lawyer Fr Veerasan Yogeswaran. “There are positive developments. But at the same time these are not signs that everything is good and everything is democratic now.” Last month, Australia’s minister for immigration and border protection, Peter Dutton, visited Sri Lanka for the first time since the Rajapaksa regime was defeated in January’s presidential elections. Asylum seekers Australia returned to Sri Lanka say […]
JAFFNA, Sri Lanka — There may be no place more beautiful on the breathtaking tropical island of Sri Lanka than the white sand beaches along the Palka Strait, which is why building a luxury resort here made sense. Still, there are drawbacks to staying at Thalsevana Holiday Resort. Arrive without a reservation, and you could be arrested. Stroll too far down the beach during a blood-red sunset, and a soldier carrying an automatic weapon will appear out of a bunker, declare that you have entered a high-security zone and order you to turn around. The resort’s website recommends ordering from the menu in advance — it does not say how far in advance — at the Palmyra restaurant, where “in addition to deferent style of […]