Audio: Diplomat rejects HRW report

27 February 2013 04:12 am - 6     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A Human Rights Watch report has detailed what it says is widespread rape and torture by Sri Lankan security forces.

Their report comes after 75 Sri Lankan Tamils, male and female, recounted their experiences of torture, rape and forced confessions.

Sexual violence was common during Sri Lanka's civil war, that ended in May 2009, but Human Rights Watch says the use of sexual assault continues.

Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, has dismissed the claims as "baseless".

"The government of Sri Lanka is totally rejecting it," he told Radio Australia's Connect Asia.

"People who make these allegations forget the terrorists who were doing various atrocities."

Sri Lanka has long denied any involvement with the detention and torture of Tamils but admits it recognises them as a terrorist group and wants its members to be brought to justice.




Individual cases

Human Rights Watch says the abuse is commonly used against Tamils who are picked up by security forces after returning to Sri Lanka, be it voluntarily, or after being rejected for asylum by countries such as Australia.

With the Australian Government's immigration policy geared towards stemming the tide of asylum seekers, it and the Opposition are being urged by Human Rights Watch to reconsider their policies.

"Our request to all these governments is that they have to look at each case in a particular manner where they have to understand that a lot of the Tamils had no choice," Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch's Asia director, said.

"When they were in the diaspora community or even when they were living in Sri Lanka, they had no choice when they were associating with the LTTE [Tamil Tigers].

"When they're going back, they're being punished for that association.

"And therefore their cases have to be treated on a case by case basis, not only looking at an aversion to a huge flow of refugees coming into that country."
Summit boycott

The Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, says he is standing by his threat to boycott the Commonwealth summit in the Sri Lankan capital later this year.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General has urged Canada to drop its threat which was made over allegations of war crimes committed there during the civil war.

But Prime Minister Harper says he is concerned about worsening conditions in the country since making the statement.

He says he won't attend the summit unless the government addresses alleged atrocities.

Canada has been stepping up its pressure on Sri Lanka, reporting it to the Commonwealth for allegedly violating the organisation's democratic values by ignoring two court rulings and sacking the country's Chief Justice.

Sri Lanka denies allegations that government troops killed up to 40,000 civilians while battling Tamil rebels. (ABC News)
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  Comments - 6

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  • ajj Wednesday, 27 February 2013 07:58 AM

    we know only reject. finally international community will reject us.

    Ranga Wednesday, 27 February 2013 08:21 AM

    The intention of an asylum seeker is to seek asylum, and asylum do not come if no harassment or life threat is reported. If they say the situation is better in Sri Lanka, on what grounds can they seek asylum ? It's up to the international community to think and look at facts, before accepting these reports.

    Naviman Wednesday, 27 February 2013 08:29 AM

    Yes Australia and Canada please accept these stories of HR champions and allow more boats in to your countries.

    Silva de Mervin Wednesday, 27 February 2013 08:55 AM

    Everyone knows that you won't be a fool to accept and face the consequences.....

    Tony Wednesday, 27 February 2013 06:28 AM

    Our troops are well behaved and they maintain good relation ship why blame them

    Sri Lankan Wednesday, 27 February 2013 12:00 AM

    For a change one might want to say the war claimed 40000 lives in battelling terorists. And what Mr Haper means is the democratic values of LTTE. I think he has forgoten that LTTE is a banned terroist group. via DM Android App


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