TAMIL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (TCHR)
LE CENTRE TAMOUL POUR LES DROITS DE L'HOMME (CTDH)
9, Rue des Peupliers
95140 Garges les Gonesse
Tel/Fax : 33-1-40 38 28 74
Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, U.K.
Hospitals and Medicines 9
Internal Refugees and Food Situation 12
MSF on Embargo and Malnutrition 14
Fishing and Agriculture 15
Violence Against Women 18
Military Harassments 19
Gange rape and massacre (Since 1995)
Floating bodies in Colombo 20
Massacre in the Kilali sea 21
Nachchikuda Massacre 21
Kumarapuram Massacre 22
Nagar Kovil School Children Massacre 25
Navaly St. Peter's Church Massacre 25
Sterilisation on Tamil population 27
Human Rights Violations 29
ÏSri Lanka - The FactsÓ
16th March 1998
Honorable Mr. Chariman and members
Commission on Human Rights
Tamil Centre for Human Rights wish to place before you the appeal and situation report on Sri Lanka on the occasion of your fifty fourth session.
We wish to place before your Esteemed Honors our latest situation Report on the violations of human rights and denial fundamental freedoms perpetrated by the Sri Lankan Government and its armed forces on innocent Tamil civilians, whose hereditary land in the North and East of Sri Lanka have been plundered, devastated and destroyed by long years of war and military occupation.
The Sri Lankan Government's genocidal war in the North and East against the Tamils, has escalated to such an extent that the war wearied Tamil civilian population is facing untold hardships for its survival and denial of their basic rights particularly the right to life. There are growing symptoms of widespread famine and disease strickening the Tamil Nation due to the Government's persistent refusal to maintain supply of food, medicine and other essential goods into the occupied territory. While the little that is siphoned at irregular intervals are also blocked by the army reaching its destination.
There is now an imminent danger of infectious dieseases among the civilian population as the result of the lack medicine, equipment and medical care for the past several months. Under-nourished children, expectant mothers and old people have fallen malaria. Malnutrition and exposure are added elements that are to the are also contributory factors in raising the mortality rate in these regions.
All the fervent plea to the Sri Lankan Government for relief on humanitarian consideration from responsible Government officials, international relief agencies and non governmental organizations have fallen on deaf ears! Added to all these difficulties, the Government's interdiction of local and international news reporters from entering regions under army occupation is further aggravating the situation. However, traverlers from these regions to Colombo, the capital have reported vast increase in arrests, detention, disappearances, torture, rape, extra-judicial killings and other crimes that had been committed by armed services.
Since 1995, military operations code-named Leap Forward, Riversa, Rivil Kirana, Seda Pahara, Sathjaya, Singing Fish, had caused the displacement of more than one million civilians from their permanent homes. The recent military operations code-named Edibala and Jayasikuru had wreaked irreparable damage and destruction to several town and villages in the Vanni region. The town of Omanthai, Nedunkerni, Mankulam, Puliyamkulam, Oddusuddan and Puthukudiyiruppu had to face the brunt of the recent military operations that caused wanton destruction to life and property.
We had submitted thousand of affidavits to the Working Group on enforced or Involuntary Disappearances for necessary action. The response from the Sri Lanka Government is extremely minimal.
This state of affairs remains unchanged even today, the position was same last year too as has been confirmed by statements made by the US delegation and NGOs to the 54rd Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. The situation is worse now than last year.
We appeal to the Commission to note that ongoing conflict and disregard for human rights observance by the security and police forces continue to cause great suffering to the Tamil people.
We do sincerely hope that the 54th Session of the Commission would take positive steps to bring about a change over its treatment of civilians, by Sri Lankan government by your direct intervention in the form of a Resolution.
S. V. Kirubaharan
TCHR - Head Office
TAMIL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHT
9, Rue des Peupliers, 95140 Garges les Gonesse, FRANCE
THE SITUATION REPORT
The US State Department's country report on Sri Lanka, January 30, 1998 says :
1 - There is a significant problem of child prostitution in certain coastal resort areas. The Government estimates that there are more than 2,000 active child prostitutes in the countrybut private groups that claims that the number is much higher. Many of these prostitutes are boys who sell themselves to foreign tourists........
2 - In the first half of 1997, the police recorded 1,633 cases of crimes against children, a decrease from 3,687 crimes in the first half of 1996.
3 - Close to 26,000 children are known fully employed (in 1997), compared with approximately 20,600 in 1996.
4 - 19,123 children between the ages of 10 and 14 were fully employed. This included 15,495 males and 3,628 females. Additional thousands of children (estimates ranges from 50,000 to 100,000) are believed to be employed in domestic service.
CHILDREN IN THE NORTH-EAST
Young childen have been critically wounded in many parts of North-east due to Sri Lankan artillery attack on residential ares. The shelling - as usual aimed at surrounding Tamil villages. Random shelling from Sri Lankan military camps occurs every day in the Tamil northeast.
Many children died when they accidentally picked up a grenade left by the Sri Lankan army in many places in Jaffna.
Sri Lanka's military forces in Jaffna are regularly interfering with children on their way to school and subjecting them to interrogations. School-bound children are singled out by soldiers and then taken away to cells without even the presence of adults they know. It is a frightening ordeal for these youngsters many of whom are afraid to make the journey to school. Children are also included in the army's regular round-up operations in Jaffna, held daily now in two to three places at once. The Sri Lankan military has no regard for the stress this is engendering in the young. Round-ups, interrogations and intimidation have become a way of life for the new generation of Tamils who find themselves at the mercy of the Security forces.
34,000 CHILDREN ARE BEGGING IN THE STREETS
Sri Lanka's Additional Government Agent for Kilinochchi, Mr. Rasanayagam, has admitted to a gathering of educationalists and the general public that 34,000 Tamil children in Vanni are either begging on the road or are reduced to doing menial work for a pittance. School-life has been totally disrupted by the Sri Lankan government's ongoing military operations on the Tamil homeland.
Hundreds of Tamil children orphaned in attacks by Sri Lankan forces are on the streets begging for their livelihood. These children whose parents have been killed by Sri Lankan air and artillery fire are fending for themselves and begging door-to-door for food. Elderly people who have lost their close relatives in Sri Lankan attacks are also destitute and reduced to begging to stay alive.
Jaffna has been led to an extremely worrying situation with regard to education. It is estimated that some 14,000 children between year 2 and year 5 are not being sent to classes because parents feel the peninsula is neither safe enough under military rule, nor are there any facilities available for their children .
While the government depicts internationally an image of equal treatment given to Tamils and Sinhalese, a drastic shortage of teachers in Tamil areas has come to light. 5000 teacher vacancies in the northeast have gone unfilled due to the government's deliberate withholding of funds. Meanwhile, schools in Sinhala areas are amply staffed, indeed sometimes over-staffed. This confirms that the Sri Lankan government continues to be a Sinhala government committed only to the welfare of the Sinhalese.
The military in Jaffna have taken over two American Christian mission schools, private houses and many other religious building to make way for a new military camp in Valigamam west at Navali in Jaffna. The areas of Navali north, east and south also fall under this camp's command.
BOOKS DENIED TO TAMIL STUDENTS
Sri Lanka's education department has kept back 60% of the school books it is obliged to give to Tamil school children in the North. Even the small amount that has arrived has come half a year too late, rendering the scheme virtually meaningless. Headmasters and teachers are in a quandary about how to distribute the meagre supply among the hard-done children.
Mullaitivu's student population has soared to over 50,000 after an influx of families displaced from a series of recent Sri Lankan military operations. More than half the student population are in fact displaced people. The educational authorities in Mullaitivu have been unable to cope with the increase and educational standards are dropping rapidly as a result.
Goverment has stopped students in Mullaitivu from obtaining school uniforms, textbooks and exercise books, which are supplied free to schools in Sinhala areas. Also, more than 75 school buildings have had to be converted into welfare centres for the displaced.
NO SCHOOLING FOR 60,000
School is now a luxury to many children in Vanni, with 61,904 Tamil children not even having the means to attend, after suffering constant displacements. The military, however, continues its trauma-inducing artillery attacks on Tamil towns and creates an environment where there is not the physical nor mental security for children to attend school. Tamil schools have also frequently been specifically targeted by artillery and aerial bombing by the military.
KILINOCHCHI DISTRICT 30,077
MULLAITIVU DISTRICT 25,286
MANNAR DISTRICT 4,157
VAVUNIYA DISTRICT 2,384
The Sri Lankan army is forging plans to take over certain Tamil schools in Batticaloa in order to make army camps out of them. Schools on the Senkalady-Badulla road (Batticaloa) have already been earmarked and as usual there have been no efforts to relocate the students. But Tamil residents of the densely-populated areas of Karadiyanaru and Siththul are makin have vacated since living close to a Sri Lankan army camp.
In Batticaloa, male and female students as well as teachers are being taken routinely. They are placed strategically around army checkpoints to provide cover to soldiers..
Dozens of Tamil schoolgirls from Batticaloa have been arrested by police during an inter-school sports competition held in Trincomalee. The Sri Lankan Security forces are notorious for ill-treatment and sexual abuse.
DEAD BODY OF A SCHOOL BOY
Residents have found the dead body of a school boy dressed in his school uniform 300 yards from the office of the assistant government agent of Vavunathivu in Batticaloa. It has been confirmed that this body is that of one of the boys who were arrested recently by the Security forces. Others fate remains unknown.
A Tamil school teacher in Santhiveli in Batticaloa was arrested in August by Army in Kiran bridge. The teacher known as Kirupakaran, he is 23 years old and taught at the Santhiveli Sidthi Vinayagar Vidyalayam.
Three more Tamil undergraduates at Jaffna university have been reported missing, according to the student union. A text distributed by members of the union says all efforts to trace the missing boys have ended in failure. No one doubts that they were taken by Sri Lankan security forces who are occupying Jaffna and fears are now growing for their lives. Two of the missing students are from the Arts faculty, the other from the Science faculty.
Owing to staff and student shortages, lack of medical equipment and intimidation from armed forces, Jaffna university's medical faculty is on the verge of closing. With Sri Lankan military officials occupying room numbers 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, and 24 students and teachers fear to enter the building. Civilian life everywhere in the peninsula has become totally disrupted since the capture of Jaffna ane its in 1995. The Island's once one of the best medical faculities in the early 80s and 90s is on its last legs.
The University of Jaffna has sustained damages amounting to sixty five million Sri Lankan rupees (over one million US dollars) between October 1995 and April 1996 said officials of the University.
LANDMINES IN SCHOOLS
The Military in Jaffna has refused to clear landmines buried by them in and around Jaffna schools. Thousands of landmines literally crowd the area and have made school children and teachers extremely nervous. Though teachers have complained to the occupying military and asked for the landmines to be removed, no favourable reply has been forthcoming. Two of the most badly affected landmine sites are the Jaffna Stanley College Grounds and the Jaffna University playing fields, where the military buried several landmines
Schools in Thenmaradchy in Jaffna have one of the lowest attendance rates anywhere in the island. Most of those who have Îdisappeared' after arrest by the army in the peninsula are students, with a large number of teachers also missing. School turn-out here is so low that at least three schools have been closed down for lack of attendance - Kerudavil Saraswathy school, Sarasalai mixed school and Eluthumadduval Tamil mixed school. <More Details>
MILLTARY WILL CLOSE DOWN SCHOOLS IN JAFFNA !
A senior Sinhalese military officer has told a meeting of Tamil headmasters and teachers in Jaffna that he is ready to close down Ïany or allÓ of Jaffna's schools if teachers ignore his tough new directives. Warning that Ïdisobedience would not be toleratedÓ he gave out the military's new instructions -- Ïdue homage must be paid to the Sri Lankan lion flag, and the Sinhalese national anthem must be sung daily in classrooms by both students and teachers.Ó He added that Tamil teachers and students must bare their heads in respect when passing military camps or sentry points. Registers of student attendance must be submitted by hand to the nearest military camp for their perusal; students absent for three days must be reported to military officials; no school functions can take place without permission from the military or without military officials as guests to Ïgrace the occasionÓ. If these orders are not followed, he said, Ïpunishment will be drastic!
On 15th August 1997 the military in Jaffna has arrested three heads of prominent schools, to disrupt education in Jaffna. Troops were recently sent in to arrest the Vice Principal of Point Pedro Hartley College, and the heads of two other important schools in Vadamaradchy. It is clearly a systematic crackdown on the Tamil educational establishment in Jaffna by the military. <More Details>
HOSPITALS AND MEDICINE :
The Murunkan provincial hospital and Nanaddan central hospital - both situated along the Vavuniya-Mannar road - have been forced to close permanently after being bombed to ruins by Sri Lankan forces. The Staff at the two hospitals fled along with residents to nearby refugee camps which remain overcrowded and inadequately supplied. Meanwhile, the hospitals of Silavathurai, Marichchukaddy, Thiruketheesvaram and Periamadhu have been lying desolate for ages due to earlier Sri Lankan military operations.
Two Tamil women have been arrested by Sri Lankan troops for trying to take medicines into the Tamil Vanni region. The two women were stopped at the dreaded Thandikulam military checkpoint - gateway to the Vanni - after soldiers searched their vegetable baskets and found medicines.
The Sri Lankan government has supplied only a tiny fraction of the money needed to repair the Jaffna hospital that was bombed by the armed forces say the hospital authorities. The military caused 70 Million rupees worth of damages to the hospital by bombarding it during its operation to capture Jaffna in 1995.
Tharmapuram hospital is functioning with only one qualified doctor. It is said to receive up to 700 patients a day, but can only accommodate 75. It is reported that some days the same doctor travels to all three hospitals in Kilinochchi district - Tharmapuram, Ramanathapuram and Vaddakachchi - because the staff situation is so bad.
Meanwhile Pooneryn hospital, which had been functioning only two days a week, has had to stop its services altogether for lack of medical staff and supplies. Local Tamil people have become stranded without any sort of care. Sri Lanka uses denial of food and medicines to Tamil areas as a weapon to force Tamils to give in to its military forces.
19,045 outdoor patients and 1540 indoor patients were treated in Mullaitivu's district hospital in May 1997 alone, reflecting the massive increase in diseases affecting Mullaitivu's medicine-starved population. The smaller Mulliyawallai hospital treated 5000 patients in the same period.The diseases are spreading uncontrollably due to shortage of medicines.
In September 97, 19,608 patients were treated. In a day, an average 654 patients attend the hospital. Of this figure, 42 on average are admitted to wards for treatment. 125 babies were delivered at this hospital in September, while 120 surgical classes were also attended. There has been a steep rise in the percentage of babies dying immediately after childbirth and malnutrition among pregnant mothers in Vanni.
The Sri Lankan military in Vavuniya has blocked an ambulance's passage to Mullaitivu district, part of the large Tamil Vanni region which remains free from Army occupation.. It has been forced to make do with a vehicle belonging to the Red Cross while the army withholds their ambulance.
PATIENTS SLEEP ON FLOOR
Mulankavil hospital has only one qualified doctor to treat thousands of patients. There are no night-time staff. Only nine hospital beds have been provided and many patients with serious conditions are having to sleep on the floor.
Sri Lanka has blocked transport of a much-needed electrical generator to the Akkarayan hospital. The generator can produce 2.1 KW of electricity and was donated by FORUT. But military officers in Vavuniya have turned it away and are refusing to let it through to the Vanni. Akkarayan hospital has been in darkness for many years.
Sri Lankan forces bombed Puliyankulam hospital and surrounding homes killing at least three Tamil civilians. The hospital has been badly damaged to the point where it cannot function. Beds, medicines and other facilities have been destroyed.
Sri Lankan army has carried out a savage artillery raid on a hospital at Akkarayan in Kilinochchi killing four civilians. The attack happened on Tuesday (15-07-97) . Sri Lankan army based at Kilinochchi, Elephant Pass and Nedunkerni have been intensifying attacks on schools and hospitals. Artillery shells pierced through Akkarayan hospital's staff quarters killing a staff-member Antony Kanapathy (47), his father-in-law Raman (70), his wife Ketharny (43) and his son Umasankar (14).
The hospital's deputy health officer, Mahalingam Senthilnathan (40) is badly wounded together with four others: K. Vethakumar (25), A. Karuppan (56), K. Kirushanti (60) and Thavarasa Maheswari (29).
A record number of 21,350 patients were treated in Akkarayan hospital in Vanni in September 97. 2,066 of these patients were treated for malaria, 781 patients were warded, 77 babies were born (30 died in the same month).
5,627 Tamil patients were treated in Mulliyawalai hospital in August alone. 948 of these people had malaria, 400 had dysentery and 1296 suffered from high fever. It is unlikely that this institution can function much longer under the strain caused by the government's medical embargo.
Manthikai hospital, one of Jaffna's biggest - is without any X-ray technicians. Patients requiring X-rays have to be transferred all the way to the Jaffna base hospital. Even here, only three out of the necessary twelve X-ray technicians are present. Moreover, the Jaffna base hospital remains ruined after it was shelled to bits by Sri Lanka's military forces during the 1995 military invasion of Jaffna.
LANDMINES IN HOSPITAL
Hospital staff in Jaffna hospital discovered a cloth bag containing landmines in one of their wards. A mortar shell which was still active was also discovered a week ago in the hospital. It is believed the army uses such devices to scare off civilians from using the hospital. More than six wards in Jaffna hospital are reserved for the exclusive use of the Security forces.
The outbreak in Jaffna of an unknown viral fever is causing concern among local Doctors. At the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, 75% of patients - 120 in all - are now suffering from it. 20 are children. A pregnant Tamil woman who had also contracted the virus died immediately after giving birth.
The army commander for Batticaloa has banned mobile medical services to Tamils living outside army occupied areas. Areas like Vavunathivu, Pattipallai and Kerativu are largely dependent on these mobile medical services since no government hospitals are found there. The mobile services have been stopped since 21 July.
The government's total neglect of Kaththankudy hospital in Batticaloa district has made the dilapidated building almost unusable. The hospital is not stocked with any medical supplies, receives no funds and has not been maintained for several years. The building requires urgent attention. Patients who arrive here are normally advised to travel to the main Batticaloa hospital.
Adampan hospital in Mannar district takes more than 100 patients a day in the outpatients department. In September 1997, a total 2,085 patients were treated, of which 300 had malaria, 535 dysentery, 450 respiratory disease, 400 rashes and itches and 400 minor wounds. There is a big shortfall in the number of hospital staff. <More Details>
INTERNAL REFUGEES AND FOOD
The UNHCR has not yet made any meaningful steps to press Sri Lanka into easing its embargo to refugee areas. The inactivity of the UNHCR over the past two years has been astounding. As the situation stands, even drinking water is running low for the families who have found themselves stranded in refugee camps or strewn along roadsides in Vanni.
Sri Lankan security forces have evicted many displaced Tamils from a German-funded refugee shelter in Mandoor and turned it into a new base for themselves. The shelter had been built with money given by Germany for the task of housing Tamil people displaced by Sri Lankan military offensives in the island's east.
And with foreign journalists blocked from the war-zone, the government has secured the necessary blindfold with which to pursue what is fast-dawning as a genocidal policy against Tamils. While the humanitarian emergency reaches the same proportions as occurred in Zaire, the government deliberately blocks the passage of relief - even temporary shelter - to families made homeless by the offensive.
The Trincomalee's Tamil fishermen - who made up one third of the area - are now in refugee camps both here and in South India. More than 2000 Trincomalee fishermen are in Tamil Nadu. The ones in Sri Lankan detention camps in Trincomalee are subject to government regulations which ban them from engaging in fishing.
38 NGOs KEPT OUT OF BATTICALOA
In September 97, 38 NGOs serving in several parts of Batticaloa district have been ordered by the government to cease all humanitarian operations. This immediately follows a government order banning NGOs from assisting people in the areas of Batticaloa. The only two agencies now allowed to function in the areas are the ICRC and the French medical team, MSF. But even these have been strictly ordered not to undertake any activities other than health services.
NGOs ACKNOWLEDGE THE CRISIS
The Sri Lankan government, a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, is failing to uphold its international duty as defined by the humanitarian law of armed conflict - i.e., to protect Tamil civilians from the effects of its military operations. On the contrary, by cutting all food-links to Vanni Sri Lanka has demonstrated that crippling civilians is becoming more and more integral to its overall strategy..
UNHCR, ICRC, OXFAM, CARE and MSF agreed unanimously in a meeting that the Tamil refugee crisis unfolding in northeast Sri Lanka is spiralling out of control. They also acknowledged not enough was being done to care for the starving Tamil families displaced by successive military operations. Over half a million Tamils are homeless and hungry. Uprooted and disorientated, these people have no means of supporting themselves and are dependent on food coming from outside the Vanni. It is this dependency which the government is exploiting by blocking food-transit to the entire region.
INADEQUATE FOOD SUPPLIES
Food allowed through by the government to Vanni's non-displaced permanent residents is also inadequate. For 1996 only 2,464 lorries were permitted to travel to Mullaitivu district alone out of a needed 4,440 lorries which was almost a 50% reduced. Up to June 1997, out of the officially allowed 2,297 lorries, only 726 have actually been let through to Mullaitivu. .
FOOD ITEMS DESTROYED
29 lorry loads of food stuff going to Tamil people in Mullaitivu were destroyed in the rain as the army insisted on unloading it in the open ground to examine it. The food stuff composed of 18 lorry loads of flour, 10 lorry loads of sugar and one lorry load of rice had been purchased in Vavuniya by the Mullaitivu secretariat when heavy rain fell. The army manning the check point at Parayanalamkulam - the present entry point to Vanni - ordered the goods to be unloaded in the open grounds exposing it to the elements.
STARVATION IN BATTICALOA
Almost 400,000 Tamils in the island's east are on the brink of starvation following the government's denial of food relief to 12 divisions of the Batticaloa district. The area's Tamil population in the past relied on food stamps issued by the government but these have been strategically withdrawn.
Since January 1997 the ICRC was stopped from carrying food to the residents of Vaharai in Batticaloa. The 17,000 people there have been without any food for over two months.
The displaced Tamil population in Mannar district is without food rations, shelter or drinking water. They have no employment opportunities nor can they fend for themselves. Mannar district lacks adequate facilities to cater to these thousands of refugees, since it is mainly an underdeveloped area and depends mainly on fishing for its economy. Even fishing families are badly affected since fishing rights in the region have been curbed. The prevailing feeling among the displaced people here is one of resignation to what they see as a fate worse than death. The Sri Lankan government is responsible through bombing and shelling for rendering these people homeless and ruining their chances of a normal life.
CALL FOR URGENT FOOD RELIEF
Kilinochchi's government agent has appealed to the government to supply a 4-month backlog of Ïdistress food rationsÓ denied to 4133 displaced Tamil people (993 families) in his district.. 8473 patients were treated at the hospital for high fever recently, 4305 for malaria and 601 for dysentery. In June alone, a total of 25,025 people were treated here. 23 people died for lack of medicines. Sri Lanka's health ministry, though fully informed of this state of affairs -- especially the needs of the newly displaced -- has done nothing to ease the medical embargo applied to the Vanni region.
NO REHABILITAION FOR JAFFNA
Several millions of rupees worth of rehabilitation work earmarked by International humanitarian organisations have not been undertaken by the government in Jaffna, revealed. After the army captured the area, government appealed for funds to rehabilitate Jaffna and many international organisations, had allocated funds for the purpose but the Jaffna people have not received any benefits.
MSF DOCTORS ON EMBARGO - MALNUTRITION
Doctors of the French aid agency MSF operating in the Mallavi hospital say they cannot provide a proper service to patients because of the Sri Lankan government's medical embargo to the Vanni. In June, more than 17,000 patients had to be treated at Mallavi hospital for severe illness caused by the food and medicine! However, these patients did not receive adequate treatment because of the scarcity of medicines.
Mr. Salim Malik, MSF Co-ordinator and his report says that after exhaustive study he found malnutriton has taken a firm grip on the inhabitants of Mullikulam and Palamoddai. Due to the repeated pattern of poverty and neglect people are extremely vulnerable to life-threatening disesaes like pneumoina and dysentery. Infrastructural and medical facilities are non-existent and the people have no purchasing power. Mr. Malik's report points out that children are the worst hit by this situation.
Salim Malika (MSF co-ordinator) says that 50% of the children she tested were affected. Food and medicines are urgently needed in the camp. For the last 5 months, no food relief has been supplied to the inmates of this sprawling refugee camp located in Madhu in Mannar district. <More Details>
The Sri Lankan navy has become notorious around the North-east coastal waters for its indiscriminate shooting of ordinary fishermen.
Paddy cultivation in Batticaloa is almost at a standstill now that Security forces are systematically bombing Tamil areas without regard for the area's ecology. Batticaloa, which used to be described as the island's granary. Sri Lankan military forces regularly shell paddy fields making workers too afraid to venture there, and military vehicles generally run over paddy lands.
The Sri Lankan navy allows only Sinhalese fishermen to fish in Eastern waters around Eastern coastal areas. It bars Tamil fishermen completely from fishing in high seas while providing escorts for Sinhalese fishermen. Tamils and Moslems have been confined by the navy to shallow waters where the catch is considerably less. Shallow-water fishing involves a further hazard too - the navy is known to regularly fire upon and kill Tamil fishermen who fish close to the shoreline. Sri Lanka's policy towards other communities and makes ridiculous its claim that all ethnic groups can expect equal treatment.
Life is made harder by the fact that the fishermen are not given any food relief by the government to compensate for this terrible injustice. The waters around the peninsula's seven islands - Karaitivu, Pungudutivu, Nainativu, Eluvaitivu, Velanai, Kayts, Analaitivu Delft, and Nedunthivu - are open only to day-time coastal fishing and, even then, fisherman are not allowed to use boats and must wade in full view of the army.
FISHING AND FARMING RIGHTS
Tamils living in Mutur in Trincomalee are being progressively restricted from fishing and cultivating, by orders from the military.
Jaffna's farmers cannot cultivate their fields properly or take their produce to market because occupying Sri Lankan forces have erected huge walls preventing the movement of people across the three districts of Valigamam, Vadamaradchy and Thenmaradchy. The army construct walls which effectively imprisons people within their districts have also ruined choice cultivable lands. Farmers' fields have been lost and their houses dislocated due to the building of these walls.
The army commander in charge of Thenmaradchy in Jaffna has banned the cultivation of over 100 acres of rich paddy lands either side of the Navatkuli Thanankilapu highway. Farming activity in Varani, Idaikurichi, Karampaikunchi, Navalkadu, Maseri and Vadavarani has been severely disrupted, with heavy restrictions placed on ploughing time and diesel limitations put on tractors. Permits must be obtained from the army before visiting paddy lands.
APPEAL TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Mullaitivu district's Fishermen's Co-op Societies Union has made a fervent appeal to the human rights group Amnesty International to prevail on the Sri Lankan government to stop attacking Tamil fishermen. The union asks Amnesty to highlight their plight to the rest of the world. In the most recent incident, Sri Lankan Kfir bombers raided fishing areas of Mullivaikkal in Mullaitivu on 13 May. Seven fishermen were killed and three badly wounded. Valuable fishing equipment -- including fibre-glass boats, fishing nets and tackle -- was destroyed or damaged. It remains to be seen whether Amnesty takes up further the case of these fishermen.
COCONUT TREE FOR BUNKERS
In the past the Jaffna peninsula's inhabitants tapped the underground water resources and made the land productive. Recent surveys suggest that more than 200,000 hardy plamyra trees have been cut down for making bunkers and security fences by the Security forces. Similarly more than 3,500 acres of coconut lands have been laid to waste in Jaffna peninsula.
NO INSURANCE FOR TAMIL FISHERMEN
The military ban on fishing in the North-East coast has slashed the income of fishermen in Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna and Mannar and made insurance schemes out of their reach. Tamil fishermen cannot insure themselves under the various schemes available to fishermen living in Sinhalese areas, because they cannot afford a monthly premium, having instead to rely on a hand-to-mouth existence. The banks in the North-east do not provide distress loans to these fishermen because there is no guarantee of repayment.<More Details>
The situation in Trincomallee is witnessing a renewed wave of Sinhala colonisation in areas where Tamil fishing families are being driven out and Sinhala fishing families brought in by the government to dilute the Tamil majority there.
The Sri Lankan military is settling Sinhalese people in formerly Tamil-inhabited areas of Trincomalee, having evicted Tamils by force from their homes. The entire Tamil region from Morawewa to Trincomalee (Peeniyadi, Ravananstreet, 6th mile post, Kanniya, Nellari, Veppamkulam, Pankulam and Moraweva Pillaiyar Koviladi) has been devastated by the destruction of Tamil property due to army activities.
A Vihara has been built in he Tamil villages of Peeniyady, Mihunthapuram and several facilities are provided to the Sinhalese settlers. St. Joseph's church which used to be regularly attended by Tamils at 7th mile post has been converted to an army administration base. On the road leading from Habarana to Trincomalee, the army has settled Sinhalese people on both sides of the road.
Fifteen Tamil families who have lived in Akkaraipattu in Batticaloa for the last 25 years have been ordered by a Sri Lankan court to leave immediately. The decision forms part of a well-established pattern of driving the people out of their and making the area available to Sinhala settlers.
Women in the North-East of the Island are badly affected by the 15 year long war. Several of them are victims of rape and torture. Even though there is a woman as the head of the state in Sri Lanka, the rights of the women are not protected!
Due to shortage of soldiers in Sri Lankan Army even 10 months preganant women are employed as soldier! (Sunday Times of 03 September 1995)
There are numerous Tamil widows in the North-east. The government does not have any widow scheme for women who have lost their husbands during the military operations.
Sterlisation is widley practiced among the plantation Tamils in order to control the birth rate of the Tamil population.
Sri Lankan women employed as domestic helpers in the Middle East are obligeded to pay big sums of money to government officials to obtain their Passports and clearance. There is no government sponsored welfare scheme for the women working in the Middle East.
STUDENTS AND TEACHERS RAPED
On 15/7/97 a Tamil school girl in Araly South in Jaffna - on her way to school was dragged by two Sinhala soldiers to a secluded spot where she was beaten senseless and raped. She was admitted to Jaffna teaching hospital with severe injuries.
On 16/7/97, a 20-year old teacher, Krishnapillai Santhirakala, was gang-raped by the Army soldiers between her workplace and her home in Karanavai in Vadamaradchy. The girls are brutally raped in retaliation for refusing marriage offers from members of the armed forces. Sri Lanka's commanding officers have not responded to the local people's protests about such incidents.
On 5/9/97, six year old baby Palanthi - of Atchuvely in Jaffna was gang raped by the Sri Lankan Army at an Army check point. The girl was admited to the Jaffna teaching hospital in a critical condition.
On 16/10/97, Mrs. Thanganayaki - (49) of Amparai was raped and murdered by the Sri Lankan police and home guards.
Many other rape cases were reported in North-East!
The government appointed Human Rights Commission to eye wash the International community is based in the Army camp in Palaly in Jaffna. This is to prevent civilians from making complaints to this commission.
On September 5th a group of Sri Lankan soldiers entered the Welser football ground in Batticaloa town and attacked the players and spectators with rifle butts and iron rods.
In Vavuniya, 12,000 (Four thousand families) Tamil civilians have been held in 14 different military camps since September 1996. Each family is confined to an area of 10 sq.ft. They are frequently taken away for interrogation.
In the village of Karaithuraipattu in Mullaitivu district, nearly 170 civilians have been killed in the past 7 years in Army shelling and aerial raids.
According to the Mullaitivu Government Agent's (GA) monthly report to Colombo, between May 13 and June 28, 40 Tamil civilians lost their lives and 35 were seriously injured as a result of Army and Airforce attack on the densely populated civilian areas in Mulliativu district.
In the past ten months 31 bodies of Tamils civilians have been found on the road side of Vavuniya. They are vicitimes of the Sri Lankan Army at Vavuniya.
In Jaffna, the military commander has ordered Tractor owners that all the Tractors must be brought to the Army camp every evenings for parking. The Tractors which are not parked in the Army camps will be confishcated by the Army!
In September 97, the statue of Sankiliyan, the last Jaffna King was destroyed by the Army in Jaffna. The Army in Jaffna also obstructs any attempts by the public to repair this statue.
In Jaffna, since 1990, nearly 8554 civilians have been killed and 2620 injured by the Security forces. No one was paid compensation by the government!
The Army soldiers manning the check points in Colombo have given standing orders to the Tamil shop keepers to provide them free meals three times a day with alcohol. The complaints made to the Army commander and the government authority was completely ignored.
90,000 HOUSES DESTROYED IN BATTICALOA
In 1997, more than 90,000 Tamil homes have been demolished by Sri Lankan military forces. Since 1995, Batticaloa's Tamil residents have received no state allocations to restore their dwellings. What is more, 620 civilians killed by military assaults in Batticaloa, 300 injured and 18,000 made jobless due to army action.
5000 HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN BATTICALOA
Since 1990, over 5000 human rights violations against Tamil civilians have occurred in Batticaloa at the hands of armed forces and a handful of Tamil and Muslim army-collaborators. Figures compiled by independent sources reveal that of the 5000 abuses, 90% have been committed by the army. The offences include rape and murder of women, illegal imprisonment, extortion, extra-judicial killings and kidnapping for ransom.
Tamil Centre for Human Rights
Centre Tamoul Pour Les Droits De L'Homme
24, Hawthrone Road, Cambridge, Ontario N1S 3G9, Canada
GANG RAPES AND MASSACRES :
Even since Jaffna was captured by Sri Lanka terrorist forces, gang rapes and massacres were done by them behind the rigid censorship provided by Sri Lanka government to cover-up the crimes. Krishanthi was one of the school girls gang raped and killed.
".... The teenager, Krishanthi Kumarasamy, disappeared after she was detained at a checkpoint in Jaffna on 7 September. Her mother, a 16-year-old brother and a neighbour were also detained when they went to the checkpoint later to look for her. Their mutilated bodies were discovered in a nearby salt pit a month later. The killings have focused attention on allegations of human rights violations by the predominantly Sinhalese army that is fighting Tamil rebels who want an independent homeland. The case is also being seen as a measure of the government's commitment to protect Tamil civilians in the Jaffna Peninsula, which the army captured earlier this year from Tamil guerrillas. The nine soldiers and two policemen who were manning the checkpoint in Jaffna were arrested soon after the bodies were discovered. The government, anxious to appear impartial, said it would punish the guilty. ...."
- Hong Kong Standard Asia/Pacific(December 2, 1996)
FLOATING BODIES OF TAMILS IN COLOMBO
Tamil civilians in their office in the capital and dumped the mutilated bodies in lakes over the last three months, officials said Wednesday.
``They were taken in on suspicion of being rebels, but no investigation had been done to confirm their guilt,'' police Chief Wickremasinghe Rajaguru told a news conference. Instead, the victims, who ranged in age from 30 to 40, were taken to the Special Task Force headquarters in the capital, and held for five or six days before they were killed, he said. The victims were Tamils abducted from cheap hotels or while travelling in the capital, Colombo, he said. Police have detained thousands of minority Tamils in Colombo, the capital, since Tamil rebels broke a three-month cease-fire and resumed their 12-year-old civil war. Most of the Tamils arrested have been released after their identities were established. The Tamil guerrillas are fighting for a homeland in the north and east, claiming widespread discrimination by the majority Sinhalese. More than 36,000 people have been killed. Human rights activists have repeatedly expressed concern over the disappearance of minority Tamils while in police custody, executions without trial and arbitrary arrests. Ten police commandoes, a soldier and seven civilians have been arrested in the stranglings of the Tamils. ``The victims were thrown into an unused toilet with plastic handcuffs around their necks, which strangled them to death,'' said T.V. Sumanasekera, head of the police criminal investigation department. Police are trying to establish the motive for the crime, but ruled out personal gain since in one case, a victim's jewelry was returned to family members.
MASSACRE IN THE KILLAI SEA :
Attack on fleeing civilians continues; Dead bodies are lying along the streets In an attempt to trap as much civilians as possible Sri Lankan armed forces are unleashing a terror campaign against the fleeing innocent Tamils civilians in Jaffna peninsula. Large number of human bodies and body parts are lying along the roads leading to Kilali sea shore. Their bicycles tied with their few belongings are also lying beside their dead bodies. A refugee who escaped from Madduvil area and arrived in Kilali sea shore on 22-04-1996 morning said that he saw 3 people dying when shells exploded among a crowd of fleeing civilians during the night of 21-04-1996. He said others quickly buried their mutilated bodies close by and proceeded towards Kilali.
By NIRESH ELIATAMBY
Associated Press Writer
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) Sri Lankan helicopters fired on a group of Tamil refugees, killing 16 civilians, Tamil rebels said today. The army put the number of dead at 30, and said they were all rebels.
The military initially denied the attack, but reversed itself late today, saying the gunships assaulted a rebel base at Nachchikuda, 160 miles north of Colombo, on Sunday. It said 30 Tamil guerrillas died and many were wounded.
However, Tamil rebels said 16 civilians died in the attack and 60 were wounded. They said the attack targeted a refugee camp the guerrillas control at Nachchikuda.
A report in the Tamil-language Veerakesari newspaper quoted travelers as saying the weekend attack killed eight civilians. It is impossible to confirm reports from the war-torn north, which has no telephone lines. The government has prohibited visits by journalists for a year. Tamil guerrillas have been fighting for a homeland in northern and eastern Sri Lanka since 1983, claiming the Sinhalese majority discriminates against the Tamil minority. More than 40,000 people have been killed.
The Government officers issued the names of those who died in the Helicopter attack. Almost all of them were people displaced from the coastal areas of Jaffna who were temporarily living in Nachchikuda and were engaged in fishing. The affected people had earlier fled Jaffna when their homes came under military attack during the time the Sri Lankan armed forces launched a military offensive to capture Jaffna from October 1995 to December 1995.
12 year old girl describes the tragic death of a 2 year old baby. Sathiaverni a 12 year old girl from Aruhuveli described the tragic death of a 2 year old baby who was killed by an artillery shell when the Sri Lankan armed forces launched a shell attack on Thenmaratchi and Vadamaratchi on 16-03-1996. She said when the shells fell on our compound, we ran further away and laid down on the ground to take cover. I spotted my aunt's daughter Kalpana - a 2 year old baby standing away from us unaware of the terrific danger she was in. I got up and started running towards her desperately to grab her to safety when a shell fell very close to her and exploded. When the smoke cleared we looked for her and found that she was dead. I was trembling. My hand was cut by a shrapnel from another shell that fell close by.
A Brief Statement from UTHR on the Massacre on 11 Feb. 1996 at Kumarapuram.16 Feb. 1996
The Massacre in Kilivetti, Trincomalee District
Between 5.30 and 7.30 PM on Sunday February 11th, armed men in militaryuniform ran amok in the village of Kumarapuram, Killivetti, killing 24 civilians and injuring may more. Among those killed were seven children under the age of 12, the youngest being 3 years old. Some young women were raped, including one who was raped and killed. The death toll would have been very much higher had not the people run out and sought shelter in fields and a grave yard.The incident followed the killing of two army personnel by the LTTE.
Mr.Thangathurai, MP for Trincomalee, who visited Kilevetti, his own village, confirmed that the Sri Lankan army was responsible for the massacre. According to the people a large number of troops were involved. Apart from those responsible for the outrage, many troops were on guard in the surrounding area. They said that they could identify several of the perpetrators. Several of the troops were from the camp about the 57th mile post nearer Kilivetti. Some said that troops had also been brought from other camps such as Dehiwatte in the Allai scheme.
Troops had prevented the injured from being taken away for medical treatment until 9.30 the following morning. They relented only when they heard that Brigadier Paramu Kulatunge of Trincomalee and Wimal Gunatilleke, DIG/ Police, were coming into that area. The latter had picked up several empty cartridge cases. An unexploded grenade that had been thrown into a house with 12 inhabitants was also picked up.
The Government expressed its shock and acknowledged the possibility that the army could have been responsible. It further promised that an inquiry will be conducted, adding that on the basis of testimony given by the civilians, certain military personnel had been taken into custody. Kilivetti was a village from which hardly anyone had joined the LTTE. The army from the camp responsible for the incident had visited the village regularly and there had been no problem. There is now absolute distrust of the army. Some had even said that they have no choice but to seek the protection of the LTTE or even join the LTTE instead of being killed in this manner. They ask how they could give evidence to military officials conducting an inquiry whom they cannot trust and then continue to live in the area. There is despair and panic throughout Tamil villages in the Allai scheme.
The people, moreover, suspect that the degree of organisation in the massacre could not have come about without complicity from a higher level in the local area. The act follows previous acts of indiscipline that have gone unchecked. Towards the end of last year several civilians in Mallikaitivu were badly assaulted by the army. The matter had not been pressed after the Colonel in charge of the area gave an assurance that such would not be repeated. Another incident is the murder of two Perinparajahs. One Perinparajah, a socially active person in that area, used to pass on information to concerned persons in Trincomalee about acts of indiscipline by the armed forces. A different Perinparajah was killed, allegedly by the armed forces, who then discovered their mistake. The Perinparajah sought after was according to the people detained by the army at Mallikaitivu. His body was later found in the locality.
KUMARAPURAM MASSACRE : (FEBRUARY 12th,1996)
The Sri Lankan armed forces who arrived in army trucks at the Tamil village of Kumarapuram in the Kiliveddi area of the Trincomalee district, on Sunday (11-02-1996), ordered the villagers to gather in a particular spot and massacred them with knives, machetes, and swords.
AFTERMATH OF KUMARAPURAM MASSACRE
FROM: Jim McDonald, AIUSA Sri Lanka Coordinator
RE: new AI urgent action appeal
DATE: Feb. 13, 1996
Amnesty International issued the following Urgent Action appeal today.
UA 35/96 Extrajudicial executions / Fear of further killings
24 names were given Fs/Ms
In the largest incident of its kind since fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) resumed in April 1995, at least 24 civilians are reported to have been extrajudicially executed by members of the army on 11 February 1996. The killings are said to be in reprisal for the killing of two soldiers by members of the LTTE. It is feared that further reprisal killings of civilians may take place as the conflict continues, unless the government takes measures, as a matter of urgency, to investigate the incident and bring to justice those responsible. Such decisive action would serve as a clear signal to members of the security forces that human rights violations will not be condoned.
According to survivors, a group of soldiers from 58th Mile Post army camp, possibly accompanied by others from Dehiwatte and Kiliveddy as well as home guards from Dehiwatte, killed 24 villagers at Kumarapuram, Kiliveddy, Trincomalee district, between 5.30pm and 8pm.
Two soldiers had been killed by the LTTE when their patrol had been ambushed at around 4pm about one mile north of Kiliveddy.
Several of the 25 people wounded in the same incident, who are currently receiving treatment at Trincomalee Base Hospital told human rights workers how soldiers broke open doors and windows of houses and fired at those inside. One of the women, Arumathurai Thanalakshmi was reportedly dragged from a boutique in the village and taken to the milk collection centre where she was raped before being shot. One of the other women killed was pregnant.
On 13 February, members of the military police were reportedly taking statements from the injured receiving treatment at Trincomalee Base Hospital. A magisterial inquiry has been held and the bodies were handed over to the relatives later in the day. They are reportedly due to be buried in a mass grave on 14 February.
Soldiers from the 58th Mile Post army camp have reportedly been transferred out of the area. To Amnesty International's knowledge, none of them have been arrested. Survivors claim they could identify some of the attackers. They say that five or six soldiers in particular went around killing people. Others stood guard. Amnesty International is urging that a full impartial investigation by a civilian authority be immediately established to avoid crucial evidence being lost.
Amnesty International is deeply concerned at reports that 24 villagers were extrajudicially executed by members of the security forces at Kumarapuram, Trincomalee district on 11February. Amnesty International urges that (a) a speedy, independent and impartial investigation under a civilian authority be set up immediately to investigate these reports and identify those responsible; (b) those responsible be brought to justice; (c) the relatives of the victims be granted adequate compensation; and (d) members of the security forces be issued with clear directives to adhere to international human rights and humanitarian standards at all times and be reminded that killings by members of the armed opposition, however heinous, can never provide justification for government forces to deliberately kill defenceless people.
More than three months have passed since the Kumarapuram massacre but the Sri Lankan army committee appointed by the Government to inquire into the massacre has not made any progress.
Kumarapuram massacre: The Sri Lankan armed forces who arrived in army trucks at the Tamil village of Kumarapuram in the Kiliveddi area of the Trincomalee district on the 11th of February 1996, ordered the villagers to gather in a particular spot and attacked them with knives and machetes. Two women were raped and then killed. 24 Tamil villagers were killed and several more were wounded in the army massacre.
NAGAR KOVIL SCHOOL CHILDREN MASSACRE
SRI LANKAN GOVT. BOMBS TAMIL SCHOOL WITHIN HOURS OF PRESS CENSORSHIP
71 TAMIL CIVILIANS KILLED BY AERIAL BOMBING & SHELLING
25 school going children were among 40 Tamil civilians killed on the spot when Sri Lankan Pucara Planes bombed the Nagerkoil Central School in the Jaffna peninsula on Friday 22nd September. Nearly 100 others were injured, most of them students in the same school. Elsewhere in the area, 15 other civilians were also killed in the course of the same bombing.
The bombing of the school happened RI 12.50 p.m. during the school lunch break. When several of the school children were gathered under a shady tree in the school compound. Pieces of human flesh were strewn around the area including the tree branches, making identification impossible.
Earlier, on the same day, Pucara bombers targeted Manalkadu and Katkovalam in the Vadamardchi area killing six persons. A small Catholic church was also damaged in the bombing. In another incident in the early hours of the same day, intense shelling from the Palaly army camp killed seven members of the same family including four children of varying ages. The shelling began at 3.00 a.m. and continued until 7.00 a.m.
The intensified aerial bombing and shelling by Sri Lankan government forces came about within hours of the government's imposition of Press Censorship midnight September 21.
Apart from the 68 civilians and school Students on 22 September, three others including a Small boy age 9 were killed on the previous two days in a spate of wild bombing raids in the Vadamaradchi area in which at least 30 others were seriously injured.
On 20th September artillery shells fired from the Palaly Army camp damaged the roof of a nunnery at Achchuveli causing injuries to 3 women who had taken shelter there. The details of the school children who have been killed by aerial bombing on the Nagarkoil Central School in the Jaffna Peninsula by the Sri Lankan Air Force Pucara bomber planes on 22-09-1995.
NAVALY ST. PETER'S CHURCH MASSACRE
ICRC COMMUNICATION TO THE PRESS
Communication to the press No.95/30
11 July 1995
SRI LANKA: DISPLACED CIVILIANS KILLED IN AIR STRIKE
Geneva (ICRC)On 9 July the Sri Lankan armed forces launched a large-scale military offensive against the positions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) north of the city of Jaffna. The operation, involving intensive artillery shelling and air strikes, immediately forced tens of thousands of civilians to leave the area. Many of the displaced sought shelter in churches and tenples, including several hundred people who took refuge in the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Navaly.
According to eye-witness accounts, this church and several adjacent buildingswere hit by further air force strikes at 4.30 p.m the same day. During the attack 165 people were killed and 150 wounded, including women and children.
That evening and into the night Sri Lanka Red Cross staff evacuated most of the wounded by ambulance to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital. Delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) present the next morning at the scene of the attack noted the widespread damage and measured the extent of the tragedy: many of the bodies had not yet been removed from the rubble.
Deeply concerned by the series of the violent acts that have claimed innocent civilians, the ICRC calls on the parties involved to respect civilian lives, property and places of refuge. It also urges them to respect the protected zone around the Jaffna Teaching Hospital and to refrain from attacking any other medical facilities.
Names and Details of those identified bodies of the innocent tamil civilians who were killed during the military offensive of the Sri Lankan armed forces on 9th July 95, at the Catholic church, where the tamils have taken refuge.
KALUTARA PRISON MASSACRE December 1997
THAMPALAGAMAM - MASSACRE February 1998
Sterilisation being used to reduce Tamil population
A major program to systematically and radically reduce the Tamil population in Sri Lanka's plantation sector is secretly but effectively being carried out with state assistance and misdirected foreign aid. The Tamils in the hills of Sri Lanka where most of its tea and rubber grow are being subjected to large scale sterilisation which contravenes customary rules and law elsewhere in the island.
The Sri Lankan government's Ministry of Plantations is directly involved in this project with assistance from the Ministry of Health. Up country intellectuals and social activists allege that the Ministry of Plantations channels substantial foreign aid earmarked for improving the quality of life in the plantations.
They also allege that an NGO called 'Plantation Trust' headed by Dr.Indrani Hettiarachi plays a key role in implementing this program among young Tamil parents in the plantation industry. This birth control program is the latest in a series of efforts made by Sinhala majority governments to reduce the Tamil population in Sri Lanka's plantation sector.
Sinhala leaders have been apprehensive about the political power of the large Tamil population in the tea and rubber plantations of Sri Lanka from the time the British left the island in 1948. A large number of them were disfranchised in 1949.
Later, under repatriation pacts with India and forcible evacuation programs such as Usawasama sponsored by the Sri Lankan state, significant reductions were brought about by Sinhala politicians in the Tamil population of the plantation sector.
A Tamil social activist in the hill country describes a typical scene (names and places have been deleted at his request) -
"Somewhere in the central hills in Sri Lanka, in a tea plantation shrouded in mist, some twenty five poor Tamil plantation workers in their early twenties were herded into a dirty lorry which is normally used to transport manure for the tea saplings."
"They don't seem to be aware of what is awaiting them. The only thing that clogged their minds was the Rs. 500/ the doctor mahathaya has promised them at the end of the treatment. Each had their own plan for the 500 rupee reward. Perhaps their next few
meals seemed sure."
" The lorry winds through the serpentine road and stops at the make shift clinic, another dirty dilapidated building. They are asked to get off the vehicle. One by one their names called out. And there, they all were sterilised, losing one of their basic rights-to procreate,
without their fullest consent."
The method of sterilisation in this instance is called LRT - Ligation and Resection of the Tube.
The Sri Lankan Govt. seems to be over concerned about the plight of the poor Tamil estate workers. The govt. preaches to them that prevention of pregnancy is good. "you can't support your family," it tells them.
In fact the Sri Lankan govt. is running a politically motivated demographic control project under the cover of Family Planning, observers say.
The result is the changing demographic pattern in the central province of Sri Lanka. The growth rate of the Tamils in the region has drastically fallen compared to the growth rate of other communities.
This in turn reflects in the estate school registers and creche registers. A senior Tamil journalist from the hill country said " if this trend continued unchecked there won't be any nurseries for Tamil children in five or six years"
His comment is a reflection of the growing alarm among Tamil intellectuals in the plantation sector over the brazen manner in which the government and NGOs like 'Plantation Trust are carrying with this demographic engineering .
A study of the population pattern during the last five to ten years shows the trend clearly. Many a childcare centres have been closed down during these years because the number of children below five is fast decreasing. Even a brief perusal of the figures will show that the main target campaign is one particular community - the Indian Tamils.
A recent survey in Haali-Ela, Rockkettanne estate revealed a shocking fact- that there are only 96 children below the age of 5 in that estate's primary school. Another revealing fact is that all their mothers have gone through a hysterectomy. Ninety one percent of those who had done the surgery (LRT) is younger than 26. According to the law, sterilisation cannot be done if the person is younger than 26. In two cases the women, one can hardly call them women, were less than 19. Moreover, those who are involved in the programmes don't adhere to the protocols such as the minimum age limit for sterilisation. Neither do they look into other factors, that the parents have at least two off springs and the age of the last one should be not less than two.
The doctors don't brief the parents on the alternatives nor on the laws and regulations of the process, say well informed sources in the plantation sector. Surveys done in several other estates also clearly show the drastic decline in birth rates among the Tamils in the hill country.
Journalists and intellectuals insist that NGOs like Population Services International and the Plantation Trust work hand in glove with the govt. in this neo ethnic control strategy. These NGOs have kept silent about the allegations that have been levelled against them
in this connection.
Public health workers in the estates brainwash and inveigle mostly illiterate or semi literate poor Tamil workers to do family planning surgeries instead of giving them a good knowledge of the reproductive health. They engage in this eagerly for the benefits which accrue to them on the basis of the sterilisation rates in their estates. Most of these are not fully qualified medical professionals. Well informed sources say that these field officers are paid handsomely for recruiting people to undergo sterilisation.
Despite protests by many intellectuals and concerned people of the hill country the Sri Lankan government seems to be achieving its goal of changing the demographic complexion of the plantation sector.
[TamilNet, October 30, 1997 - TN/97113101]
Website : www.tchr.net
TAMIL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS FRANCE
(ARTICLES FROM VARIOUS NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES WERE INCLUDED IN THE HARD COPY)