EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Full report here SLB Briefing Notes No 5, HR situation in North , Sri Lanka 2012
Repression and human rights violations in the North remained under-reported throughout 2012. This report attempts to highlight some key incidents and trends facing the Tamils in the North, while recognizing the violations and repression faced by all communities across the country, such as in the East and in the plantation sector.
Forty five months following the end of the war (May 2009 to date), Sri Lanka is still unsafe for the minority Tamil community and dissidents of the State. With abductions arrests and intimidation still continuing, there exists a general sense of lawlessness rampant across the country. This is much worse in the North, with heavy military presence and control. To date, people are asked the question “are you Sinhala or Tamil” at military checkpoints in the North.
Despite of repeated assurances to the International Community that devolution of power envisaged by the 13th amendment to the constitution will be fully implemented and there by a long awaited political solution to the conflict will be materialized, GoSL has not shown any commitment towards this end.
The attitude of “Victor” vs. the “Vanquished” is quite evident in every sphere of live. People are not permitted to speak or assemble freely, some have no access to their homes as the military and their families are occupying their lands and they still have no security with the security forces still being able to pick people up from off the street or from their homes on the “suspicion” of being linked to a terror outfit that the President himself has claimed to have annihilated in May 2009.
Militarisation and imposition of the Sinhala Buddhist culture in the north has continued unabated. In the words of veteran Tamil politician V. Ananada Sangaree ” During the past three years, hundreds of mini .Army camps and many Major camps had been set up in the midst of Tamil people who had suffered in many ways during the past thirty years and lost several lives and valuable properties more particularly during the last lap of the war; I am convinced more than anybody else that the minorities now feel discriminated more than ever before.” (Letters to the President, 24 July & 8 Dec 2012)
Freedom of expression, Right to association and Right to peaceful assembly and protest has been violated all through out the year. On several occasions burnt oil, which h has become the symbol of state sponsored terror against dissent, was thrown at the peaceful protests in the North.
The recent spate of arrests of Jaffna University students, former LTTE combatants by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) and attacks on media workers has heightened tension in the area, and fear amongst locals in the North. Dozens of disappearances has been reported form the North and majority of them remains unresolved. Two Tamil prisoners have been killedand many others subject to brutal torture whilst in custody, earlier this year.
Ironically it was also the current President, who made the following statement at Sri Lanka’s 59th Independence Day Celebrations, on 4 February, 2007. He said “it is our duty to protect the lives and property of the Tamil and Muslim people and bring sanctity to the future world of their children.” That being said, the State has not even been able to fulfil the recommendations made by their own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
Read as a PDF here SLB Briefing Notes No 5, HR situation in North , Sri Lanka 2012