Radhika has protested against attack on women by soldiers — UN

Place: Sri Lanka | Courtesy: The Island
| Date: 20000315

A press release of the United Nations release yesterday said: "The Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Radhika Coomaraswamy, says she is dismayed that the incidence of gang rape and murder of women and girls by Sri Lankan soldiers is continuing in Sri Lanka. She also expressed concern about political violence in the South of the country that was having impact on women victims.

In a letter dated 13 March 2000, the Special Rapporteur expressed her grave concern over the lack of serious investigation of allegations of gang rape and murder of women and girls. She focused on three individual cases which had been brought to her attention.

Sarathambal Saravanbavananthakurukal, aged 29, was reportedly gang-raped and then killed by Sri Lankan navy soldiers on 28 December 1999 in Pungudutivu, near Jaffna peninsula. Despite an order by the President to immediately investigate the events, it is reported that "very little is being done to pursue the matter."

Ida Carmelitta was allegedly gang-raped by five soldiers and then killed during the night of 12 July 1999 in Pallimunai village on Mannar Island. Five masked and heavily armed men reportedly entered the house where she and her family were sleeping took Ms. Carmelitta outside and violently raped and then killed her. The post mortem report indicates that Ms. Carmelitta had been repeatedly raped and that her body had been sexually mutilated.

On 6 October 1998, Ms. Pushpamalar, aged 12, was allegedly detained while returning from school and raped by a soldier in Sangathaanai, Chavakachcheri, east of Jaffna.

In her letter, the Special Rapporteur also expressed concern about political violence in the south of the country affecting women in particular. She cited the case of Anoja Weerasinghe, an actress whose house was attacked on 24 December 1999 and 2 January 2000 reportedly because of her political activities, including speaking in support of the United National Party and picketing peacefully in Veyangoda on 17 November 1999 to protest attacks against actors and actresses.

The Special Rapporteur expressed the hope that every effort will be made to prevent further violations through the investigation of the alleged incidents and the prosecution of alleged perpetrators in a manner consistent with international human rights standards.

‘The Island’ understands that the press release has been issued consequent to recent allegation made by the LTTE that Ms. Coomaraswamy had not spoken out against attacks on women in North and East of Sri Lankan servicemen.

Courtesy: The Island - Friday March 17th, 2000