Former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s allegations that war widows face sexual exploitation by members of the army among others should be condemned publically by President Maithripala Sirisena, former president and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa said today.
Issuing a statement, he said Ms. Kumaratunga’s allegations were a matter of grave concern and the Army’s statement rejecting these allegations did not carry any weight.
“When a former president and commander-in-chief makes such a statement the person who should respond should be the current President and the Commander in Chief. Therefore, as a former president and commander-in-chief, I urge the President to publicly condemn the statement made by Ms. Kumaratunga,” he said.
Mr. Rajapaksa said the government should also seriously consider whether Ms. Kumaratunga is fit to be the head of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) because she was using that position to tarnish the image of the armed forces of Sri Lanka.
“Since Ms. Kumaratunga holds the position of head of the ONUR which functions under the Presidential Secretariat, the statements she makes goes to the world as the official position of the Sri Lankan government,” he said.
Mr. Rajapaksa said the rape and sexual exploitation of women in the war zone both during and after the war was one of the main unsubstantiated accusations made by two irregularly set up investigations against Sri Lanka within the UN system – the Darusman report of 31 March 2011 and the Navi Pillai/Zeid Al Hussein report of 16 September 2015.
The latter report had a whole chapter of about ten pages devoted to the subject of rape and sexual exploitation,” he said.
“Now, with days to go for the 34th Sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, a former President of Sri Lanka and a former Commander in Chief of our armed forces says that our armed forces are sexually exploiting war widows in the north. What we have here is a former President echoing the accusations made by our enemies in what is obviously a deliberate attempt to vilify our armed forces on the eve of the UNHRC meeting,” he said.