The Rape of Tamil Detainees

Today Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a powerful report titled ‘We Will Teach You A Lesson: Sexual Violence Against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces‘.

The report finds that while widespread rape in custody occurred during the armed conflict that ended in May 2009,  politically motivated sexual violence by the military and police continues to the present.

HRW’s focus in this report is on violence committed in official and unofficial detention centres. Consequently this is a threat to all Tamils who risk being picked up for interrogation at any moment and without charge.

Two separate community leaders who I have spent several days working with and who I trust, have also told me that many Tamil women, who have lost their husbands to the conflict and live alone with their children, are today visited in their homes by the Sri Lankan security forces and sexually assaulted.

Soldiers and police are able to get away with the visits in the militarized north and east of the country as there is essentially no civil authority to protect the Tamil people. Furthermore, there is great social stigma attached to rape here, so the women are unable to seek support from their own community.

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