Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) is deeply disturbed by the contents of a report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) which recounts 75 statements from Tamil victims who say they were raped and tortured by soldiers, police and other pro-government para-military after being told “We will teach you a lesson”. Thirty-one of the victims allege they were raped after the cessation of Sri Lanka's long-running civil war in May 2009.
“Rape and other sexual violence of detained men and women by the security forces during and after the cessation of the armed conflict strongly suggests that sexual abuse has been a key element of the use of torture and ill-treatment against Tamils,to break their resolve through the deprivation of their dignity” stated ATC spokesperson Varuni Bala.
She further stated that one of Australia’s recommendations to Sri Lanka during October 2012 UNHRC Universal Periodic Review was “to reduce and eliminate all cases of abuse, torture and mistreatment by police and security forces”, a recommendation rejected by Sri Lanka.
Now with the ongoing UNHRC session in Geneva, it is an opportune moment for Australia to work with US, UK , Canada, the European Union and other countries in formulating a strong resolution that is to call for the setting up an international mechanism to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during and after the end of the war, added Varuni Bala..
Australian Tamil Community also calls upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon Bob Carr to refer Sri Lanka to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), whose mandate includes the disciplining of countries that violate the association’s basic principles. In the absence of tangible progress in human rights, accountability and rule of law since the UNHRC session in March 2012, Australia should review its level of participation and support for the next CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka, stressed Varuni Bala.
Media Contact: Varuni Bala, Australian Tamil Congress 1300 660 629