BBC: Sri Lankan security forces 'racist' towards Tamils

Topic started by Truth (@ on Tue Oct 28 18:24:41 EST 2003.
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

An official inquiry team in Sri Lanka has concluded that the police and armed forces are institutionally racist towards Tamils.

Many Tamils from northern Sri Lanka vanished without trace

The team was asked to investigate nearly 300 disappearances in the northern town of Jaffna - most of them Tamils who were taken into custody by the military.

Their report is a damning indictment of Sri Lanka's human rights record during the ethnic conflict.

The inquiry team was asked to investigate the cases of roughly 250 Tamils who disappeared in Jaffna, allegedly while in the custody of the Sri Lankan army.

But the team complained of indifference and a lack of co-operation from the military authorities.

'Tigers also guilty'

They said they were effectively denied access to many serving army officers, whose evidence would have been critical.

We fault the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam too... for specially targeting Muslim leaders

Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission
A list of 37 suspects, including names, dates and locations, was given to the military authorities - but they failed to identify a single person.

Only two serving army officers were interviewed, but the team's report said these men remembered virtually nothing, despite being directly implicated in many of the complaints of disappearance.

Although the finger of blame was pointed at the military, the report also said the police were complicit in attempts to cover up the disappearances.

The inquiry team said it appeared that thousands of innocent people could be arrested, tortured, raped and killed and have their bodies disposed of, without any record being kept.

Twenty-five cases of Muslims who disappeared in Jaffna were also investigated.

The team said that the Tamil Tiger rebels were guilty of targeting Muslim leaders and had failed to respond to their requests for information.

Overall, the team said their work was painful and depressing, and nothing could immunise them from sharing the trauma of each new witness they heard.


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