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Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka released

Sep 18, 2015 12:07 IST

The report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) was released on 16 September 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The OISL was appointed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2014.

The OISL investigated the last phase of the civil war in Sri Lanka between 2002 and 2011 and concluded that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed by both sides-Sri Lankan Security Agencies and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

To deliver justice to the victims, the report recommended the establishment of a hybrid special court by integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators.

Some of the most serious crimes documented in the report are

Unlawful killings:  committed by both parties, as well as by paramilitary groups linked to the security forces. Tamil politicians, humanitarian workers, journalists and ordinary civilians were among the alleged victims of Sri Lankan security forces and associated paramilitaries.
LTTE also reportedly killed Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese civilians, through indiscriminate suicide bombings and mine attacks, as well as assassinations of individuals including public officials, academics and dissenting Tamil political figures.

Sexual and gender-based violence: sexual violence was committed against detainees, often extremely brutally, by the Sri Lankan security forces, with men as likely to be victims as women and not a single perpetrator of sexual violence related to the armed conflict is so far known to have been convicted.

Enforced disappearances: Tens of thousands of Sri Lankans for decades, including throughout the 26-year armed conflict were affected by it. A large number of individuals who surrendered during the final phase of the war were disappeared, and remain unaccounted for. Many others, including people not directly linked to the conflict, disappeared, typically after abduction in ‘white vans.’

Torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment: Brutal use of torture by the Sri Lankan security forces was widespread throughout the decade and  some of the more commonly used centres had rooms that were set up with torture equipment, illustrating the premeditated and systematic nature of the use of torture.

Recruitment of children and their use in hostilities, as well as abduction and forced recruitment of adults: Extensive recruitment and use of children in armed conflict by the LTTE and by the paramilitary Karuna group, which supported the Government following its spilt from the LTTE in 2004 was documented. Children were often recruited by force from homes, schools, temples and checkpoints, and, after basic training were sent to the frontlines.

Attacks on civilians and civilian objects: Repeated shelling by Government forces of hospitals and humanitarian facilities in the densely populated ‘No Fire Zones,’ which the Government itself had announced but which were inside areas controlled by the LTTE occurred.

Denial of humanitarian assistance: The Government may have deliberately blocked the delivery of sufficient food aid and medical supplies in the Vanni in the Northern Province, which may amount to the use of starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare.

Violations during the detention of internally displaced people (IDPs) in closed camps: Almost 300000 IDPs were deprived of their liberty in camps for periods far beyond what is permissible under international law.

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