UN Secretary General called on the newly elected Government of Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of sexual violence

women violenceUN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a report on conflict-related sexual violence in 19 countries during 2014 on 13 April 2015.In the report, the secretary-general urged the Security Council to integrate attention to sexual violence into its monitoring and field visits to conflict-affected countries, and to take preventive steps and measures to ensure accountability, including sanctions and referrals to the International Criminal Court. The report recommends that governments support and protect independent voices, including women’s organizations, journalists, and human rights defenders, and improve delivery of comprehensive health, economic, legal, and reintegration services.

On his report on Sri Lanka he said during their long internal conflicts demonstrate the long-lasting impact of conflict-related sexual violence, the need for credible investigations into allegations of such violence, and the need for reparations for victims.

Sri Lanka

In the five years since the end of armed conflict in Sri Lanka, the Government has committed to supporting the resettlement and reintegration of civilians displaced by the violence and has made considerable progress in this regard. However, one of the major unaddressed issues is impunity for conflict-related sexual violence. The Government has adopted a zero-tolerance policy on sexual and gender-based violence and committed to take stringent action in response to such crimes, including discharging and prosecuting offenders from the security forces. However, there are indications that abduction,arbitrary detention, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence have increased in the post-war period. Notably, Tamil women and girls have reported sexual abuse in the context of the ongoing militarization of their areas of residence. Allegations ofsexual violence by the Sri Lankan security forces against members of the Tamil community in the closing months of the war and in the post-conflict period have been extensively documented, but rarely addressed. Testimony of women released from detention in2014 indicates that acts of sexual torture were accompanied by racial insults and specifically directed against individuals perceived as having been linked to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Recommendation

I call upon the newly elected Government of Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of sexual violence, including against national armed and security forces, and to provide multi sectoral services for survivors, including reparations and economic empowerment programmes for women at risk, including war widows and female heads of household.

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