Kumaratunga, the chairman of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, said women who were widowed during the 37-year conflict were among the victims of abuse by officials who frequently demand sexual favours just to carry out routine paperwork.
“There is a lot of sexual abuse still going on by officials, even Tamil officials and even at lower levels, the grama sevakas (village officials),” she had told Sri Lanka’s Foreign Correspondents’ Association. “Even to sign a document, they abuse the women and of course some people in the (armed) forces” continue to commit sexual abuse, she said.
The Army Headquarters in a statement today noted with dismay the statement alleged to have been made by the head of the ethnic reconciliation body on sexual exploitation and abuses of Tamil women by the Army in the post war scenario. The Army Headquarters said the allegations are baseless.
“In 2010, civil administration was firmly established in the North and the Army withdrew from all forms of civil administration. Since then, the Army has not been involved in administration concerning civilians, and the question of sexual exploitation and abuses during the said process does not hence arise,” the Army said.
Regrettably, the author of this statement has made unsubstantiated and baseless assertions without specifying any incident of sexual exploitation or abuse, the Army added.
The Army noted that it has a Zero Tolerance Policy on sexual abuses as evidenced in Premawathi Manamperi case in 1971, Krishanthi Kumaraswamy case and Rajini Vellaydunpillai case that took place during the period 1995-2005.
“In all these instances, the Army fully cooperated with the civil court cases against the accused who were on trial, resulting in death penalty. In line with this principle, the Army always takes stern action on Army personnel against whom ex facie cases have been and discharged summarily from the Army despite acquittal/pending action in civil courts. It shall continue to pursue this policy,” the Army added.
The army noted that at a time when the Government is genuinely committed to the Rule of Law and Reconciliation, baseless assertions of this nature would only jeopardize the reconciliation process. (Colombo Gazette)