Concerns raised over Sooka’s new report on Lanka
The Government has raised concerns over the report released by an international human rights agency which claims that human rights violations had taken place in Sri Lanka even in 2015.
Government sources said that it would be helpful if groups like the International Truth and Justice Project focuses on working with the Government to share details and evidence of alleged incidents related to human rights abuses.
The report released last week 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.
“What is given in the report, as you would realise when you look at it, is inadequate for the purpose of carrying out investigations (of course public reports can’t give out sensitive data as it is important be mindful of the safety of the victims). Another issue is that groups of this nature also need to be mindful of the holistic picture – the welfare of communities, healing, resettlement, psycho-social support, livelihood support etc., which are essential for meaningful reconciliation focused on ensuring non-recurrence,” Government sources said.
Government sources also said that it is important to handle such sensitive issues carefully in a manner than does not hamper reconciliation and in a manner that addresses the concerns of victims on all sides with focus on, as President Maithripala Sirisena has already said, healing and uniting hearts and minds – reconciliation and development.
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 as to identify torturers and rapists.
It also pinpoints 41 detention facilities, including secret camps, where victims say they were abused after the war. It lays bare the continuation of state-organised abductions, torture and sexual violence by the security forces long after the change of government in January 2015. (Colombo Gazette)