Army denies abuse allegations

The army today denied allegations raised by a European human rights group of women being abused by the military in the north and east.

Army Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said the allegations are baseless and there are no police reports to back such claims.

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), in a press statement, said it has had discussions with three Special UN Rapporteurs as well as a Working Group of the United Nations on the plight of women and girls in the north and east.

ECCHR says the number of assaults on women and girls in these regions has risen and is attributable to the increased number of military and police presence in those areas.

ECCHR claims the military is increasingly taking over police duties and women and girls would have to make complaints directly to the perpetrators and therefore they avoid speaking out due to fear of stigmatization, threats and possible further attacks.

However Brigadier Wanigasuriya insisted that the military presence in the north has been drastically reduced as compared to previous years.

He said that ECCHR should visit the north and look at the actual ground situation without releasing reports or statements based on hearsay.

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) is an independent, non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to protecting civil and human rights throughout Europe.

It was founded in 2007 by a small group of renowned human rights lawyers, in order to protect and enforce the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other declarations of human rights and national constitutions, by juridical means.  (Colombo Gazette)