North-East Police Solicit Bribes From Perpetrators And Act With Prejudice Against Abused Women – Report

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Law enforcement establishment in Sri Lanka have openly acted with prejudice against sexually abused women in the North and East, by even going to the extent of telling a victim to marry the man who raped her, while the continuing culture of impunity has intensified sexual abuse against women and children in the North and East provinces.

Sagala Ratnayaka - Minister of Law & Order

Sagala Ratnayaka – Minister of Law & Order

The 22 page report titled ‘Women’s Access to Justice in the North and East of Sri Lanka’ by the Women’s Action Network (WAN) said police officers often do not take complaints by women seriously. “In one case, a woman made a domestic violence complaint to the police, and the police called her husband, who told the police she had danced at her sister’s engagement party. The police had then told the woman that dancing and her henna on her hands were “against the culture” and that she shouldn’t be doing such things,” the report said.

In another case, women activists in Vavuniya reported that one police officer had made a comment that if a girl is raped, she should ‘just’ marry her rapist.

According to the report, sometimes police even ask for bribes from the husbands, or otherwise the police pressure the woman to withdraw the case. In Mullaitivu, women’s organizations reported that police could be manipulated with money or other favors. They might allow the husband to slip away after receiving money and even release the culprit on bail but would neglect to inform the woman who filed the case. “In Kilinochchi, women’s organizations reported that favoritism is everywhere. If someone has influence or a connection to the police, the process will go smoothly. If not, a woman will have to wait in line to file her case,” the report said.

The report noted that delays and lack of gender sensitivity in the justice system, combined with inactivity and corruption in law enforcement, have further entrenched the culture of impunity in the country. “The safety and security of women, particularly Tamil women, has been threatened due to the virtual immunity enjoyed by men, particularly from the armed forced, who are celebrated as war heroes and victors. Perpetrators of sexual violence in the armed forces have been allowed to hold on to their powerful positions irrespective of being accused of committing grave forms of sexual violence or ordering such violations,” the report said.

In one incident which occurred in Batticaloa in 2009, a 24-year old woman was raped and murdered. Her mother is still going to court seeking justice for her murdered daughter.

In Batticaloa District, there were 163 domestic violence cases reported in 2014 and 164 in 2015. In Ampara District, there were 363 domestic violence cases in 2014 and 334 in 2015. From 2014-2015, there were 20 reported rapes in Batticaloa, 54 reported rapes in Ampara, 44 cases of child abuse in Batticaloa and 95 child abuse cases in Ampara. In many instances many women refrain from talking about domestic violence because of the cultural stigmas around it and the value placed on marriage.

The report highlighted that intimate partner violence remains a widespread problem in the North and East, and many women’s organizations report that this form of violence is increasing. In Kilinochchi, women said they have never seen domestic violence before like they see it now and that new cases surface on a daily basis.

The report urged authorities to ensure timely justice for sexual violence against women and children. “Investigate, prosecute, and punish those who are accused of rape and sexual abuse, especially those in positions of power, and end impunity in regards to violence against women,” the report said.

WAN also said that all cases must be promptly investigated and prosecuted. “Declare violence against women and girls, particularly sexual violence, a national crisis,” the report said.

The report also called for the immediate appointment of a special team to handle cases that are pending in the Attorney General’s Department to come for trial.

The head of a women’s organization in Batticaloa said that long delays in the justice process contributed to the increasing violence: it takes a minimum of six years, usually around ten years, for a criminal case involving adults to come to trial; a case involving children takes less time, approximately six to seven years. In Vavuniya, activists said that one woman had been trying to get justice for 16 years.

Another issue facing abused women in the provinces was the lack of Tamil speaking police officers. “In locations where there are no Tamil-speaking female officers, Tamil women who report domestic violence have to tell their stories to male officers or translators. Translations themselves most often imbued with patriarchal attitudes and are biased in favor of the perpetrators,” the report said.

The report also highlighted instances where the police emergency number 119 was almost ‘useless.’ In many cases, the emergency number was reported to be very unreliable as once a complaint is lodged, police might visit the scene of the incident or will not.

“In Mannar, the emergency number, 1-1-9, was reported to be unreliable: “Sometimes the police will come. Sometimes they will not come. Sometimes they will be late.” There are no Tamil officers on the emergency response team at the police station, so calls to 1-1-9 can only be made in Sinhala. In Kilinochchi, four women from different service organizations reported that they had never once had success with 1-1-9, either with receiving an answer or getting any assistance,” the report said. (By Munza Mushtaq)

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27 Responses to North-East Police Solicit Bribes From Perpetrators And Act With Prejudice Against Abused Women – Report

  1. 11
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    No wonder that this “domestic violence” situation has been developing from mostly since after the war, due to the post-war situation of unemployment & under employment and poverty. No woman will go at night especially, to lodge a complaint for reasons well known. The Minister of Justice himself says that presence of attorneys when an arrested person is interrogated by police is “not necessary”. This minster is a unique enforcer of justice, in the entire civilised world. The fact that “every policeman has his price” has been true, almost since independence.

    justice
    January 3, 2017 at 6:56 pm
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    • 9
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      Sagala Ratnayaka – Minister of Law & Order RE: North-East Police Solicit Bribes From Perpetrators And Act With Prejudice Against Abused Women – Report That is the Culture, in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho. Why not check up with Deal-Dasa, aka Wijedasa and Sirisena, regarding Mahinda Rajapaksa and cronies. You may learn something.

      Amarasiri
      January 3, 2017 at 7:43 pm
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      • 3
        5
        EVERY DAY IS APRIL FOOLS DAY ON CMB TELEGRAPH

        malik
        January 4, 2017 at 9:55 am
        Reply

    • 4
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      There is some truth. Parliamentarians forget the fiction they narrated in Election meetings once they get elected. Some are now only searching the meaning of Yahapalanaya.

      raza
      January 4, 2017 at 10:30 am
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    • 8
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      justice Where is the Jaffna High Court hanging Judge Ilancheziyan?

      Native Vedda
      January 4, 2017 at 3:11 pm
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      • 1
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        Native Vedda, “Where is the Jaffna High Court hanging Judge Ilancheziyan?” Are you serious? Is not the point here that the cases of abuse usually never reach any court let alone Jaffna High Court? How would the cases go to court without a complaint and police investigation?

        Lone Wolf
        January 5, 2017 at 10:37 am
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  2. 5
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    When the Chief Minister of the Northern Province and other politicians supporting him wants police powers to the province, are we to understand that they want to perpetuate the existing practise of subjugating women as alleged OR to improve the situation where there is no sexual discrimination by the police? This is food for thought in analysing the whole problem of devolution. Still in certain parts of the country when a young lass is about to get married the bride’s father offers her to top officials, both political and bureaucratic as the case may be, for an initiation (Virgin Busting). In my opinion, whatever be the political arrangements such as devolution, civilised national values must be upheld throughout the country. Gang raping a woman as a punishment was prevalent in countries like Pakistan. But it was outlawed with the imposition of death penalty for the offenders.

    Jayagath Perera
    January 4, 2017 at 3:47 am
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      Jayagath Perera, “to improve the situation where there is no sexual discrimination by the police?” The CM has publicly stated that Tamil women do not want to join the police. He has an idea of sending Tamil female government servants to the police stations.

      Lone Wolf
      January 5, 2017 at 10:49 am
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  3. 3
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    How socially backwards is Sri Lanka?

    Burt
    January 4, 2017 at 4:40 am
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      @ Burt ” How socially backwards is Srilanka?” When the law and government protects the abusers not the victims There’s no plausible answer to your question. But sadly it’s the reality. It’s all talk only no action. Disgraceful. for a country where the law and order in any matter is reluctant to punish the perpetrators. How a country can progress with this kind of justice. Even the yellow robed rascals are protected by their Sangha. Lord Buddha what Religion?? General public had been suppressed by the religion , no freedom to expose , if one did they will be PUNISHED IN THIS BIRTH AND THE NEXT AND THE NEXT BIRTHS. HOW THE RELIGION HAS HOOD WINKED THE DEVOTEES. ANEY POW!!

      Analyst
      January 4, 2017 at 5:14 am
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  4. 6
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    We can comment here for the betterment of those abused women and men from the comfort of our homes , but the barbaric behaviour of those security men in the name of protection can abuse more , like taking their revenge on those silent victims. It’s a sin what ever they do to the innocent and helpless . They need some kind of jobs , Most of the industries seem to be earmarked in the other parts of the country What about those women awaiting for the handouts?? They would rather earn by being employed for sure. The government should do something for those unemployed ASAP. in the North and East too. Employments gives strength to individuals , in return the country too can benefit .

    Analyst
    January 4, 2017 at 4:41 am
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  5. 2
    1
    The govt is there to solve problems in the country. Why do they, instead, complain only news bulletins ? What is wrong ? They were given power to solve problems of people.

    jim softy
    January 4, 2017 at 8:00 am
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  6. 6
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    This is not confined to North East. The practice is prevalent throughout Sri Lanka. It is more dangerous in India as depicted in Indian Films.Rule of Law only applies to the rich and with connection.

    raza
    January 4, 2017 at 10:24 am
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    • 3
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      Raza “It is more dangerous in HINDIA as depicted in Indian films” How anyone can compare real lives to Indian Films? If India ‘s Rich and powerful can do what ever wrongs doings the Srilankans should follow suit?? Wrongs does not make Right until you put your own house in order. Comparison of EVILS does not make ok in your own house. Change the culture of impunity , think positively and lead a clean path. That’s the way to correct wrongs to Rights. I am certain Indian Films can FESTER ONES MIND.

      Analyst
      January 4, 2017 at 2:31 pm
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  7. 9
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    The police is very active in Northeast than any other part of the country. The motor cyclists and drivers of land masters and tractors are harassed on daily bases mainly to get bribes. A simple example will illustrate the case. A land master was bought cheap in Madawatchiya has not paid vehicle revenue licence for 12 years but the buyer of this vehicle in the north was checked on the following day and was asked to pay for the license fees for the entire missing period. Those in this forum or outside with prejudicial views against those who live in the northeast must be careful that they may be victimised one day if this police conduct is not reversed.

    Saro
    January 4, 2017 at 5:36 pm
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  8. 3
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    WAN, “Law enforcement establishment in Sri Lanka have openly acted with prejudice against sexually abused women in the North and East” Yes indeed but I assume that this problem exists in all of Sri Lanka not only in the North and East.

    Lone Wolf
    January 5, 2017 at 10:33 am
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  9. 0
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    Saro, “Those in this forum or outside with prejudicial views against those who live in the northeast must be careful that they may be victimised one day if this police conduct is not reversed.” “victimised” as being fined for breaking the Highway Code? Do you want the police to: A) stop enforcing law and order in the North and East? B) start enforcing law and order in the rest of the country? c) 100 % Tamil police force enforcing orders from the Chief Minister in the North and East with local laws?

    Lone Wolf
    January 5, 2017 at 10:44 am
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  10. 2
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    Lone Wolf, A) The police should not check the drivers or riders just to demand bribes. B) Must enforce the law and order in all of Sri Lanka equally to all the citizens. C) There is no local laws in any part of the country, laws are made only in Sri Lankan parliament. Employing honest Tamil speaking police in Tamil speaking areas will promote mutual understanding between the police and laymen. The national police must write down the reports in the language of the complainant without referring to his religion and ethnicity, then all the Sri Lankans will begin to get equal treatment.

    Saro
    January 5, 2017 at 5:23 pm
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    • 0
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      Saro, “was asked to pay for the license fees for the entire missing period” The example of “police harassment” you provided earlier had to do with paying license fees not paying bribes to the police. “There is no local laws in any part of the country, laws are made only in Sri Lankan parliament.” You might want to read about Kandyan Law, Muslim Law and Tesawalamai. “A part from the general law which applies to everyone, which is made up of English and Roman-Dutch law, Sri Lanka also has Muslim law, Kandyan and Tesawalamai, which apply respectively to Muslims, Kandyan Sinhalese and to Tamil inhabitants of the “Province” of Jaffna.” https://sri-law.blogspot.md/2013/01/the-legal-system-of-sri-lanka-part-02.html Then there are the statutes that provincial councils can pass. I consider the statutes to be local laws. “The national police must write down the reports in the language of the complainant without referring to his religion and ethnicity, then all the Sri Lankans will begin to get equal treatment.” I agree about the language and not taking up religion and ethnicity. As far as I know the police in NP is writing all the complaints in Tamil and this causes often delays due to lack of Tamil staff. The language of the courts in NP is Tamil. Is there at the moment any other police force than the one you call “national police”?

      Lone Wolf
      January 6, 2017 at 10:03 am
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  11. 2
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    Even though Tamil politicians fight for Tamil rights, Even though Tamils fights for Tamils, Tamil Harigens in Sri lanka are still in the same predicament and they live as abandoned people and there is no one to help them. what politicians write is just manipulation and exploitation.

    jim softy
    January 6, 2017 at 2:11 am
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  12. 2
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    “….by even going to the extent of telling a victim to marry the man who raped her” if the woman was gang raped she can choose whom to marry?. Lucky her thanks to Sri Lanka Police!

    Rajash
    January 6, 2017 at 3:52 am
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  13. 1
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    The Police is corrupt from day one. Ministers too are corrupt. It is pervasive not only in the Northeast, the whole island as well. The whole society has to be turned upside down to eradicate or at least minimize corruption.

    Thanga
    January 6, 2017 at 9:56 am
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  14. 1
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    Lone Wolf, Traffic laws and high way codes are the same nationwide. Licence revenues are demanded by the police to get bribes. That’s why police are keen in getting transfer to northeast or reluctant to move to other provinces. I know many cases in the north where police go to the private houses and demand even arrack and chickens as bribes. Police reports must be written in the language of the complainant anywhere in the country. In many cases the complainants sign the report without understanding what is written down by the police. In any civilised society it is granted that the complainant understands what is signing for.

    Saro
    January 7, 2017 at 6:08 am
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    • 0
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      Saro, “Traffic laws and high way codes are the same nationwide.” Yes indeed. “Licence revenues are demanded by the police to get bribes.” What if the drivers keep their documentation in order and follow the Highway Code instead of bribing the police? I hope that the 25000 fine starts soon! “That’s why police are keen in getting transfer to northeast or reluctant to move to other provinces.” Any source for this claim? I know many police officers who never wanted a transfer to Jaffna and have applied for a transfer. This place is far way from their homes. “I know many cases in the north where police go to the private houses and demand even arrack and chickens as bribes.” This is a problem in all parts of the country. “Police reports must be written in the language of the complainant anywhere in the country. In many cases the complainants sign the report without understanding what is written down by the police. In any civilised society it is granted that the complainant understands what is signing for.” Yes. There should be support for the victims and the accused.

      Lone Wolf
      January 7, 2017 at 8:18 pm
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      • 0
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        Lone Wolf, I appreciate your civilised manner of replying or communicating without resorting to personal and valgar attacks.

        Saro
        January 9, 2017 at 5:35 am
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  15. 0
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    This impotent minister has done nothing to improve the police malpractices . He himself is a hippocrit who interferes with the law, as revealed in the recent conversation with the IGP where a nilame was ordered not to be arrested. Until these hippocrits of the Rajapakse and Yahapalanaya governments feel the wrath of the people this country will be lost to the people of this country.

    vas
    January 7, 2017 at 6:28 am
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    • 1
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      Clearly it shows here Minority problems, Minority Women’s problems are BEST TO SWEEP UNDER THE CARPET. Especially when it’s caused by the service men stationed in the North and East. THATS THE ATTITUDE OF MALE DOMINATED CAHAUVENISTICS MANTRA. Even Rapes connected cases are hidden under the carpet up and down the country in the this culture, If the cases are connected to security services the impunity , silence , denial all gets in the way. The do gooders of the country like the women’s rights etc are only barking up the wrong tree. The Minister should speak up and catch the perpetrators and make them to face the law, if there’s one in SL? All these behaviours are allowed to fester in our country due to the inability of the justice system. Bribes, or don’t care attitudes of the system. We can see from the response here on CT on this matter, lack of interest of commenting on the subject. Well ! One cannot expect much legally or speak openly on the subject on CT as anyone can guess why. Third world mentality that’s the reason.

      Analyst
      January 8, 2017 at 3:14 pm
      Reply

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