15 December, 2017

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Continuing Torture & Sexual Violence In Sri Lanka – Part V

By Brian Senewiratne –

Dr. Brian Senewiratne

Continued from Wednesday 

Chapter 11  – Aftermath

“Family members in Sri Lanka remain under surveillance and intelligence services ask them where the victim has gone. This seems to be more about keeping the family silent and tracking the victim abroad, rather than investigating an escape which the security services themselves facilitated”

Suicide attempts

“The levels of trauma amongst recent torture victims from Sri Lanka, many of whom have attempted suicide, are alarming. Most of those we interviewed describe having contemplated suicide at some point. Typically the trigger is reprisals against relatives or being rejected for asylum……many victims describe themselves as suicidal and/or self harming. They must cope with the physical pain after torture as well as mental trauma and, on top of this, often find themselves in a foreign country.

Two of the 2016/17 torture cases tried to kill themselves almost immediately on arrival in the UK, one had to be hospitalised from the airport. It is worth noting that this is hardly the action of economic migrants desperate to reach Europe to secure a better life.

Immigration detention centres

“Being placed in immigration detention on arrival in the UK also exacerbated the suicidal feelings.”

I might add that asylum seekers arriving in Australia can remain in detention centres for years. I have described these detention centres, some in mainland Australia and some off shore in Christmas Island, Papua New Guinea (Manus Island), and in Nauru as ‘manufacturing centres for mental disease’. It is a gross violation of the UN Refugee Convention, signed and ratified by Australia (and the UK).

Re-traumatising

“The asylum application process is slow, leaving the victim in limbo, unable to work, unable to access support services effectively or reunite with loved ones”.

Australia’s asylum-seeker policy is an international disgrace, probably the worst in the world. There is an excellent book by Jane McAdam and Fiona Chong: “Refugees. Why seeking asylum is legal and Australia’s policies are not”. I strongly recommend this book.

The next two Chapters are very important. I will quote from them extensively.

Chapter 12 – Conclusion

“The UN Investigation into Sri Lanka described the modus operandi of “white van” abductions and established that incidents of sexual violence were not isolated acts but part of a deliberate policy to inflict torture by the security forces. Nothing has been done by the new Government to break this culture of impunity, even when a torture site has been identified by the ITJP and corroborated by visiting International teams.

After two and a half years in office, the Government’s failure to investigate past allegations makes it complicit in the continuation of the violations.

There has also been no attempt to vet public officials despite the commitment in UN HRC Resolution 30/1 to do this. Instead, the Government has rewarded alleged torturers and officials allegedly implicated in war crimes. As the ITJP reports show, alleged perpetrators have been sent abroad as diplomats and members of delegations to UN committees.

The ITJP evidence base s built on hundreds of detailed witness statements, through which the ITJP has now identified several alleged perpetrators (direct and in positions of command responsibility) and torture sites, but there are regrettably no witness protection mechanism for witnesses and victims inside or outside to testify, be it to a truth commission or court. The evidence base has been amplified by insider witnesses who confirm the modus operandi and methodology as well as identity of many of the torturers.

The Government has excused its failure to investigate saying it is waiting for a special court to be set up. However, it is now clear that the Prime Minister and President have no intention of establishing a hybrid court as the (former) Foreign Minister promised in Geneva in 2015. The President reassured the security forces in person and in public that not one of them will be charged with human rights violations, which reinforces the culture of impunity. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has made it clear that another domestic mechanism will not have the trust of victims after so many have failed to deliver justice. Furthermore, the limitations in the current criminal justice system render it incapable of delivering justice for serious crimes.

Chapter 13 – Recommendations   

General Recommendations 

Independent Investigation

Immediately establish an independent credible body staffed by international investigators, using best comparative experience including CICIG (Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala- International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala) in Guatemala, to assist the Hybrid Court and the Sri Lankan Governments in investigations of past and current human rights violations and abuses as well as serious international crimes. The body should in the course if their investigations identify alleged perpetrators and share such names with the vetting and screening authority to be established. 

Vetting and Screening Authority

Establish an independent credible civilian body to carry out vetting and screening of public employees and security officials identified as alleged perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses as well as serious international crimes in order to promote justice and accountability, and set out in HRC Resolution 30/1 in October 2015.

Witness protection

Strengthen the witness protection legislation, as agreed to in Resolution 30/1 to align with international standards and immediately suspend members of the witness protection National Authority against whom there are allegations of wrongdoing or interference pending an inquiry, and replace them with independent figures who have been properly vetted and screened for their involvement in human rights violations and abuses as well as serious international crimes, and who have demonstrated their commitment to human rights.

Prevention of Terrorism

Policy framework

The current policy framework for the Prevention of Terrorism published by the Government of Sri Lanka does not conform with human rights standards and norms and perpetuates the discriminatory and abusive application of counter-terrorism laws that have been used in the past to target mainly the Tamil population. If Sri Lanka is to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act with a human rights compliant framework (as committed to by President Sirisena) for countering terrorism, Parliament must ensure that substantial revisions are made to the “Policy and Legal Framework Relating to the Proposed Counter Terrorism Act of Sri Lanka” during the drafting process and to ensure that the process is open and participatory, taking account of civil society voices and input.

Testifying from abroad

Amend the rules for witnesses who would like to testify from abroad, either through video or other means such as letters rogatory, in order to ensure that key witnesses abroad do not have to enter a Sri Lankan embassy to give evidence and can instead testify to courts and commissions through the aforesaid mechanisms, that do not expose them and their families in Sri Lanka to reprisals

Specific recommendation

Government of Sri Lanka

1  Open Joseph Camp to regular Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) and ICRC spot inspection.

2. Government to share TID detention records for 2016 in the Edward Julian Case with the HRCSL which should account for the whereabouts and current status of all detained, ascertaining if suspects have been tortured with their remit including victims now abroad.

3. Military and police to provide a list of locations to HRCSL of all biometric fingerprinting machines used by security forces.

4. Investigate the EPDP’s role in extortion of money from families of detainees.

5. Investigate corruption at Colombo Airport immigration by installing live surveillance cameras.

United Nations Bodies

1 UNCAT (UN Convention against Torture) to initiate an Article 20 investigation into Joseph Camp; Government to grant access. Victims abroad also to be interviewed.

2.WGEID (Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances) to interview all recent victims of abduction and enforces disappearance in Sri Lanka who survived.

3. UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, to review all case files from ITJP (where witnesses have given written consent) on the Sirisena-era and issue a statement or report.

4. OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) to examine witnesses (where witnesses provide written consent) from the ITJP and report to the UNHRC in March 2018. 

5. Donors to rethink the SSR (Security Sector Reform) process in Sri Lanka, ensuring a torture prevention, mental health component and anti police force corruption element is included.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    18

    How many editions of this book has been bought by now. Why don’t you think Tamils are better off, if they all go back to Tamilnadu or Tamils are sponsered to go to greener pastures like austrlia. That punguduthive school girl’s death and Swiss Tamil videoing the whole gang rape episode and vijayakala Maheswaran protecting him sending back to europe, is that also in this book ?

  • 4
    26

    Lies, lies, more lies!!!!!!!!!!!!! B, you are shedding crocodile tears, your concerns are no genuine and everyone knows the reason for it.

    Suicide is no big deal for Eelam terrorists, their lives are already miserable due to the retards Chelvanayam’s and Nandikadal Prabakaran’s actions. Eelam terrorists’ so call wounds are self inflicted wounds .And so called Tamil asylum seekers to the West are actually economic migrants.

    Eelam terrorist invaders and “Sinhala Koti” can’t fool the world anymore. They demonize the war heroes and SL government to make money.

    So called ‘UN HRC Resolution 30/1’ is actually retarded Eelamist diaspora’s resolution , it should be called “Retarded Eelamist diaspora Resolution”, and all idiotic prince Hussein did was to sign the resolution on behalf of UNHRC.

    So called victims are Eelam terrorist invaders and their supporters who don’t have human rights.

  • 0
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    [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words. Please read our Comments Policy for further details.

    • 8
      1

      Dr Romesh Senewiratne-Alagaratnam

      How are you? Are you alright? You haven’t visited in a long while. Take care.

      • 25
        3

        When was he discharged from the lunatic asylum, or did he escape custody. From his writings it appears that he has not been fully cured of his mental illness.

  • 5
    23

    This series of articles by my father is disturbing on many levels. The language used in his graphic and vulgar quotes of supposed abusers are not appropriate for general readership. He says that his intent is to shock with his words and the gruesome images (photo reproductions of widely circulated LTTE atrocity photos) in his books and DVDs that he is now trying to give away for free..

    No sensible person wants to be disturbed in this way. The way forward is through peace and harmony between the different Sri Lankan people, not deepening the ethnic divide which is deepest in his own mind.

  • 4
    22

    brian,
    i don’t believe that your story of bribery is true. events have moved so fast that Jaffna is not so different now to most cities or towns in Sri lanka. people are enjoying their lives . whenever i travel there my tamil friends welcome me and we enjoy a good drink and talk about the bad old days. we then do out and have a nice crab dinner usually at the green Grass Hotel. the army does not have police powers so they don’t have so much work to do- so your story of the brigadier is probably made up. A lots of soldiers are going out with tamil girls. Go to Rio Ice cream parlour and see them holding hands and whispering, The navy on the other hand are busier are trying to stop illegal fishing by Indian tamil fishermen. there is some crime due to druges smuggled in from India by diaspora tamil gangsters. But on the whole people of jaffna have been nice, welcoming and there is also almost no animosity against them in the sinhalese areas too. i think you have become someone of the past. Visit Jaffna and speak to people on the ground and not frustrated diaspora types who are trying to justify their relocation to other countries for political rather than economic reasons.

  • 0
    3

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    8

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 20
    4

    Tamils in Sri Lanka, Tamils in other countries, and decent people in Sri Lanka are extremely grateful to Brian Senewiratne for tirelessly campaigning for human rights in Sri Lanka. Please refer to other recent reports on Sri Lanka, published by global human rights organisations, such as UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom From Torture, International Crisis Group.

    It is interesting to note that paid agents of the Sri Lankan government and military still make futile attempts to denigrate Brian Senewiratne. Including some who are paid to write comments under his articles.

    • 0
      23

      susan is a very tamil name. what is the meaning of Soma Lingam ? what kind of lingam is that?

      • 1
        1

        It is the Lingam that penetrates your Ass!

        • 8
          1

          CLARIFICATION

          That comment was aimed at Jimsofty, not against Susan Somalingam!

  • 22
    3

    It is not MY story of bribery or rape.. I was only quoting the International Truth and Justice Project.report . It’s not MY story about the Brigadier. It is in the ITJP Report

    If you read the first part of the article, para 3 starts by stating that I was only reproducing what was published by ITJP . If you’ve got a problem with what was published, take it up with ITJP..

    As Susan Sornalingam correctly pointed out. there are similar recent reports published by human rights organisations, such as UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom From Torture, and International Crisis Group (ICG)..There is a particularly important recent (16 May 2017) article by ICG titled “Sri Lanka’s Transition to nowhere” which I was going to comment on, but I think I will be wasting my time.

    Brian Senewiratne

    • 2
      14

      It is pathetic to hide behind the ITJP. You have endlessly praised Yasmin Sooka and you say in your book that you want the expatriate Tamils to contribute to the bank balance of the TGTE to employ this anti-Sri Lankan South-African lawyer, who is boss of the ITJP (that hardly anyone has heard of).

      It appears that you have examined the report for the most violent and sexually graphic passages. Then you have repeated the questionable “dialogue” in the report, using swearwords that are usually censored in newspapers, which most of your small and dwindling readership has found gratuitous and offensive. This shows not that the Singhalese are sexual perverts, as you have claimed,[Edited out]

    • 1
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      Dr. Brian SeneWirathne: why only selected stories become published. There is rampant criminal work among tamils all directed at women. Why those are never reported?. Only these stories and women do not come out. Only reported t agencies.

  • 19
    2

    IGP Pujith Jayasundara (Sri Lanka’s police chief) threatens to rape a female receptionist and assaults a lift operator at Police Head Quarters.

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/i-saved-daham-and-his-veyangoda-underworld-president-wont-touch-me-igp-pujith-jayasundara/comment-page-1/#comments

    Sri Lanka topped the global torture referrals list for a sixth year running in a summary report by Freedom From Torture.

    https://www.freedomfromtorture.org/page/where_does_torture_happen

    http://www.tamilguardian.com/content/sri-lanka-tops-torture-list-sixth-year-running

    Sri Lanka’s National Police Commission said it did not have the legal power to investigate the Inspector General of the Police over a video showing him assaulting two junior members of staff.

    The video shows IGP Pujith Jayasundara manhandling and making threatening gestures to the two junior officers outside a lift at the police headquarters. The footage, which was published Lanka-E-News, was captured on CCTV in April this year.

  • 21
    1

    Dear Dr. Romesh
    “Comment is free; but Facts are sacred” – per C.P. Scott.
    “The Singhalese are sexual perverts….” ?. No, that is NOT what Dr.Brian’s comments implied. He has conveyed that many members of Sri Lankan military (which is almost exclusively Sinhalese ) and Police (95% Sinhalese) are sexual predators, who have preyed on helpless Tamil victims, with impunity. Sri Lankan military milieu is culturally conducive to abuses/ atrocities against Tamils. North-East habitats are under dense military occupation and, ipso facto, remain hunting ground for sexual predators. They often target the vulnerable. Lankan sexual perverts have not spared even the poverty-stricken destitute children of Haiti. Ongoing sexploits in Haiti have covered an extended period. There is evidence to substantiate the allegations of abuses in Haiti and the findings in ITJP Report.
    (1) HINDUSTAN TIMES, June 4, 2017- UN Sex Abuse: Sri Lankan Peacekeepers accused of running Child Sex ring in Haiti.
    (2) MODERN TOKYO NEWS, April 14, 2017 – “ Haiti and the UN: Over 130 Sri Lankan Peacekeepers involved in Child Sex ring.”
    (3) MERCO PRESS (South Atlantic News Agency)- Nov.2, 2007 – “Haiti: Sri Lankan UN troops repatriated for sexual abuse”.
    (4) BBC NEWS, Nov. 2, 2007 – “Sri Lankan troops abused Haitians.”
    (5) LOS ANGELES TIMES, Sept.16, 2015- “Kidnappings, Sex Abuse, Torture: U.N. details likely war crimes in Sri Lanka.”
    (6) BBC Documentary by Francis Harrisons, Nov. 2013 –
    “ Torture and Sexual Abuse in Sri Lanka Four Years After War.”
    (7) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, Feb. 26, 2013 –“Sri Lanka : Rape of Tamil detainees”
    (8) PEACE WOMEN, (Women’s Int’l League for Peace and Freedom)- April 12, 2012 – “ Sri Lanka: Sexual Abuse of Girls and Women on the rise.”
    (9) AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL , Press Release, Jan. 28, 2002 – “Sri Lanka: Rape in Custody on the increase.”
    (The incidents documented include sexual violence committed on a 70-year-old- grandmother. If it is not perversity, what else it is? )
    (10) Many clients have discussed with me savage acts of sexual violence they had suffered at the hands of members of the police/armed forces.
    For Tamils, it is a matter of suffering and survival. For Dr. Brian, it is a matter of conviction – Faith and Fortitude even in the face of Adversity. For Dr.Romesh it is a matter of distraction/inconvenience
    “Blessed are those who suffer for doing what is right. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” Amen !

  • 17
    5

    To: Dr Romesh Senewiratne-Alagaratnam

    If you have a family squabble with your father, you should address your communications only to him. The rest of the world is not concerned about your family matter. A few Sri Lankan origin people based in Australia tell me, that because of your past cannabis addiction, your current mental state is not normal. So, you should first complete your medical treatment and rehabilitation, before you make public statements about the conflict in Sri Lanka. Your knowledge about the ethnic conflict is poor and seems to have been shaped by SL government propaganda.

    Dr. Brian Senewiratne has quoted, and his writings agree with, the Human Rights reports written by the major global HR organisations. Those organisations are run by highly regarded experts, from numerous countries. The reports published by these major global HR organisations, are more credible than reports written by some of the Tamil organisations. The lies published by the Sri Lankan government are obvious, even to some of the Sinhalese and Muslims in Sri Lanka.

    • 3
      10

      Susan Somalingam,

      You are silly for many reasons. My father actually used the phrase “sexual perverts” in reference to “his former countrymen” within this series of articles. He is not talking about Sri Lankans in general but what he calls “his own ethnic group” the Singhalese. He is described by Tamil expatriates as belonging to the “Sinhala community”. It is not and he is not. Though he is of Singhalese ancestry, he does not speak or understand the language of his ancestors and has little knowledge of or interest in either Singhalese or Tamil culture.

      “A few Sri Lankan people based in Australia” are too cowardly to debate with me about Sri Lankan politics and prefer to spread gossip and innuendo. Do you apply DSM or ICD classification in diagnosing your own mental malady? Or do you just call others mad and ignore your own insanity?

      • 0
        8

        Dr. Romesh Senevirathne-: Tamils say Sinhalla people are also descending from Tamils. Rape of dalits is a custom among Tamils as well as some Tamil tribes. So, I think, some bad Tamils had been sinhalized.

    • 2
      13

      somalinga,
      Why all this personal attacks on some one who don’t agree with you or BS?
      Nobody in the forum wants to know RSA’s health issues even he has such.

      Nobody in their right mind will accept any garbage these so called human rights groups put out based on second and third hand information from asylum seekers.

  • 21
    1

    Dear Dr. Romesh
    “The Singhalese are sexual perverts….” ?. No, that is NOT what Dr.Brian’s article implied. He only highlighted the essence of what the ITJP has documented, viz: Sexual predators from the Sri Lankan military (comprising almost exclusively, Sinhalese personnel ) and the Police (95% Sinhalese) have preyed on helpless Tamil victims, with impunity. North-East habitats are under military occupation and, ipso facto, remain hunting ground for sexual predators and conducive to target the vulnerable. Perverts in uniform have not spared even the poverty-stricken Haiti children who have been sexually abused for an extended period. The sexploits have been well documented and are corroborative of the ITJP findings:
    (1) HINDUSTAN TIMES, June 4, 2017- UN Sex Abuse: Sri Lankan Peacekeepers accused of running Child Sex ring in Haiti.
    (2) MODERN TOKYO NEWS, April 14, 2017 – “ Haiti and the UN: Over 130 Sri Lankan Peacekeepers involved in Child Sex ring.”
    (3) MERCO PRESS (South Atlantic News Agency)- Nov.2, 2007 – “Haiti: Sri Lankan UN troops repatriated for sexual abuse”.
    (4) BBC NEWS, Nov. 2, 2007 – “Sri Lankan troops abused Haitians.”
    (5) LOS ANGELES TIMES, Sept.16, 2015- “Kidnappings, Sex Abuse, Torture: U.N. details likely war crimes in Sri Lanka.”
    (6) BBC Documentary by Francis Harrisons, Nov. 2013 –
    “ Torture and Sexual Abuse in Sri Lanka Four Years After War.”
    (7) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, Feb. 26, 2013 –“Sri Lanka : Rape of Tamil detainees”
    (8) PEACE WOMEN, (Women’s Int’l League for Peace and Freedom)- April 12, 2012 – “ Sri Lanka: Sexual Abuse of Girls and Women on the rise.”
    (9) AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL , , Jan. 28, 2002 – “Sri Lanka: Rape in Custody on the increase.”
    (Incidents documented include sexual assault on a 70-year-old- grandmother).
    (10) Many clients have discussed with me savage acts of sexual violence they had suffered at the hands of armed forces.
    Dr. Romesh, For Tamils, it is a matter of suffering and survival. For Dr. Brian, it is one of conviction – Faith and Fortitude. For you it is a trifling distraction.
    “Blessed are those who suffer for doing what is right. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” Humanity can feel proud of your illustrious father.

  • 17
    1

    To Romesh Senewiratne-Alagaratnam:

    Please discuss this matter with the physician who is treating you, before answering these questions:

    1. How many years ago, did you work full time, as a physician?
    2. Do you have a current license to practice as a physician in Australia?
    3. How many years ago, did you hold a full time job?
    4. Are you now financially supporting yourself? Or do you depend on other sources such as the state, NGOs etc?

    5. I am challenging you to volunteer part time to help SL Tamil (and any Sinhalese) asylum seekers in Australia, for at least 6 months. Only then will you understand their past history of abuse, violence and torture by the SL military. You can help them with immigration matters, teach english, help them prepare for better jobs, teach them about life in Australia, provide car transport for errands etc. Are you prepared to do this? Doing so will help you as well. After 6 months, you need to have established a rapport with several of them. Then you need to explain to us, why they are genuine asylum seekers, or not.
    6. Dr. Brian would have used the term ““sexual perverts” to refer only to those who meet the criteria.
    7. There are many SL people educated under the British, who do not speak Tamil or Sinhala. Which is fine. Why haven’t you taught yourself basic Tamil or Sinhalese? Why are you finding fault with Dr. Brian for not knowing Tamil or Sinhala, when you don’t?

    • 0
      16

      I think, Dr. romesh Senevirathne’s problem is he has, can not be treated with physicians help. Ask a good buddhist monk, I mean, one who knows a lot about buddhism. Probably, It is his past life experience. Most probably, past life regression will help him. Medication will not help him. Western doctors are lengtehening the list of the of the so-called mental diseases or what ever and they give the same tablet for everything. Susan Asomalingam seems to be a vulture who is looking for something else.

  • 13
    1

    To Romesh Senewiratne-Alagaratnam:

    In the previous comment I made on August 22, 2017 at 04:29,
    if you wish, you can disregard my questions 1 to 4.
    But, I kindly request you to reply to item 5, as well as 6 and 7.

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