SUB-Commission on promotion and protection of Human Rights


An Appeal to

The United Nations

Sub-Commission on the Promotion and

Protection of Human Rights



52 Session / Sesione / Sesion

31 July 2000 ­ 18 August 2000









Appeal                                                                                                                                     4


UN Secretary General Mr. Koffi Anna’s recent statements on Sri Lanka                                   7                                                                   

Recent United Nations Reports on Sri Lanka


1. Report of the Special Rapporteur of Independence judges and awyers       8


2. Report of the Working group on Enforced or Involuntary isappearances     11

 Sri Lanka still has the 2nd highest number of disappearances ­ TCHR             14

3. Report of the Special Rapporteur of Freedom of expression                            15

4. Report of the Special Rapporteur of Disappearances and Summary Executions                                                                                                                           16


5. Report of the Special Rapporteur of Torture and detention                              18


6. Committee Against Torture ­ (53rd session)                                                           23


7. Report of the Special Rapporteur of Religious Intolerance                               24

8. Press release of Special Rapporteur against violence against women         


Assassination of Kumar Ponnambalam

Special Rapporteur’s communication                                                                          25

Kumar’s assassins protected by politician                                                                 26                              

Are politicians involved in assassination kept hidden?                                          28

Identification Parade                                                                                                         29                    


Economic, social and cultural rights

Education                                                                                                                             30

Health                                                                                                                                    31

Food                                                                                                                                      32


Freedom of Expression

EU sponsored seminar questioned                                                                              34

Draconian measures against printing presses

Newspapers shut down                                                                                      

Arbitrary arrests and killings including those related to disappearances

Arbitrary arrest / detention / torture                                                                               35

Arbitrary killing                                                                                                                   38

Sri Lanka Navy officer committed War Crime                                                             40

Chemani mass grave                                                       

42 skeltons discovered                                                                                       

500 civilian casualties                                                                                                         41                                                                                                     

Rights of the child

             Right to life denied                                                                                                42

            Children assaulted in custody                                                                          

            Rape of children by police and army                                                               

            Embargo starves children                                                                                              

Violence against women                                                                                                 

            Police force into women’s homes                                                                     43

            Woman raped                                                                                                                     

Young mother killed

            Seven soldiers allegedly raped Ida Hamilitta                                                             




Population displacements and asylum seekers

            Refugees in Europe and other Western countries                                       44

            Internally Displaced People                                                                                       
            Refugees in India                                                                                                       

            Civilian evacuation failed                                                                                    


Country Situation                                                                                                                  

 Norway Embassy bombed                                                                                 47

            ICRC, UNHCR urged over ceasefire                                                                

            Sri Lanka rejected cease-fire offer                                                                     48


TCHR summary (names, dates, place of incidents, etc)

            Arbitrary arrest / Detention                                                                                  00

            Extra judicial killings / Summary executions                                                  00

            Enforced or involuntary disappearances                                                                     00

            Rape / Torture and others                                                                                    00



            TCHR letter to the Chairman of Human Rights Commission                     49

            Sri Lankan Govt decision shuts door on talks                                               50
            Bishop’s appeal to foreign missions in Colombo                                         51





                                                                                                                        31 July 2000


The Chairperson

Members of the Sub-Commission on

Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

52nd Session

United Nations





Honoured Sirs / Mesdames



We, the Tamil Centre for Human Rights - TCHR, herewith submit our appeal with our summary report on arrests, arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances, rape, torture etc which clearly records the deterioraaing human rights situation in Sri Lanka.


The UN Secretary-General has called for the new century to be the century of prevention. The sensitivity of our reports, based on past incidents, calls for all possible preventive measures to be urgently taken by the UN Human Rights forums.  The Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka is far from improving, in fact it is deteriorating, therefore the UN Human Rights mechanisms are crucial.


Sir/Mesdames, the latest reports of the UN Special rapporteurs and the Working groups (included in this appeal) and the statements by the NGOs to the last Commission on Human Rights clearly indicate that there is imminent danger in Sri Lanka!


It is crystal clear that Sri Lanka does not reply to many of the communications by the UN Special rapporteurs and the Working groups. However, this lack of response even combined with Sri Lanka’s hard lobby within the United Nations ­ cannot hide certain facts. Sri Lanka still ranks the 2nd highest number (12,113) of disappearances compared to other countries in the world. It is noteworthy that Sri Lanka was the only country the Working Group on Disappearances_visited three times (1991, 1992 and 1999) since the Group came into existence in 1980.


It is well known that Sri Lanka is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is less widely known that the major part of the Tamil living areas have been under an Economic embargo for over ten years. According to International NGOs and the Specialised organisations - health, education, housing, etc are under-going extreme and severe conditions. No Food, No Medicine, aerial bombing and shelling on civilian targets continue to kill innocent people on a mass scale and destroy civilians’ housing including a home for the aged, religious places and schools. Despite all this, the North East of Sri Lanka has become the dump yard and testing ground for modern and sophisticated weapons. In recent days, many countries have given large quantities of arms and ammunition to Sri Lanka, where people live in extreme poverty.


As far as Human rights defenders are concerned, from Late Mr. Richard de Zoysa - Journalist to Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam, assassinations were carried out by SO CALLED UNKNOWN gunmen. Mr. Ponnambalam - a leading lawyer and a good friend of our organisation was assassinated on 5 January this year - soon after he returned from attending conferences and seminars held at various world bodies in Europe, and in other continents, including the 55th session of the Commission on Human Rights. According to media reports - the killers of Kumar Ponnambalam are well protected and the investigations are manipulated and witnesses misled by the Sri Lankan Police. The President Chandrika Kumaratunga is the Commander-in-Chief of the security forces in Sri Lanka.


In a report (E/CN.4/2000/12) submitted to the 56th Session of the Commission on Human Rights - the High Commissioner for Human Rights sadly recalled that the former Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial and Summary or Arbitrary Executions, warned in his 1993 report that the situation in Rwanda had deteriorated to such an extent as to raise the distinct possibility that genocidal acts would take place, but this warning issued well in time, went unheeded. Action was not taken in response to the early warning. The same Special Rapporteur visited Sri Lanka from 24 August to 5 September 1997 and submitted a report, (E/CN.4/1998/Add.2), the warnings of which, go unheeded!


We, in TCHR, have repeatedly mentioned as an early warning, the on-going systematic cultural genocide and massive and gross violations of fundamental human rights of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, in particular the right to life. The failure of early contact and early action by these august forums will certainly lead to repetition of the failure of the UN’s preventive techniques regarding genocide, as in Rwanda, Cambodia and Former Yugoslavia.


Sirs/Mesdames, it is true that Sri Lanka has become party to the optional protocol in the recent past. This does not mean that all human rights violations in Sri Lanka will be addressed through this procedure. The UN VIPs have reminded us that "Naming and Shaming" is one of the preventive techniques of violations of human rights. Therefore, the appeals, reports, joint-statements, interventions, written statements, and so on to the UN Human rights forums are very important. TCHR will continue this arduous task at any cost.


We would like to inform the delegates and members of the UN Human Rights forums that the Sri Lankan government’s invitation to certain NGOs and other VIPs to visit Sri Lanka in the name of human rights missions / seminars etc will not produce any independent facts on the situation in Sri Lanka nor will such invitations help to improve the human rights situation! Instead, these visits will certainly help to strengthen the propaganda of the Sri Lanka mission in New York, Geneva and other places rather than enabling the fact finders to present their own observations and analysis.


The last visit of the Working Group on Disappearances was a typical example of how this visit was used in the 56th session (CHR) by the Sri Lankan government for their propaganda purpose!


As far as propaganda is concerned, nowadays, Colombo has adopted a policy of entering gradually and imperceptibly into the arena of high level people from the International Community. Through these contacts, they feel that propaganda can be conveyed more powerfully than they can do by themselves!


We take this opportunity to remind the Honourable members of the Sub-Commission that the National Commission on Human Rights of Sri Lanka is not an independent body. It is totally dependent on the Government and they are not allowed to function as an independent body, by the Security forces. They investigate also the violations, which took place during the period of the earlier government until 1994!


The recent statement by the UN Secretary General, the reports of the Special rapporteurs and Working groups, visits by Human Rights organisations and personnel (although the fact finding visits to Sri Lanka fail to get unhindered access to North East), urgent appeals of the International NGOs and specialised agencies and finally, the massive import of arms and ammunitions to Sri Lanka have all proved that the question of human rights in Sri Lanka, has characteristic which preclude from the claim that it is an "internal affair".


We kindly appeal to all human rights forums to apply the preventive techniques in time. We are sure, as no doubt you are too, that "Prevention is better than cure".


We urge you, the distinguished Chair and yourselves, distinguished members of the Sub-Commission, to seriously take our appeal into your kind consideration, to reflect on it as a call for action to be taken to prevent further gross and systematic violations and genocidal acts. We believe that the Sub-Commission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights has the capacity to express the noble values and aspirations in favour of human rights, therefore we appeal to you from the depths of our hearts to take action.    


Thanking you,



S. V.  Kirubaharan

General Secretary - TCHR







(Press Release - SG/SM/7385  - 9 May 2000)


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:


The Secretary-General is concerned about the possible humanitarian consequences of the recent escalation of fighting in Sri Lanka. Thousands of civilians are in danger of being displaced. He appeals to all parties to avoid placing the lives of civilians at risk, and to ensure humanitarian access to all in need.


The Secretary-General strongly believes that a political solution is necessary to the conflict in Sri Lanka. He welcomes the offer by the Government of Norway to facilitate such a solution.


Statement issued by the Spokesman for Mr. Kofi Annan

(Press Release - SG/SM/7416 ­ 24 May 2000)




The following statement was issued this evening by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:


The Secretary-General is concerned that the fighting on the Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka continues unabated. As a result, tens of thousands of civilians have already been displaced. The Secretary-General again appeals to all concerned to ensure that civilians will not be the victims of this conflict and that humanitarian workers will have safe and unimpeded access to all in need. He also wishes to reiterate his unequivocal condemnation of all acts of terrorism, including those that have frequently occurred in Sri Lanka.


The Secretary-General notes that a delegation from the Government of Norway is currently visiting Sri Lanka and the region. A political solution is needed to bring this conflict to an end, and the Secretary-General welcomes the Norwegian peace efforts.  




Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mr. Param Cumaraswamy, submitted in accordance with Commission resolution 1999/31

(E/CN.4/2000/61  - 21 February 2000 )


Sri Lanka

Communication to the Government


247.    On 9 December 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter to the Government concerning the case of Kumar Ponnambalam, a well‑known defence lawyer and General Secretary of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress.  It was reported that there had been a widespread and well‑publicized call by Sri Lankan newspapers that Mr. Ponnambalam should be taken into custody and charged with criminal defamation of the President and with supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  The source claimed that the calls for his arrest were based upon his work as a criminal defence lawyer and for speeches or statements he had made before various international bodies concerning the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.  Fears were expressed that Mr. Ponnambalam would be arrested upon his return to Colombo on 25 December.


248.    On 18 May 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted an urgent appeal to the Government concerning further developments in the country and in particular the case of. Percy Wijesiriwardenn, a Grade 1 Judicial Officer.  According to the information provided, Mr. Wijesiriwardene was removed from office by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission without being accorded due process and in particular without being shown the charges against him.  Furthermore, it was reported that Mr. Wijesiriwardene had been intimidated into submitting a letter seeking retirement.  Mr. Wijesiriwardene’s petition to the Supreme Court for leave to challenge the removal on the grounds of breach of his fundamental rights pursuant to articles 12 (1) and 14 (1) (g) of the Constitution was dismissed without any reason given.


249.    The Special Rapporteur also requested an invitation from the Government to carry out an in situ mission to Sri Lanka to study matters relating to the independence of the judiciary and the independence of lawyers, including the role and impartiality of prosecutors.


250.    On 22 June 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted a letter to the Government concerning an incident at Ratnapura Magistrate’s Court.  It was reported that on 19 May 1999 the Magistrate of Ratnapura was threatened, insulted and humiliated by an unruly mob for having performed his lawful judicial function.  Though the Minister for Justice had condemned the action of the mob, the alleged incident was of concern.


251.    On 13 September 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the Government concerning information he had received regarding the appointment of a new Chief Justice.  According to the information provided, the Chief Justice was retiring and a controversy had arisen over the appointment of his successor.  The Special Rapporteur informed the Government that his attention had been drawn to the fact that, save in a very few cases, the general practice had always been to appoint the next most senior judge of the Supreme Court as Chief Justice.  However, he was informed that the Government was considering appointing the current Attorney‑General to the post who, although he had been a Supreme Court judge when he was appointed Attornny‑General, was the most junior of the judges.  His attention had also been drawn to two petitions before the Supreme Court to strike the Attorney‑General off the rolls of advocates for misconduct.


252.    On 28 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the Government concerning the criminal prosecution of Jayalath Jayawardena, a member of Parliament, whose trial had been postponed several times since it began on 30 May 1997 at the behest of the prosecution for flimsy reasons, very often for the non‑availability/absence of counsel for the prosecution.  International foreign observers had been present in court to observe the trial on several occasions and the postponements had been costly in terms of effort, time and expense.  The trial was called for hearing once again on 14 October 1999, when all the witnesses were present, but prosecuting counsel was not present for “personal reasons”.  The court once again postponed the trial until 11 November 1999.  It was also alleged that the trial is politically motivated and the postponements were orchestrated by the Government to frustrate international observers.


Communications from the Government

253.    On 26 January 1999, the Government sent a letter to the Special Rapporteur in reply to his letter of 9 December 1998.  The Government informed the Special Rapporteur, inter alia, that Mr. Ponnambalam had reportedly made a public statement on national television that he was a supporter of a well‑known terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  The LTTE is banned in Sri Lanka.  In view of the statement, the law enforcement authorities were obliged to carry out investigations as to the nature of Mr. Ponnambalam’s support.  There was no prior decision to arrest Mr.Ponnambalam.  Action would be taken to conduct an inquiry to ascertain the facts and if any wrongdoing is discovered appropriate legal proceedings would be instituted.  Like any other citizen of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ponnambalam can challenge these legal proceedings, if and when they are instituted, in the courts, in particular in the Supreme Court, which has jurisdiction over fundamental rights in accordance with the Constitution of the country and the International Covenants on Human Rights.


254.      On 7 July 1999, the Government sent a letter to the Special Rapporteur in reply to his letter of 18 May 1999.  In view of the confidentiality of the material disclosed in this communication and the request of the Government for confidentiality, the Special Rapporteur will limit himself to a very short summary of the communication, which stated that the Commission which was chaired by the Chief Justice did communicate the allegation to Mr. Wijesiriwardena.  The allegations were quite serious in nature.  Because of the seriousness, and rather than face disciplinary proceedings, Mr. Wijesiriwardena agreed to take early retirement.  There was no pressure exerted on him by the Commission.


255.      On 29 October 1999, the Permanent Mission acknowledged receipt of the letter of the Special Rapporteur of 28 October 1999.  The contents of the communication had been transmitted to the authorities concerned in Sri Lanka for clarification.


256.    On 19 November 1999, the Government sent a letter to the Special Rapporteur in reply to his letter of 13 September 1999.  The Government, inter alia, drew the attention of the Special Rapporteur to article 107 (1) of the Constitution, which provides, inter alia, that the Chief Justice shall be appointed by the President of the Republic.  The Honourable Sarath N. Silva, Attorney‑General of Sri Lanka, was appointed Chief Justice in accordance with the above provision on 16 September 1999.




257.      The Special Rapporteur notes with great concern the assassination of Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam on 5 January 2000.  The Special Rapporteur sent a communication to the Government in regard to this assassination.


258.    With regard to the case of Mr. Wijesiriwardena, having read the Government’s response, the Special Rapporteur considers that being a judicial officer with some experience, Mr. Wijesiriwardena ought to have appreciated the implications of his agreement to take early retirement rather than face disciplinary proceedings.


259.    With regard to the appointment of the Attorney‑General as Chief Justice, as the appointment is now being challenged before the Supreme Court which will continue its hearings on 7 and 8 February 2000, the Special Rapporteur has decided not to disclose the full text of the Government’s response to his communication.  He also reserves his observations on this issue in view of the proceedings before the Supreme Court.








Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers,

Mr. Param Cumaraswamy, submitted in accordance with

Commission resolution 1999/31

(E/CN.4/2000/61/Add.2-  24 March 2000)




Sri Lanka


1.         In paragraphs 252 and 255 of his main report (E/CN.4/2000/61), the Special Rapporteur referred to his communication of 28 October 1999 to the Government of Sri Lanka concerning the criminal prosecution of Jayalath Jayawardena and the Government’s acknowledgement, dated 29 October, of receipt of the same communication.


2.         Since the completion and submission of the main report, the Special Rapporteur received a communication dated 3 February 2000 from the Government in response to the points raised in the communication of 28 October 1999.


3.         The Government refuted the allegations that the trial had been postponed several times at the behest of the prosecution for unsubstantial reasons and orchestrated by the Government to frustrate international observers.  It explained as follows:


            (a)       The request for postponement on 14 October 1999 was due to a genuine personal difficulty, which arose on the morning of the trial date as a result of persistent torrential rains.  The Prosecuting Counsel was in fact prepared to conduct the trial;


            (b)       When it became apparent that he would not be able to proceed to work that morning, immediate steps were taken to inform the Senior Defence Counsel about the difficulty.  Further, the Permanent State Counsel was instructed to obtain early dates in November, which he did;


            (c)        Consequently, there is nothing to indicate that the Prosecuting Counsel acted other than with a sense of responsibility in the circumstances;


            (d)       It should be reiterated that questions of impartiality and fairness cannot arise when an application for postponement is made on the basis of a genuine personal difficulty.  The presence of international observers at the trial is welcome.  However, it does not have any negative effect on the manner in which the trial is conducted by the prosecution.  International observers should be assured that the postponements are in  no way connected to their presence at the trial.  There has been no request made to the Attorney-General to inform international observers regarding postponements, which could be anticipated in advance.  Such a  request could be accommodated, if made;


            (e)       The trial was taken up on 11 and 30 November and the evidence of all the witnesses who were summoned on those two days was taken and concluded;


            (f)         Further trial was fixed for 21 January and 10 February this year.  On 21 January, none of the witnesses were available.  It was later found upon inquiries being made that the summons had been sent for 10 February only and not 21 January, owing to a mistake on the part of the court staff.


4.         In paragraph 259, the Special Rapporteur observed that the appointment of the Chief Justice was being challenged before the Supreme Court and that hearing would be continued on 7  and 8 February 2000.  The Special Rapporteur has since been informed that in view of certain preliminary objections taken by the petitioners’ counsel, the Court has further adjourned hearing to 26 and 27 June 2000.





Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances


(E/CN.4/2000/64  - 21 December 1999)



Sri Lanka


84. The Working Group transmitted seven newly reported cases, two of which occurred in 1999. All the cases were sent under the urgent action procedure. During the same period, the Working Group clarified the two cases that reportedly occurred in 1999 on the basis of information submitted by the source according to which the persons concerned were released after 39 days of unacknowledged detention in the People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) camp at Kovilkulam Junction.


85. Five of the newly reported cases concerned displaced persons residing at the Veppankulam camp in Vavuniya district who were abducted by members of an armed Tamil group opposed to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, allegedly acting with the acquiescence of the security forces. Local investigations have so far given no indication as to their whereabouts.


86. At the invitation of the Government of Sri Lanka, a member of the Working Group, Mr. Manfred Nowak, and the Working Group's Acting Secretary visited Sri Lanka from 25 to 29 October 1999. The report on the visit is contained in addendum 1 to the present report.



Visit to Sri Lanka by a member of the Working Group

on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

(25-29 October 1999)


( Extracted from addendum - E/CN.4/2000/64/Add.1 - 21 December 1999)




1.         Since the establishment of the Working Group in 1980, 12,258 cases of disappearance alleged to have occurred in Sri Lanka have been reported to the Working Group.  The cases occurred in the context of two major sources of conflict in that country:  the confrontation of Tamil separatist militants and government forces in the north and north‑east of the country, and the confrontation between the People’s Liberation Front (JVP) and the government forces in the south.  The cases reported to have occurred between 1987 and 1990 (145 cases in 1987; 182 cases in 1988; 5,027 cases in 1989 and 4,777 in 1990) took place mostly in the Southern and Central Provinces of the country, during a period in which both security forces and the JVP resorted to the use of extreme violence in the contest for State power.  In July 1989, the conflict in the south took a particularly violent turn when JVP adopted even more radical tactics, including enforced work stoppages, intimidation and assassination, as well as targeting family members of the police and army.  To thwart the JVP military offensive, the State launched a generalized counter‑insurgency campaign and the armed forces and the police appear to have been given wide latitude to eliminate the rebel movement and restore law and order in any way they saw fit.  By the end of 1989, the armed forces had put down the revolt.


4.                  The first visit to Sri Lanka took place from 7 to 17 October 1991 and was carried out by three members of the Working Group, Mr. Agha Hilaly, Mr. Jonas Foli and Mr. Toine van Dongen.  Their report (E/CN.4/1992/18/Add.1) was presented to the Commission on Human Rights at its forty-eighth session.  The same members of the Working Group undertook a second visit from 5 to 15 October 1992 for the purpose, inter alia, of evaluating the progress of the implementation of its recommendations formulated in 1991.  Their report was submitted to the Commission at its fiftieth session (E/CN.4/1993/25/Add.1).


5.                  The purpose of its third visit was two fold:  to follow up on the recommendations made by the Working Group during its visits in 1991 and 1992 and to identify efforts taken to minimize and resolve the problem of enforced or involuntary disappearances, as well as to follow up on the latest developments.  The Working Group was represented by one of its members, Mr. Manfred Nowak, and by its Acting Secretary.  The visit took place from 25 to 29 October 1999.



A.  Establishment of a mechanism to clarify the fate and whereabouts of the missing persons (E/CN.4/1992/18/Add.1, para. 204 (k)  and E/CN.4/1993/25/Add.1, para. 133)


15.       The three regional Presidential Commissions of Inquiry into Involuntary Removal or Disappearance of Persons set up in November 1994 submitted their reports to the President of the Republic on 3 September 1997.  The Commissions investigated a total of 27,526 complaints and found evidence of disappearance in 16,742 cases.  A further 10,135 complaints submitted to the Commissions by relatives and witnesses remained to be investigated by the present (fourth) Presidential Commission of Inquiry.  They relate to 6,517 cases of disappearance and include complaints of disappearances alleged to have occurred in war zones like Wanni, Puliyankulam or the east of Ampakaman, which are of difficult access.  The Chairperson of the present Commission of Inquiry informed the Working Group that out of these 6,517 remaining cases of disappearance, the Commission only considers 4,052 cases to be “proven”.  Apart from only very few disappeared persons who were found alive, all of the more than 20,000 persons established by the four Commissions as disappeared are considered to be dead.  More than 15,000 death certificates have already been issued in accordance with temporary legislation (see below, para. 52)


17.       All four Commissions were authorized only to investigate cases of disappearances, which occurred under the former Government.  Although the rate of disappearances increased again significantly during 1995 and 1996, no Presidential Commission of Inquiry was established in relation to these cases.


21.       On 11 August 1998, the Commission submitted its first Annual Report, which covers the period from 17 March 1997 to 30 March 1998, to Parliament.  The report has, however, not yet been made available to the general public.  According to this report, the Commission has received a total of 4,350 complaints, has visited 1,240 police stations and 291 detention camps where it was in contact with a total of 3,444 detainees most of whom (3,325) were of Tamil ethnic origin.  It investigated 842 cases of missing persons and traced 219 of them.  In Vavuniya, out of 142 cases, 104 persons have been traced.  In Jaffna, 16 persons were traced out a total of 325 cases.  In Batticaloa 62 persons were traced out of a total of 204 cases and in Colombo, out of 76 cases, 16 persons were traced.  The Human Rights Commission could, however, not indicate whether any of the disappeared persons reported to the Government of Sri Lanka by the United Nations Working Group were among those traced by it.


22.       During the period between August 1998 and September 1999, the Human Rights Commission received 1,852 complaints against members of the armed forces and the police.  A total of 1,122 persons were reported missing during this period of whom the Human Rights Commission could actually trace 648, i.e. more than half.  In Vavuniya, 251 out of 497 missing persons were traced, in Batticaloa, 274 out of 285.  Again, the Working Group was not able to check whether any of the disappeared persons on its list were traced by the Human Rights Commission.


24.             Members of the Human Rights Commission also informed the Working Group that a total of 932 visits to police stations and 380 visits to detention camps had been carried out from January 1999 to September 1999; 2,315 detainees were visited, including 520 in Vavuniya, 476 in Jaffna, 462 in Anuradhapura and 202 in Batticaloa, of whom 2,179 were of Tamil ethnic origin.



C. Prosecution of those responsible for disappearances (E/CN.4 1992/18/Add.1, para. 204 (g))


34.       With respect to criminal action against perpetrators of enforced disappearances, the three Presidential Commissions of Inquiry mentioned above (paras. 7 and 15) played a crucial role.  They established evidence concerning 16,742 cases of disappearance and identified, in their final reports of September 1997, suspected perpetrators in relation to 3,861 cases of disappearance which had occurred under the former Government.  On the basis of this evidence the Inspector General of Police in December 1997 established a special Disappearance Investigation Unit.  In relation to the 3,861 cases of disappearance, police investigations against 1,560 suspected perpetrators members of the police and the armed forces were initiated.


36.       With respect to the disappearances which occurred during the present Government, the Board of Investigation into Disappearances in Jaffna Peninsula in its report of 9 March 1998 (see above, para. 19) identified 21 cases of disappearance where “evidence has revealed sufficient facts to justify further inquiries by the police with a view to pursuing legal action against offenders”.  In another 134 cases of disappearance the Board of Investigation found sufficient evidence of criminal acts but could not identify the alleged perpetrators.  It recommended further inquiries by the Service Commanders to identify the offenders.  According to information provided to the mission by the Secretary of Defence, the first indictments will be issued in a few weeks.


37.       In spite of these efforts to investigate cases of enforced disappearance and to bring the perpetrators to justice, family members of disappeared persons and representatives of non‑governmental organizations complained that many of the persons who were identified as suspected perpetrators by the three Presidential Commissions of Inquiry continued to serve in their posts or have even been promoted.  A person quite often named in this respect is the former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Premadasa Udugampola.


G.  Revision of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Emergency Regulations                               (E/CN.4/1992/18/Add.1, paras.204 (e) and E/CN.4/1993/25/Add.1,  para.146 (a))


50.       The Working Group recommended that the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regulations currently in force be brought into line with accepted international standards regarding due process of law and treatment of prisoners.  The mission was informed that the Government had not made any amendment to the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and that the review of the Emergency Regulations had been limited to the reduction to 21 days of the maximum period of detention in areas outside the north and east of the country, and to 60 days in the north and east.


51.        Non-governmental organizations continue to claim that PTA and the Emergency Regulations, above all regulation 17, are the main reason for the continuation of arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances.  They therefore call for the immediate abolition of these laws.




56.       With respect to disappearances which occurred during the late 1980s and early 1990s, in particular the JVP-related cases of 1989 and 1990 in the south of the country, almost 40,000 complaints have been investigated and more than 20,000 cases of enforced disappearances have been established by the four Presidential Commissions of Inquiry.  On the basis of special temporary legislation, more than 15,000 death certificates have been issued and compensation has been paid to more than 12,000 families of disappeared persons.  In almost 4,000 cases, suspected perpetrators were identified, criminal proceedings were instituted against some 500 members of the police and the armed forces, and some of the accused have been convicted and sentenced by the courts.  Others have been subjected to disciplinary sanctions.


59.             The Working Group also welcomes the recent establishment of a special Unit in the Rehabilitation of Persons, Properties and Industries Authority (REPPIA) with the specific task of establishing a database on disappearances in response to the cases transmitted by the Working Group to the Government of Sri Lanka and with the explicit aim of clarifying these cases on the basis of presumption of death, the payment of compensation to the families and other means of establishing the fate and whereabouts of disappeared persons.  This Unit claims that it has clarified 4,010 of the roughly 12,000 cases submitted by the Working Group (2,761 of which on the basis of death certificates) but the Working Group has not yet been in a position to examine this information on a case-by-case basis.


61.       Non-governmental organizations also rightly claim that the present Government has not done enough to investigate disappearances which occurred after it took office and to prevent disappearances in the future.  Whereas disappearances under the former Government were investigated by four independent Presidential Commissions of Inquiry whose findings were in principle made available to the public, the more recent cases were only investigated by a non‑independent and confidential Board within the Ministry of Defence.  The Human Rights Commission, which in principle could play an important role in investigating and preventing disappearances, seems to lack the necessary authority, political and financial support to carry out this task in an efficient manner.


62.       As far as prevention is concerned, many of the earlier recommendations of the Working Group have not been implemented.  First of all, the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regulations, which are rightly considered as the main reason for the continuation, albeit on a much less severe level, of enforced disappearances, have not been abolished or brought into line with internationally accepted standards of human rights.  Secondly, no central register of detainees was set up.  Thirdly, the safeguards for the prevention of arbitrary arrests, and in particular the legal obligation to immediately inform the Human Rights Commission of arrests and detentions, seem not to be widely known by the law enforcement bodies and are often disregarded in practice.


63.       In conclusion, the Working Group addresses the following recommendations to the Government of Sri Lanka:


            (a)       The Government should establish an independent body with the task of investigating all cases of disappearance which occurred since 1995 and identifying the perpetrators;


            (b)       The Government should speed up its efforts to bring the perpetrators of enforced disappearances, whether committed under the former or the present Government, to justice.  The Attorney-General or another independent authority should be empowered to investigate and indict suspected perpetrators of enforced disappearances irrespective of the outcome of investigations by the police;


            (d)       The Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regulations currently in force should be abolished or otherwise brought into line with internationally accepted standards of personal liberty, due process of law and humane treatment of prisoners;


            (e)       Any person deprived of liberty should be held only in an officially recognized place of detention as stipulated in article 10 (1) of the Declaration.  All unofficial places of detention, in particular those established by paramilitary organizations fighting alongside the Security Forces, such as PLOTE and TELO, should immediately be dissolved;



Sri lanka still has the 2nd highest

number of disappearances




(Extracted from Ref: CH/01/04 (CHR 56) - 7 April 2000)


2-         According to the Working group on disappearances, Sri Lanka has 12,258 disappearances and this is the second highest number compared to other countries.


3-         Sri Lanka was the ONLY country where the Working group on disappearances has visited THREE TIMES!


4-         When the working group on disappearances visited Sri Lanka in October last year, the representative of the working group ­ Mr. Manfred Nowak NEVER MET anyone working on the disappearances in the North-east of the Island. Annex I of Mr. Manfred Nowak (E/CN.4/20006/64/Add.1) programme itself proves this clearly. The North-East is the region where many disappearances have been reported recently.




5-                 The National Human Rights Commission in Sri Lanka is a Government-funded Commission and it has no mandate to function independently.




Extracted from the report of the Special Rapporteur  Mr. Abid Hussain


(E/CN.4/1999/64 - 29 January 1999)

Executive summary

An essential aspect of the mandate involves country visits.  From 20 to 26 September 1999, the Special Rapporteur undertook a mission to the Sudan.  He also visited Ireland from 18 to 22 October 1999 and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 24 to 29 October 1999.  Finally, the Special Rapporteur undertook a mission to Tunisia from 6 to 11 December 1999.  The Special Rapporteur also requested the Governments of Albania, Argentina, China, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Indonesia, Peru, the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam to invite him to visit their countries, but he regrets that invitations have not so far been received.


16.        Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur visited Geneva from 8 to 14 April 1999 for consultations and to present his report to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty‑fifth session. He discussed his intention to undertake field visits with the Permanent Representatives of the Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Egypt and Peru and with representatives of Cuba and the Russian Federation.


Sri Lanka


105. On 18 June 1998, the Special Rapporteur transmitted an urgent appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka on the case of Iqbal Athas, a journalist who was allegedly the target of an abduction attempt on 12 February 1998. The Special Rapporteur was informed that Iqbal Athas was being subjected to continued harassment which is believed to be related to his investigations into corruption in the top echelons of the security forces as well as in connection with some of the military actions undertaken in the ongoing conflict between the security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. In his communication, the Special Rapporteur welcomed President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga's order for the Criminal Investigation Department to conduct an investigation into this incident.


106. On 24 June 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka concerning Lasantha Wickrematunge, an editor and journalist of an independent weekly openly critical of the Government, who reportedly was the target of an armed attack. According to the information transmitted to the Special Rapporteur, Lasantha Wickrematunge had received anonymous telephone threats and was attacked by an unidentified number of individuals who opened fire from a van outside his house after he and his family had returned home on the night of 17 June 1998. It was also alleged that he had been the target of an assault three years ago and that his house had been watched by persons in unmarked vehicles. The Special Rapporteur welcomed the fact that Mangala Samaraweera, the Minister of Post, Telecommunications, and Media, had condemned that attack and called for a thorough police investigation into the later incident.


107. On 29 April 1998, the Special Rapporteur requested the Government of Sri Lanka to extend an invitation to him to carry out an official visit to the country in the course of 1998.


108. Despite an acknowledgement sent by the Government on 4 May 1998, no further reply has been provided to the Special Rapporteur, in particular with regard to the above-mentioned cases.





Extracted report of the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Asma Jahanhir,


(E/CN.4/2000/3/Add.1 - 2 February 2000)




Sri Lanka


402.      The Special Rapporteur transmitted one urgent appeal and nine communications to the Government concerning violations of the right to live of the following persons. 


Urgent appeal


403.      On 15 June the Special Rapporteur transmitted to the Government an urgent appeal after having been informed that former Sri Lankan army lance corporal Somaratne Rajapakse and his family had received death threats in the form of letters addressed to Mr. Rajapakse’s wife.  Mr. Rajapakse had been summoned by the magistrate in charge of forthcoming exhumations in the Chemmani area of Jaffna to indicate locations of alleged mass graves.  There were reportedly also concerns for the safety of four other members of the security services, currently held at Colombo prison, and their families after they reportedly corroborated Mr. Rajapakse’s evidence about the graves.  Mr. Rajapakse was reportedly being held in Bogambara prison, in Kandy, awaiting the outcome of an appeal against a death sentence imposed by the High Court in Colombo in July 1998.  The Court had found the five men guilty of the rape, abduction and murder of 18-year-old Krishanthy Kumarasamy and the murder of her mother, younger brother and neighbour in 1996.  During the trial Mr. Rajapakse reportedly told the Court that hundreds of other bodies had been buried at the same site as those of the above‑mentioned persons.  In view of these allegations, the Special Rapporteur appealed to the Government to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and integrity of the above mentioned persons.


Communications sent


404.    The Special Rapporteur transmitted to the Government communications on behalf of the following persons.


405.    Sathasivam Sanjeevan was arrested by the police at Paandiruppu, Amparai district, on 3 October 1998.  It was reported that when his relatives visited him at the Kalmunai police station on 14 and 15 October, they noted that he could not lift his arms and that he had difficulty swallowing.  On 16 October the police informed his relatives that he had been killed in an armed confrontation with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) while being taken to Amparai by the police.


406.    Santhini Thangarasa and her sister Bavani Thangarasa were reportedly killed on 21 November 1998 at the village of Murippu in Mullaitivu when their house was destroyed in an air strike allegedly carried out by Sri Lankan airforce bombers.  Two young boys, Muhunthan and Gegan, also died in the incident and five other persons were wounded.  


407.    Sevethi Joseph, Mohanraj Kavitha and Nagendran were killed on 23 November 1998 at Koddaikattiyakulam in Killinochchi in an air strike allegedly carried out by Sri Lankan airforce bombers.  Ten other civilians were also wounded in this incident and admitted to hospitals in Mallavi and Akkarayankulam. 


408.    Velupillai Sellathurai,Visuvalingam Yogarani, Yogachandran Mallikadevi, Kalanathan Thanusha, Rasalingam Suthas and Siva were reportedly killed on 2 December 1998 at the fishing village of Nallathanithoduva-Chundikulam inntheeeast of Vadamaradchi as a result of a bombing allegedly carried out by Sri Lankan airforce Kfir jets.  Several others were also reportedly wounded in this incident.


409.    Sambasivam Arudchelvan and Rasu Letchumi were killed on 13 November 1998 at Vanni as a result of a bombing allegedly carried out by Sri Lankan airforce Kfir jets.


410.    According to reports, Muhunthan Balchandran was killed on 21 November 1998 at the village of Murippu in Mullaitivu after an air strike allegedly carried out by Sri Lankan airforce Kfir bombers. 


411.    Gnaneswary Muthie was reportedly killed on 21 November 1998 at the village of Murippu in Mullaitivu after an air strike allegedly carried out by Sri Lankan airforce Kfir bombers.


412.    Arulselvan Ramalingam was reportedly killed on 14 November 1998 at Kokkavil after an air strike allegedly carried out by Sri Lankan airforce Kfir bombers.  He was on his way to Mallavi for business when he got caught in the reported air raid.


413.    Anura Sampath was allegedly taken to the Moratuwa police station on 30 December in order to make a statement.  His brother reportedly visited him the same day and Anura Sampath told him that he was being ill-treated by the police.  The following day, Anura Sampath allegedly had disappeared from the police station and the officer in charge later told Anura Sampath’s family that he was dead, providing them with accurate information about the whereabouts of Anura Sampath’s corpse which the family found in Kalubovilla hospital.




414.    The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government has not replied to her communications.




Extracted report of the Special Rapporteur, Sir Nigel S, Rodley,

(E/CN.4/2000/9 -
2 February 2000 )


Sri Lanka


Regular communications and replies received


929.      By letter dated 15 November 1999, the Special Rapporteur informed the Government that he continued to receive information on the practice of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, in particular in the context of the ongoing armed conflict between the security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). As in previous years, the Special Rapporteur has received information that persons arrested on suspicion of being members or sympathizers of the LTTE are reportedly tortured, in particular in the north and east of the country and in Colombo. There is a continuing use of unauthorized places of detention, especially in the Jaffna peninsula and Vavuniya, which is believed to be a factor facilitating torture. The People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) is reported to run such places of detention, where torture is allegedly routinely practised with the tacit approval of members of the army and the police, who are said to regularly visit those camps. Elements within the security forces are reportedly helping these paramilitary groups to protect the secrecy of their camps and the torture taking place there. Prisoners held there are allegedly beaten, administered electric shocks, have petrol poured on their back and lit, and are bitten by dogs on their private parts.


930.      Torture of common criminal suspects and people taken into custody in a non-political context is reportedly widely practised, in order to extract confessions from suspects in theft and other criminal cases. The Evidence Ordinance nevertheless contains strong provisions to prevent the extraction of confeesions under torture, since it makes them inadmissible in courts. The Supreme Court is said to have awarded compensation to people arrested on suspicion of petty crimes who were subsequently tortured by the police in several cases. It is alleged that members of the public often approach local police officers to intervene in their disputes with neighbours, business rivals, family members or tenants. Many persons arrested in that context are said to have been subsequently tortured.


931.       Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur has received information according to which corporal punishments continue to be imposed by courts, including on juveniles. Section 52 of the Penal Code reportedly lists whipping as a punishment to which offenders are liable under the Code. It is explicitly provided for as an additional punishment for theft of, among other things, vegetables and fruits. Section 29.1 of the Children and Young Persons Ordinance 1939 allows whipping to be imposed as a form of punishment by magistrate's courts on male children, as an additional punishment for certain offences. Cases have been reported.


932.      Finally, according to the information received, despite the long-term existence of legislation to punish torture, and the enactment of the Torture Act in 1995, this violation is reported to be still committed with impunity. No one has reportedly been convicted in relation to the crime of torture in Sri Lanka. Seven indictments are nevertheless said to be currently before the High Courts, arising from eight judgments by the Supreme Court during 1997 and 1998 where the Court had found police officers had been responsible for torture, had awarded compensation and had recommended further investigations. But it is reported that the Supreme Court has expressed its frustration at the lack of follow-up by the relevant authorities to the Supreme Court's recommendation for further investigations and appropriate action against members of the security forces involved in acts of torture.


933.       The Special Rapporteur transmitted to the Government information on the individual cases summarized below.


934.      Weerage Buddhika Weerasinghe was reportedly arrested on suspicion of robbery in May 1996 and allegedly tortured at Pannala police station by being suspended over a rice pounder and hit repeatedly with a hosepipe while being forced to confess. The police in their statements to the court are reported to have denied that he had been tortured. The Supreme Court reportedly awarded compensation to him in a judgment of 31 October 1997.


935.      Sinnarasa Anthonymala, a 17-year-old girl from Jaffna, was reportedly shot in the thigh by the Navy while travelling on a boat to India on 16 July 1995. Rescued by the Navy, she was reportedly taken to the Kankesanthurai navy camp, where she was allegedly stripped of her clothing and tortured by being struck on the head with an iron rod, for which she needed stitches. She was also allegedly handcuffed at the ankles and suspended upside down from a window bar, electric wires were applied on her body, and she was burnt with cigarettes and heated metal rods. On 28 August 1995, she was allegedly transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), where she was reportedly cut on the back of her neck, hit on the mouth and hit on her left leg with a piece of wood. After a month she was allegedly forced to sign seven statements typed in Sinhala. She was then reportedly transferred to the Welikada prison. After three months at the Welikada prison, a bullet was removed from her thigh by the prison hospital authorities. On 27 June 1997, she appeared in court. On her body the examining medical officer reportedly found a number of irregular marks and scars that corroborated all of her testimony of being tortured.


936.      Anura Sampath was reportedly taken on 30 December 1998 to the Moratuwa police station and beaten by police officers. The following day, his family was eventually informed by the officer-in-charge that he was dead. They reportedly found his body at the Kalubovilla Hospital. A post mortem inquiry reportedly found that he died from 24 internal injuries, probably caused by assault. The police reportedly stated, however, that he had died after allegedly jumping from the police jeep.


937.      Sathasivam Sanjeevan died in police custody allegedly as a result of torture. He was reportedly arrested during a police search operation on 13 October 1998 in Paandiruppu and detained at the Almunai police station, where he was allegedly tortured. On 17 October 1998, the family reportedly went to the Amparai police station and then to the Government Hospital where they were informed that their son had been killed in an armed confrontation with the LTTE when he was being transferred to the Amparai station. A deep cut along his chest had reportedly been stitched up, his tongue severed and stitched together, and there were injuries on his head and hip. A second post-mortem inquiry ordered by the local magistrate confirmed signs of injuries by blunt weapons inflicted before the shooting. The second magisterial inquiry was still continuing.


941.      T. Ranjani was allegedly arrested on 26 November 1997 in Colombo and tortured by police officers at the Cinnamon Gardens police station. She was reportedly examined by the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) who found that she had seven injuries and that they were consistent with her allegation that she was hit with a PVC pipe and with sticks.


942.      Muthuthamby Vanitha was reportedly arrested on 19 November 1998 by the Kotahena police in Colombo. She allegedly attempted to seek asylum in France, from where she was deported back to Sri Lanka in early October and detained for one week, during which she was allegedly beaten with iron pipes on her stomach and not allowed to use the bathroom. She was examined by a JMO who is said to have found evidence of torture. She is currently at the Welikade women's prison, where she is reportedly receiving medical treatment but is still allegedly suffering from the aftereffects of torture.


943.      Periyathamby Subramaniam was reportedly taken into custody on 8 June 1997, by the "Razeek Group", a group which is described as being affiliated to the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front. He was allegedly burnt, beaten with a wooden rod, burnt on his penis with a cigarette butt, nearly suffocated with a bag containing chilli powder and petrol, pricked with pins on his body, and stabbed with a knife on his shoulder. He was reportedly transferred to Patpodi army camp where melted polythene wax was allegedly poured over his legs and one of his finger nails was removed with pliers. He was also reportedly tortured in the Counter Subversive Unit of the police in Batticaloa.


944.      Thirty-five young men and women were reportedly taken into custody during a round-up by the army from Manipay on 2 January 1997. They were allegedly detained at the Thavady camp, where they were interrogated about their identity. On the third day of their detention, three soldiers were reportedly killed in an ambush by the LTTE. The soldiers at the camp allegedly started beating the detainees with poles, cricket bats and electric wire. Plastic bags filled with gasoline and ants were allegedly placed over the detainees' heads. On the fourth day of their detention, they were reportedly transferred to Manipay army camp where some complained to the commanding officer about the torture. Later that night, soldiers allegedly came to beat them. Male detainees were allegedly hung upside down by their toes and made to inhale chilli fumes that were being burned under the ropes. They were also allegedly beaten with PVC pipes and wire, and were subjected to electric shocks. Nails are said to have been driven into their hands and feet.


945.      Kanapathipillai Sasikumar was reportedly arrested on 3 April 1997, and detained at a tower behind the Indian High Commission, which is said to be a "safe house" used by members of the army. He was allegedly stripped naked, had a bag with gasoline and chili powder pulled over his head and tied to his neck, and was tied to a chair. He was reportedly beaten all over his body with broken legs of tables and chairs and with PVC pipes filled with concrete. His hands were allegedly tied behind his back and he was suspended from a ceiling fan by a nylon thread attached to his thumbs. He was allegedly administered electric shocks. On 5 April, he was reportedly handed over to the Crime Detection Bureau. A doctor at Nagoda government hospital recommended surgery to his penis, but up to October 1998, the authorities at Kalutara prison, where he is detained, are believed to have not acted accordingly.


946.      Bathatha Jayatunga Gamage Malsha Kumari, a 14-year-old girl, was reportedly tortured by police at Hungama in September 1995. She was allegedly hung by her wrists from a tree in an effort to make her confess to theft. While she was in this position, she was reportedly beaten with rubber hoses and sticks on her heels and all over her body by four police men.


949.      Velusamy Baskaran, Neelian Yogesan, Vadivel Kanagaratnam and Somasundaram Shanmugarajah, four members of the Tamil Traders Association at Nuwara Eliya, were reportedly arrested in mid-November 1998 and tortured during their detention. They were reportedly transferred from the police station to the Counter Subversive Unit office where they were severely beaten.


950.      Michaelpillai Robert Wellington died allegedly as a result of torture while in army custody at Point Pedro army camp. He was reportedly arrested on 20 July 1998 and beaten. He was allegedly dragged by five soldiers to the army camp and by the next morning was dead. His body is said to have showed marks of severe beatings and knife marks across his entire body, and his hands were broken. His body had six gunshot wounds, allegedly inflicted after his death.


951.      Vythilingam Thiruchelvam was reportedly arrested on 31 October 1997 by members of the armed forces at Sudalaiady junction. His hands were allegedly tied up with a rope and he was taken to Uruthirapuram, where he was forced to jump into a latrine. He is said to have received gunshots while in the latrine. A friend of his, Shanmugasuntharam, was allegedly shot dead. The latrine was reportedly then closed. After two days in the latrine, Vythilingam Thiruchelvam was reportedly able to escape.


952.      Kanthasamy Kalanithy, a Tamil woman, was reportedly arrested on 25 June 1998 by the army chief of the Mirusuvil army camp, who is said to have wanted to force her to marry one of the Sinhalese soldiers. She allegedly had to stand in front of 10 soldiers, but refused to choose one. She was allegedly gang-raped and then killed. The soldiers refused to hand over her body for examination and they have allegedly attempted to threaten her parents into silence.


953.      Vallipuram Suganthi, a 15-year-old Tamil woman, was reportedly arrested on 10 July 1997 by 12 police officers and taken to Wellawatte police station where it is reported that she was severely beaten. She was also allegedly threatened with rape if she did not sign a statement about her involvement with the LTTE, which she eventually did. On 25 July 1997, she was reportedly transferred to the Crime Division Bureau, where she was allegedly beaten with a wooden stick on the head three times and was then threatened with being killed. After her release, she is reported to have undergone medical treatment at the Family Rehabilitation Centre of Colombo.


954.      Thambirajah Kamalathasan was one of 192 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who were reportedly arrested on 15 July 1998 and held in detention for several weeks after they were returned to Sri Lanka from Senegal. He was allegedly tortured for several days at the Pettah police station. He was allegedly hit with a rod, had chilli powder rubbed into his eyes, and his genitals were squeezed. He was reportedly transferred to the Terrorist Investigation Department on 21 July 1998, and was reportedly held on the 6th floor.


956.      Kanapathipillai Navaratam was allegedly detained and tortured with her husband. They were reportedly arrested on 9 August 1997, when they were fishing in the Thalayady Sea. They were allegedly beaten with batons and electric wires. They were then reportedly transferred to the Navy camp at Trincomalee, where they were beaten by at least 10 Navy personnel. When they became unconscious due to the beatings they were reportedly given to the police. They were then reportedly interrogated for 17 days at police headquarters. They were allegedly hung upside down and beaten with batons, had salt water poured on them and were sprayed with chilli fumes over their wounds. They were reportedly then transferred to Poose detention camp and kept there for 10 months, during which time they were allegedly tortured continuously. After appearing in court, they were released under a general amnesty 21 days later from the Kagasean detention camp.


958.      Veeraputhiran-Thevy fled to Paranthan when the Sri Lankan forces reportedly entered the Vadamaradchy area, and then to Mallavi. While en route from Vavunia, she was reportedly beaten by women police on 24 September 1998. She was allegedly hit on the hip, thigh and cheek with iron bars.


959.      Krishanthy Kumarasamy, a Tamil, was allegedly raped by army and military officials at a checkpoint in Chemmani. Her mother Rasamma, her 16-year-old brother, Piranapan, and her neighbour, Kirupaharan Sithamparam, went to the Kaithady armycheck post that afternoon, asking for information on her. The soldiers allegedly denied any knowledge of her. When the mother refused to leave without her daughter the three of them were placed in army custody and on that night, they were allegedly strangled to death with rope. They were reportedly all buried in a shallow grave. On 24 October 1996, their decomposed bodies were allegedly brought to Colombo by plane. Her family allegedly received death threats several times from the Sri Lankan armed forces. Somaratne Rajapakse, one of the six members of the security forces who were found guilty of the rape, abduction and murder of the above-mentioned persons and were reportedly sentenced to death in July 1998 by the Colombo High Court, is said to have been assaulted by Welikade Prison guards on 23 August 1998. He reportedly sustained injuries to his mouth, below his left eye and his chest. He was subsequently visited at the hospital by one of the attackers, who is reported to have threatened him not to talk about the incident. During the trial, he reportedly revealed to the court that 300 to 400 other bodies were also buried at Chemmani, Jaffna district, where the body of Krishanthy Kumarasamy had been discovered. The attack on Somaratne Rajapakse is believed to have resulted from his refusal to sign a written statement, allegedly on the order of a Minister, to the effect that he had been emotionally disturbed at the time he made the statement to the High Court about the mass graves and that it had been untrue.


960.      S. Selvarani, a deaf and dumb girl, was reportedly raped on 16 March 1998. She was allegedly riding her bicycle to visit a friend when she was stopped at the Meesalal checkpoint in Chavakachcheri. She was reportedly bound and gagged and then gang raped by several Sinhala soldiers. When she returned home she attempted to kill herself by dousing herself in kerosene and setting herself on fire. The authorities are said not to have taken any action regarding this case.


961.      Ehamparam Damayanthi, a 15-year-old girl, was allegedly tortured and sexually assaulted by soldiers at the Patpodi army camp in February 1997. She was allegedly kicked, hit with clubs, had gasoline poured over her face, and was submerged in water. Soldiers also reportedly pinched her buttocks, touched her breasts and asked indecent questions. On 15 January 1998, the Supreme Court awarded the maximum amount in compensation for a 15-year-old girl. The court allegedly noted that the charges of torture were not denied by the soldiers.


962.      Selvaratnam Ravinsagar was reportedly arrested in Trincomalee on 1 February 1997 by the police. He was reportedly interrogated about a girl who was accused of being a member of the LTTE. He was allegedly handcuffed and beaten by three policemen on the soles of his feet with a wooden bar and a PVC pipe. He was also allegedly hit under his chin with a hard shoe heel and a petrol-filled bag was allegedly put over his head. He was reportedly constantly interrogated about the above-mentioned girl, but he denied knowing her. He is reported to have eventually admitted knowing that this girl was part of the LTTE. After one week he was reportedly interrogated by a sub-inspector of the Crime Detection Bureau (CDB) in Colombo, where he was asked to sign a new statement. He allegedly refused and was beaten again with a wooden bar by the sub-inspector and two sergeants. He was held in the CDB cells for one month, during which time he was handcuffed in such a way that he was unable to lie down. He was then reportedly held in a cell for four months and a half.


963.      Kandasamy Sri Ram was allegedly tortured by police at Mirihana police station after his arrest on 25 August 1999. He was reportedly given bail on 15 September. Police officers reportedly burnt his body with cigarette butts and he was electrocuted. Pins are said to have been driven into his nails and an iron rod was inserted into his anus. He has made complaints to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the Committee to Inquire into Undue Harassment and Arrest. The results of their investigations are not yet known. He is currently receiving medical treatment for physical and psychological trauma.


964.      Selvarajah Thenuka, a 10-year-old Tamil girl, from the village of Pathameny, was allegedly gang raped by soldiers at Atchuvely, on 11 November 1996. She was reportedly brought to the Puttur V C army camp where she was allegedly raped.


965.      Srilal Priyantha, a journalist working for the Lakbima, an independent Sinhala-language newspaper, was reportedly arrested on 14 May 1999. He was reportedly accused of the murder of five individuals in the southern uprising of 1989 and 1990 and of having concealed his identity. He reportedly had in fact written articles which exposed the corruption and abuse of power of the security forces. After his arrest, he was reportedly tortured by members of the CID. During his interrogation he was allegedly stripped naked and severely assaulted by police officers. On 14 June 1999, he was reportedly admitted to the Colombo National Hospital to be treated for injuries allegedly sustained during his detention.


968.      Luis Rama was reportedly detained on 20 July 1995 by the Sri Lankan Navy for two months. She was then allegedly transferred to the Magazine Prison where she was reportedly suspended by the ankles, cut with blades, burnt with cigarettes and had a bag put over her head. She reportedly had linear scars over her chest and legs, ranging from two to seven inches in length. She reportedly had multiple cigarette burn marks on her left breast, knee, back, and elbow. She was reportedly examined by the office of the JMO in Colombo on 17 May 1997.


969.      Sivalingam Kajenthiran, a deaf and dumb man, was reportedly tortured and killed by soldiers. He was allegedly arrested by Sri Lankan soldiers out of suspicion that he was a LTTE spy.


970.      Rasanayakam Uthayakumar was reportedly arrested by the Sri Lankan army at Nayanmarkaddu, on 23 October 1998. He was reportedly interrogated at the Gnanams hotel army camp in Jaffna town. On 27 October 1998, his wife was told that her husband was already dead when his body was brought to the Jaffna hospital by the army. The body reportedly showed signs of abuse, including marks on his left foot and right hand, which indicated that he had been tied in chains.


971.      Sivam Ashokumar was reportedly arrested by the PLOTE on 24 January 1999, while he was working along the roadside, and was driven away in a minibus. He was reportedly brought to Vairapuliyankulam PLOTE camp on 24 January 1999, and transferred that day to Kovikulam PLOTE camp. He was reportedly chained for 26 days and beaten on the chest, legs and hands with a pole and electric wire. He was reportedly released on 4 March 1999.


973.      Chandramalige Bernard Joseph Silva reportedly died at Kandana police station on 22 February 1999. He had reportedly been arrested on 22 February by officers of this police station and his dead body was reportedly handed over to the Ragama hospital by these officers on the following morning. His family was informed by the police that he had died of a heart attack and that he had been taken to the hospital. The Deputy Inspector General of the area was asked to undertake a proper inquiry into the case. The preliminary report of the post-mortem examination submitted by the JMO of Colombo North Hospital reportedly concluded that the deceased had sustained injuries due to repetitive, systematic and selective blows from blunt weapons.


Urgent appeals and replies received


974.      On 8 March 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairman of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances on behalf of Silvam Ashokumar who had reportedly been arrested from his home in Vavuniya on 24 January 1999 by members of the PLOTE, and of Arumugam Pakkiri, alias Ieya, who had reportedly been arrested on 7 February 1999 by members of the PLOTE. Both were said to be have been arrested on suspicion of being LTTE members. They were reportedly held in incommunicado detention in an unknown place.


(Note:  Due to limited space, we could not reproduce the Special rapporteur’s report on Sri Lanka, which extended to eight and a half pages, in full. Please refer to UN publication for further cases of torture. TCHR)




Report of the Committee against Torture General Assembly

Extracted from report of the Committee against Torture

(A/53/44 - 16/09/98 -  General Assembly Official Records Fifty-third session)

P. Sri Lanka

4. Subjects of concern

249. The Committee is gravely concerned by information on serious violations of the Convention, particularly regarding torture linked with disappearances.

250. The Committee regrets that there were few, if any, prosecutions or disciplinary proceedings despite continuous Supreme Court warnings and awards of damages to torture victims.

251. The Committee notes the absence, until recently, of independent and effective investigation of scores of allegations of disappearances linked with torture.

252. The Committee noted that, while the Convention against Torture Act 22/94 covers most of the provisions of the Convention, there were certain significant omissions.

253. The question of the admissibility under the emergency regulation of confessions is also a matter of concern, as well as the absence of strict legislation governing detention consistent with international norms.

5. Recommendations

254. The Committee urges the State party to review Convention against Torture Act 22/94 and other relevant laws in order to ensure complete compliance with the Convention, in particular in respect of: (a) the definition of torture; (b) acts that amount to torture; and (c) extradition, return and expulsion.

255. The Committee furthermore recommends that the State party:

(a)   Review the emergency regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act as well as rules of practice pertaining to detention to ensure that they conform with the provisions of the Convention;

(b)   Ensure that all allegations of torture - past, present and future - are promptly, independently and effectively investigated and the recommendations implemented without any delay;

(c)   While continuing to remedy, through compensation, the consequences of torture, give due importance to prompt criminal prosecutions and disciplinary proceedings against culprits;

(d)   Take the necessary measures to ensure that justice is not delayed, especially in the cases of trials of people accused of torture;

(e)   Strengthen the Human Rights Commission and other mechanisms dealing with torture prevention and investigation and provide them with all the means that are necessary to ensure their impartiality and effectiveness.

256. The Committee urges the State party to declare in favour of articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.

257. The Committee would be remiss if it did not acknowledge that the Sri Lankan delegation made every effort to make the dialogue with the Committee fruitful, so that the State party might be helped to put an end to violations of the Convention.


(Sri Lanka - initial report- CAT/C/28/Add.3)




Report submitted by Special Rapporteur Mr. Abdelfattah Amor



(E/CN.4/2000/65 - 15 February 2000)

Sri Lanka


95.       Two Seventh Day Adventists, including a pastor and pastor’s son, were reportedly arrested in 1998 and are said to have been detained since then on the basis of apparently unjustified suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities.  The Special Rapporteur would like to receive the views and comments of the Government of Sri Lanka as soon as possible.




(Press Release 14/03/2000)


The Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Radhika Coomaraswamy, says she is dismayed that the incidence of gang rape and murder of women and girls by Sri Lankan soldiers is continuing unabated in Sri Lanka.  In a letter dated 13 March 2000, the Special Rapporteur expressed her grave concern over the lack of serious investigation of allegations of gang rape and murder of women and girls. She focused on three individual cases which had been brought to her attention:

Sarathambal Saravanbavananthakurukal, aged 29, was reportedly gang-raped and then killed by Sri Lankan navy soldiers on 28 December 1999 in Pungudutivu, near Jaffna Peninsula. Despite an order by the President to immediately investigate the events, it is reported that 'very little is being done to pursue the matter'.

Ida Caremelitta was allegedly gang-raped by five soldiers and then killed during the night of 12 July 1999 in Pallimunai village on Mannar Island. Five masked and heavily armed men reportedly entered the house where she and her family were sleeping, took Ms. Caremelitta outside and violently raped and then killed her. The post mortem report indicates that Ms. Caremelitta had been repeatedly raped and that her body had been sexually mutilated.

On 6 October 1998, Ms. Pushpamalar, aged 12, was allegedly detained while returning from school and raped by a soldier in Sangathaanai, Chavakachcheri, east of Jaffna.

In her letter, the Special Rapporteur also expressed concern about political violence in the south of the country affecting women in particular. She cited the case of Anoja Weerasinghe, an actress whose house was attacked on 24 December 1999 and 2 January 2000 reportedly because of her political activities, including speaking in support of the United National Party and picketing peacefully in Veyangoda on 17 November 1999 to protest attacks against actors and actresses.

The Special Rapporteur expressed the hope that every effort will be made to prevent further violations through the investigation of the alleged incidents and the prosecution of alleged perpetrators in a manner consistent with international human rights standards.






Extracted from the report of the Special Rapporteur

on the independence of judges and lawyers

(E/CN.4/2000/61  - 21 February 2000 )


Sri Lanka


Communication to the Government


247.    On 9 December 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a letter to the Government concerning the case of Kumar Ponnambalam, a well‑known defence lawyer and General Secretary of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress.  It was reported that there had been a widespread and well‑publicized call by Sri Lankan newspapers that Mr. Ponnambalam should be taken into custody and charged with criminal defamation of the President and with supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  The source claimed that the calls for his arrest were based upon his work as a criminal defence lawyer and for speeches or statements he had made before various international bodies concerning the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.  Fears were expressed that Mr. Ponnambalam would be arrested upon his return to Colombo on 25 December.


Communications from the Government


253.         On 26 January 1999, the Government sent a letter to the Special Rapporteur in reply to his letter of 9 December 1998.  The Government informed the Special Rapporteur, inter alia, that Mr. Ponnambalam had reportedly made a public statement on national television that he was a supporter of a well‑known terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  The LTTE is banned in Sri Lanka.  In view of the statement, the law enforcement authorities were obliged to carry out investigations as to the nature of Mr. Ponnambalam’s support.  There was no prior decision to arrest Mr.Ponnambalam.  Action would be taken to conduct an inquiry to ascertain the facts and if any wrongdoing is discovered appropriate legal proceedings would be instituted.  Like any other citizen of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ponnambalam can challenge these legal proceedings, if and when they are instituted, in the courts, in particular in the Supreme Court, which has jurisdiction over fundamental rights in accordance with the Constitution of the country and the International Covenants on Human Rights.




257.      The Special Rapporteur notes with great concern the assassination of Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam on 5 January 2000.  The Special Rapporteur sent a communication to the Government in regard to this assassination.


Assassins of Kumar Ponnambalam

Protected by pro-government politician


Kumar assassins protected by politician

(“Lakbima”  8 March 2000)


According to the latest information in the grape vine, ACTC leader Kumar Ponnambalam was assassinated by hired assassins of the under world on the orders of a strong politician. Two people suspected of carrying out the killing “Army Ranjit” and “Saman” alias Kamalsiri from Moratuwa, are heard to be in hiding these days in the house in Kandy owned by the son of the above politician.


This politician’s son was introduced to these two killers by a police constable, through him the deal had been made. A motor cycle and a Pajero with darkened windows have been used during the shoot out which also have been used by the assassins to get away. A fax claiming the responsibility for this killing sent by an organisation called “National Movement against Tigers”  was received by the writer of this article which was written at 2.30 am on the 6th of January and faxed at 4.30 am and signed by one Wijaya Ranabahu. This fax, probably sent by the attention somewhere else, but nevertheless the govt was more or less blamed for the killing.


Interviews of Chief Investigator to news papers in Sri Lanka


Senior Superintendent of Police Bandula Wickramasinghe - Director, Crime Detection Bureau (CDB) -  is the chief Police investigator of the assassination of Kumar Ponnambalam.  He has given a few interviews to news papers in Colombo regarding the assassination.


Extracted from “The Sunday Leader” of  March 19, 2000


Q: What progress have you made in the Kumar Ponnambalm murder case?


A: We have progressed very well. We have identified the real person. But we will not come out with the full story now. But I told Mrs. Ponnambalam that with my 33 years of experience and a feather in my cap, I will definitely solve this issue. I traced two witnesses with greatest difficulty. They refused to come forward. I had to go and beg from them to come forward and help us in this regard. Then only they made the statement and gave us a the artistic impression as well. And following this I have now identified who the person is. I won’t commit my self now by revealing further information. But I am 100 per cent sure that this case will end up successfully. Even the witnesses at home identified the person.


Q: But the family members have said you are investigating this murder case with a pre-conceived notion that the government has had no hand in it. Why is this?


A: All I can say is this. I don’t have divine powers. Let me further investigate into this and prove to everybody who has done it. That is all. In the field of crime I have lot experience. And using my experience I will do it. It will be another feather in my cap, if I prove this very soon.


Q: It has also been alleged that you had forced two domestic aides in Ponnambalam’s house to identify a Tamil suspect from Batticaloa. Is this correct?


A: No. Not correct. Why I should I force? Can you fool the country? Can you fool the people?


Q: It is believed that underworld figures connected to the government were responsible for the murder. What do you say?


A: There is no truth is it at all. Underworld has no such weapons to carry out such a cold murder. Even the police do not have such weapons. Of course the army has. The underworld may have T-56 and revolvers. That is all. Or they may have grenades. They don’t have any other weapons.


Extracted from “The Weekend Express” of May 6-7, 2000


Q: Did you make any break through in the Kumar Ponnambalam assassination case?


A: I told Mrs. Ponnambalam that I am not a racist. Anybody who committed the murder would be brought to book. I have made very good success in this case but I cannot tell to which community he belonged. We have got a very good clue and already traced and photographs have been identified by the two domestic servants of the late Mr. Ponnambalam. I think we will announce it when we have 100 per cent confirmation.


Kumar’s Assassin refused for Identification

(“Ravaya” of May 25, 2000)


A request made by the wife of assassinated ACTC leader Kumar Ponnambalam from CID Director Bandula Wickramasinghe to arrange for an identification parade of “Moratuwa Saman” suspected to be the person calling over at Kumar’s residence on the day he was killed and in police custody now, was turned by the latter on the grounds that it has been established that the LTTE did the killing and there is no need for such an identification.


Many leading newspapers alleged that it was this “Saman”, who is wanted by the police for many murders and robberies that actually killed Kumar Ponnambalam.            


Kumar Ponnambalam’s killers traced

(Government owned “Daily News” June 15, 2000)


The Colombo Detective Bureau (CDB) probing the killing of All Ceylon Tamil Congress leader Kumar Ponnambalam yesterday told the Daily News that they have identified the two underworld characters alleged to have killed Mr. Ponnambalam at Ramakrishna Road, Wellawatta on January 5.


Director CDB Senior SP Badula Wickremasinghe who is conducting investigations on the direction of Colombo DIG Bodhi Liyanage revealed that a Police Constable had telephoned the CDB headquarters and informed them that he was responsible for giving the contract to Morotuwa Saman and Sujeewa to kill Mr. Ponnambalam.


He has told the police that he knew Mr. Ponnambalam for a couple of months and had associated with him closely under the name of Shantha. On the day of the incident he requested Mr. Ponnambalam to come with him to go to Ramakrishna Road for a private errand.


While entering the Ramakrishna Road, he had requested Kumar to stop the vehicle and got off the car. As arranged earlier, the underworld characters had gunned down Mr. Ponnambalam. Later all three of them got into a three wheeler and escaped. He had told Mr. Wickremasinghe that he would soon surrender to the CDB. But Mr. Wickremasinghe said he had deployed a special police team to arrest the suspect.



(Extracted from “The Sunday Times” of June 18, 2000)


Police probing the assassination of ACTC leader Kumar Ponnambalam in early January are looking into a possible political connection, investigators said yesterday. The political link to the murder is being probed after it was confirmed that a reserve police constable had ordered the contract hit using underworld operatives.


Police have begun a massive hunt for the constable after his name emerged following the arrest of two underworld hit-men who are alleged to have planned the killing and later fired the fatal bullets at Mr. Ponnambalam. The two underworld operatives identified as Moratuwa Saman and Sujeewa were wanted by police in connection with series of criminal activities, largely robberies, extortion and intimidation of certain political elements.


They have repeatedly told investigators that the hit on Mr. Ponnambalam was carried out purely for patriotic reasons and that there was nothing else to it. The police however, will investigate further. There are also reports that the son of a VIP is alleged to have attempted to use some kind of friendly persuasion seeking the release of ‘Moratuwa Saman’ according to sources.


Mr. Ponnambalam’s widow had earlier requested the CDB to conduct a parade to identify the suspects, but the CDB turned it down on the grounds that Moratuwa Saman had been taken in for other cases. However, in a sudden change, the CDB has now identified the Moratuwa Saman as the suspect involved in the killing of Mr. Ponnambalam.


Kumar’s killers in seven murders

(Extracted from “The Weekend Express” of June 17-18, 2000)


Suspected assassins of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) Leader, Kumar Ponnambalam, were arrested this week through a tip-off given to the Kesalwatte Police Station, senior police source said yesterday.


Latest police investigations reveal that the killers, Sujeewan and Moratuwa Saman were told to come to the alleged place where the late Mr. Ponnambalam was last seen, by reserve policeman Sugath Ranasinghe alias Shantha, who was a close friend of Sujeewa and Moratuwa Saman and of the late ACTC leader. However, police said that Shantha had left the police during the conspiracy to kill Mr. Ponnambalam.


Are politicians involved in Kumar Ponnambalam assassination kept hidden?(“RAVAYA” of Sunday June 18, 2000)

CID Director Bandula Wickramasinghe told media last 15th that a reserve Police Constable has confessed to planning the assassination of ACTC leader Kumar Ponnambalam and that he hired two killers Moratuwa Saman and Sujeewa, who are now in police custody, to do the job. Adding that these two assassins have also confessed he stated that the two pistols used for the killing have been discovered. "Ravaya" of the 23rd of April published in its lead "Ponnambalam assassination suspect arrested: Investigations suppressed" that Moratuwa Saman actually killed Kumar and the assassination was planned by a Police constable, who is in possession of Kumar's'' cellular phone. It also added that these two belonged to a killer gang functioning with the govt protection. When Mrs. Ponnambalam contacted the CID director requesting an identification parade to identify the suspect, it was politely turned down saying the suspect is not assassin of her husband but Kumar was killed by the LTTE. Now he has admitted these facts himself.

However in order to divert the attention from the investigation he goes on to add that the killing was done on the insistence of the Police constable. "Moratuwa Saman" is a well-known criminal who was wanted in connection with 15 murders and a string of armed robberies. Though the police knew his whereabouts, he was arrested quite accidentally while they were deliberately trying to evade his arrest on the orders of a deputy minister. It was beddagane Sanjiwa from the Presidential Security Division, who actually coordinated between these criminals and gave them these contracts. In addition to Kumar's killing, this gang is involved in killing "Satana" editor Rohana Kumara and the attack on singer duo Rukantha and Chandralekha. This gang as a habit walks away with the cellular phones of their victims. They took away Rukantha's cellular phone. It was known that the "Lakbima" cameraman's phone was also taken by this gang when they attacked media men on 15 July. This was later given to a third party by a PSD officer. However, police investigations in to this too have been abandoned by now. As "Ravaya" has revealed, the police knows that a person who knows everything about Journalist Rohana Kumar's assassination is in Jail but no attempts have been made to investigate it.

Witnesses asked to demand the suspects to open their mouths !

On 3rd July 2000 an Identification Parade was held in the courts in Colombo to identify one of the suspects in the assassination of Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam. The witnesses were forced by Mr Bandula Wickramasinghe - Senior Superintendent of Police, to demand that the suspects lined up in the parade open their mouths to expose their teeth!


Mr. Bandula Wickramasinghe instructed the witness to identify the man with the unusual teeth as the real suspect! Since, in fact, the witnesses did not see the man called Shantha whom they had seen at Mr Ponnambalam’s residence, and for whose identification the ID Parade was organised, they could not identify anyone. The incident has been well publicised in the Colombo media, and proves that Mr. Wickeramasinghe - SSP is misleading the witnesses and manipulating the investigation into Mr Ponnambalam’s assassination. (TCHR).





Shrine in disrepair and sanctity defiled

4 March 2000 - The group of Tamil devotees from the Sri Lanka's capital who went to observe the Saivite festival of Maha Sivarathiri at the ancient Shiva temple at Thiruketheesawaram occupied by the Sri Lankan army  returned to Colombo with reports that the shrine was in disrepair and its sanctity had been defiled.

The tempe is in the Mannar main land on the north-western coast of the island. The government promised to withdraw troops from the precincts of the temple following protests by Tamils locally and internationally. A former UN consultant threatened to fast unto death if troops were not withdrawn from the temple.


The devotees who visited the temple said that most parts of the shrine except its sanctum sanctorum had been desecrated and that the temple was in state of disrepair. The Army took only a stipulated number of devotees in buses on Maha Sivarathiri day to Thiruketheeswaram temple. The windows of these buses were shut and were completely covered with paper. Devotees from Mannar were allowed to go to Thiruketheeswaram only after being finger printed and voided by the Army.

The Mannar devotees were then issued special identity cards and travel passes by the army before they were taken in the covered buses to the temple to observe the Maha Sivarathiri vigil and bathe in the Palaavi river the morning after.

The temple drew thousands of Tamil pilgrims from all over the island during this time of the year before the army moved into its precincts in 1990.


Temples, schools in Batticaloa ordered to closed

22 March 2000 - The Sri Lanka Air Force ordered that a school and a temple in Batticaloa be closed immediately as they are within the land allocated for the future expansion of its base near the eastern town.

Air Force officials in Batticaloa summoned trustee board members of the Sri Sithivinayagar temple and the authorities Sri Vigneswara Vidyalayam, the affected school, to a conference at the Airbase and ordered them to close down both institutions forthwith.

As the orders had been quite strict the management of the temple vacated the precincts before noon according to a trustee board member. Air Force officials warned that no one would be allowed to enter the temple. The temple and Sri Vigneswara Vidyalam (school) serves the villages of Puthunagar, Veechukalmunai, Sethukudha, Thimilaitheivu and Vavunathievu.


Jaffna University boycotted lectures

7 April 2000 - Jaffna University Students were boycotting lectures demanding army authorities to permit civilians held up in the war zone to leave the area.

The Students Union said about 3,500 civilians are being held by the government troops as human shields in the villages of Pallai, Pachchilaipalli, Maasar, Soranpattu and Sinnathalayadi area and are barred from communicating with relatives. The students demand that immediate steps should be taken to allow these civilians to proceed to safer areas.


School shifted due to Navy attacks

29 April 2000-  According to the Department of Education officials in Mutur, the Government Tamil Mixed School (GTMS) in Ilankanthai has been shifted to a safer location in the interior for fear of attacks by Sri Lanka Naval gunboats. The classes for the children were conducted under trees following the Navy attack as there are no buildings in the interior for running the school. Several huts and a school were damaged in the shelling.

The school building was amaged on two occsions in past when the village was bombarded by Navy gunboats. The civilians in villages of Soodaikudah and Ilakanthai say that the Navy gun boats generally fire indiscriminately on the coast from a safe distance at sea.


World Bank urges to exert pressure on the Ministry of Education

29 June 2000 ­ The World Bank team visiting Sri Lanka told a delegation of the Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union -CTTU that the money allocated by World Bank for the construction of quarters for teachers serving in the war-torn areas in the Northeast province had not been utilized by the authorities.

The World Bank had allocated this money to the Sri Lankan Government to provide quarters to teachers as an incentive for them to serve in war-torn areas. Not a single cent has been utilized for this purpose, the visiting World Bank team told the CTTU delegation. CTTU has complained that the Northeast Ministry of Education had not implemented a scheme to pay incentive allowance to teachers who serve in difficult areas.

The World Bank team requested the CTTU delegation to exert pressure on the Northeast Ministry of Education to construct quarters for teachers serving in war-torn areas. This World Bank team was in Sri Lanka assessing the progress made in the implementation of the new education reforms, funded by the World Bank.





Construction work of Ayurvedhic hospital blocked

4 March 2000 - The construction work on the first district Siddha Ayurvedhic hospital of the North-eastern province was blocked by the Government Agent of Trincomalee due to pressure from Buddhist organisations.

The land allocated for the Siddha Ayurveda hospital is likely to be acquired by the Trincomalee Government Agent for the extension of the Sangamitta Buddhist Pilgrims Rest near Samudragama, a state backed settlement of Sinhala encroachers. The hospital was to be built in two stages by the Northeast Provincial Department of Indigenous Medicine 'Siddha Ayurveda'. When the first stage of this project commenced in January this year, the Government Agent went to the site and ordered the contractor to stop all construction work at the site forthwith.

Following this the Divisional Secretary, as directed by the Government Agent, instructed the Provincial Director of Indigenous Medicine to stop all building work until another suitable land was found for the hospital. The Buddhist organizations have played a vital role in pressurizing the Government Agent to stop the construction work on the proposed District Siddha Ayurveda hospital project. The Trincomalee Government Agent has always worked systematically against Tamil interests in the district.


Security forces blocked ICRC medical supplies

20 April 2000 - Sri Lankan security forces prevented the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from taking its Ministry of Defence  authorised medical supplies for its mobile and primary health clinics in the Vanni. The civilians in the Vanni relied on the ICRC facilities.

According to the ICRC spoke person ­ “ICRC has sought permission from the Ministry of Defence for 45 types of drugs. The Ministry of Defence gave clearance but considerably reduced the quantities. “However, the security forces in Vavuniya blocked 31 items completely and further reduced the quantities of the 14 which permitted, even though we had the Ministry of Defence clearance. "As a result, there was hardly anything we could take in,"  spoke person said.


Surgery closed down

7 May 2000 - The surgery of the Mallavi hospital and two branches of the Mullaithivu hospital were closed down due to a severe shortage of medical supplies in the Vanni. The Medicine Sans Frontier - MSF and the ICRC have raised concern over the shortage of medicine in the Vanni due to blocking by the Sri Lanka army. It was reported in 1998 that 36,515 patients in the Mullaitivu District reporting fever, 16,936 tested positive for malaria and 3,239 had cerebral malaria, which damages the brain and 60 percent of children suffered third- degree malnutrition.


10 April 2000 - Hospitals in Vanni have not received their first quarter allocation of Medicines, X-ray films and laboratory chemicals which is seriously affecting treatment of patients. According to the Hospital authorities they are already experiencing shortages as only 30% of the required supplies reached Vanni hospitals during the second half of 1999.

Permission not granted for ambulances

9 May 2000 - The ambulances donated by the UNICEF to the Mallavi, Kilinochchi, and Mullaithivu hospitals in the Vanni cannot be sent because Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence is continuing to delay permission.

The three ambulances were donated by the UNICEF to help medical authorities in the Vanni cope with the problem of handling serious emergency cases that cannot be treated there due to a severe lack of drugs and intensive care facilities for surgery. Health department officials in Vavuniya said the few ambulances that are currently in service in the Vanni are in a very bad condition due to the dilapidated roads and jungle paths of the region.


Short supply of medicine / malaria epidemic / undernutrition


-                      Supply of medicines for the first quarter of this year were allowed only in May. But all medicines were drastically cut. Even though 185 patients  were admitted for surgical operations - only 49 major operations were carried due to lack of medicines.


-                      In November 99, the mortality rate among the 710 patients admitted to Mallavi hospital was 4%, while the rate for children under 12 years was 6.5%.


-                      According to the report of Redd Barna ­ Norwegian NGO, undernutrition among children in Sri Lanka is 37%, but in the Vanni it is high than 70%.


-                      In 1999,216,000 people were treated in Kilinochchi hospital,  31,600 for malaria At Mallavi hospital, 158,000 people were treated, including for malaria, septicaemia and diarrhoea.


-                      During 1997 and 1998, 53% of the 430,240 malaria patients in Sri Lanka were from Vanni and Kilinochchi Districts. 80% of the 182 deaths due to malaria were in these districts.





Malnutrition  -   half a million displaced persons


There continues to be serious problems with access to food for most of the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, in the Vanni, due to the economic embargo imposed on the area by the Sri Lankan government. For about ten years food and essential items have been severely restricted. Many NGOs have stated in international human rights forums such as the Commission on Human Rights and Sub-Commission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights that these severe and cruel restrictions on food supply, is tantamount to using food as a weapon of war against the civilian population. 


Deaths due to starvation


Earlier this year the Government Agents of both Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi Districts reported that  “starvation among the population is identified and acute shortage of essential drugs is also experienced”. As the people are malnourished their vulnerability to epidemics grows. Around 500,000 people suffer from malnutrition in the Vanni, according to NGOs in the region. Malnutrition has reached grave levels causing a series of deaths. Treatment for anaemia due to malnutrition is difficult because of lack of availability of blood for transfusion.


From time to time the people have been demonstrating in large numbers at the offices of aid agencies and local officials. The injustice of being denied food to such a huge number of persons is really very serious. They demonstrate in the hope that some action will be taken on their behalf, and that the international community will react and exert influence on the government to rectify the situation, and allow basic food supplies to reach the people.


Fishing families unable to work to feed families


In the coastal village of Pesalai, west of Mannar, the fishermen have had their kerosene for their boats confiscated by the Sri Lankan army, despite the fact that their supplies were cleared by the Sri Lanka army and the police. Families that rely on the supply of fish for their daily food, especially those in the local refugee camp, are affected. Such difficulties are forcing them to seek refuge and access to food across the water in Tamil Nadu.


No food for displaced in Peninsula


There are problems in the Jaffna Peninsula too. In the “Ootru” survey report it was revealed that sixty seven per cent of the school children in Jaffna are undernourished. This high level of undernourishment among these children is due to bloated prices of essentials, unemployment and death of breadwinners in many families. There are 20,000 widows in the Peninsula with no regular means of income. Recently there have been additional problems, for those displaced yet again due to the war situation.


Local officials and Catholic church sources said on April 1st that they were quickly running out of rice gruel for more than 7500 persons displaced in the Pallai sector due to the war situation. They said that there had been no funds or supplies to feed the people who fled the shelling in Pallai and Maasar, north of the Elephant Pass garrison, since Monday, March 27 as all civilian transport had come to a halt because of the fighting on the A9 highway and the interior between Pallai and Eluthumadduval.

International and local humanitarian agencies based in Jaffna town were not able to respond to this crisis so far the officials and church workers said. The Catholic church was the only organisation assisting the people arriving from the war zone. The condition of the refugees was deplorable and there were only seven priests from the Jaffna Catholic Church who were already overworked. Their cassocks were splattered with blood and mud as many war wounded came also with the newly displaced people.

The Chavakachcheri Divisional Secretary (DS), Mr.S. Sundarampillai declined to give cooked food for the refugees arriving in Mirusuvil from the war zone on the ground that he had to first get permission from the Jaffna Kachcheri to do so. The refugee crisis could turn acute with the expected arrival of the thousands held up at Kilali later that day Jaffna Catholic Church sources said. The situation could deteriorate further because of the Divisional Secretary's refusal to provide cooked food and the inability or reluctance of the international aid agencies in Jaffna to visit the Mirusuvil area.


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), however, handed out non food relief items to about 109 persons who arrived in Jaffna town from the war zone when the fighting broke out.






EU sponsored seminar questioned

2 May 2000 -  The Counter Subversive Unit  of the Sri Lankan Police questioned a senior Tamil journalist regarding a seminar sponsored by the European Union  in Batticaloa in April. The CSU interrogated Mr.R.Thurairatnman, the Batticaloa correspondent for the Tamil daily Thinakaran, the Daily News and the Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation, and recorded a statement from him regarding the participants and purpose of the EU sponsored seminar.

The CSU had later contacted an official of the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA), a joint organiser of the seminar and exchange program, and obtained from him a list of the journalists who took part in the event. An organiser of the seminar said that the general tenor of the CSU investigation appears to be aimed at framing or intimidating some senior Tamil journalists and regional correspondents who report on the war.

The European Union sponsored the seminar and inter-provincial exchange program for Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim journalists in Batticaloa on April 21 and 22 in conjunction with many local organisations. The program was designed to build better understanding and rapport between Sinhala media persons and Tamil speaking journalists, particularly regional correspondents. This CSU investigation shows that Tamil journalists continue to remain vulnerable to arrest, interrogation and detention by outfits.


Promulgation of draconian measures against printing presses in Sri Lanka

4 May 2000 - The Sri Lankan President promulgated draconian measures under the public security ordinance banning all activities perceived as a threat to national security. Under these regulations, the government can take possession of ships, planes and vehicles and other assets from the public for national security purposes and for the maintenance of the essential services. The regulations also provide for the government to ban any publication and seize printing presses.

The regulations were gazetted on 3 May 2000. The promulgation has been made under Section 40 of the Public Security Ordinance. The government can seize the buildings and any other assets of any person found guilty under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and obtain the services of anyone in the national interests or to run the essential services.

The printing, distribution and selling of some publications that are not acting in the interests of national security will be banned. The government will have the right to seize printing presses acting in contravention of the regulations promulgated. Persons engaging in such acts will be arrested. Displaying banners and posters and distributing leaflets are banned.

Those who speak against the President, the constitution and the judiciary will be severely punished.  Strikes and organising strikes are banned. The government has the authority to close the bank accounts of organisations which engage in strike action. The right to arrest any person has been granted to the Police and officers appointed for the purpose by the commanders of the Sri Lanka Army, Air Force and Navy.

Foreign media censored

4 May 2000 - The Sri Lankan Government renewed press censorship on the foreign media. Sri Lanka's local media have been subject to censorship since last year. However, Colombo-based foreign media had been exempted. Minister of post, telecommunications and media has said that all war-related reports shall be submitted to the censor.


Newspapers shut down

19 May 2000 - The Sri Lanka army sealed the Jaffna daily, Uthayan. According to a jounalist at the paper, soldiers who went to the paper's office in Jaffna town locked the building, cut the phone lines and took the keys away. Earlier the Army warned the Uthayan paper's assistant general manager and associate editor  for publishing a story about the Sri Lankan President's meeting with Indian Air Force commander.


22 May 2000 - The Sunday Leader (English news paper), one of Sri Lanka's main newspapers was closed down by the government on 22 May 2000. No reason had been given. The Sunday Leader has been critical of the ruling People's Alliance for a considerable period.



Arbitrary arrest/Detention/ Torture


3 UNP organisers arrested in Batticaloa

Three organisers of the UNP in Batticaloa, Sinnathamby Kathirkamathamby, W. Fernando and Rudra Ignatius were arrested in Batticaloa on 3 February 2000 by a special CID team from Colombo. The chief UNP organiser for the district Mr. Rajan Sathiyamoorthy surrendered later on 10 February to the Police. The four are being held by the CID for investigations under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act.


UNP MP questioned by CID

8 March 2000 - Mr. Alisahir Moulana, United National Party member of Parliament for Batticaloa was grilled by officers of the Criminal Investigation Division ­CID of the Sri Lankan Police for five hours. Mr. Moulana was summoned to the CID head quarters and had been questioned at length. The UNP had got in touch with the Inspector General of Police about the interrogation of the MP.

Mr. Moulana was questioned about the activities of the four Batticaloa UNP organisers who were arrested last month by a special CID team and about the party's election campaign work in those parts of the eastern district. The CID had asked the MP about the identity of some LTTE leaders in his district sources close to him said.


Batticaloa MP subjected to search

11 March 2000 - Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, Member of Parliament for Batticaloa district and the Leader of the Parliamentary Group of the Tamil United Liberation Front was subjected to severe search at Mannampity security post. Security personnel examined his bags and baggage's although he identified himself as a Parliamentarian.

Mr.Pararajasingham left Batticaloa in his official vehicle with his police escort to Colombo. At Mannampity security check point he was subjected to severe search by the police. His vehicle was also thoroughly searched by the security police personnel.


Six Tamils arrested in Colombo

12 March 2000 - Six Tamils have been arrested in Colombo by the investigations arm of the Sri Lankan Police. The director of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Police,  said today that his section has arrested these persons in Dehiwela, a suburb in the capital's southern sector, and in Pettah in downtown Colombo.


200 arrested in Amparai

13 March 2000 - Nearly 200 people from Attapallam village in the south eastern Ampara district were detained by the Special Task Force during a search operation. Most of them taken in for questioning are agricultural laborers who had gone to the village for paddy harvesting from other areas. Attapallam village is Tamil village in Ninthavur electorate, about 20 km. east of Amparai town.



White van abductions in Vavuniya

15 March 2000 - A young woman and a youth have been abducted by unidentified men in a white van in the northern town of Vavuniya. Ponnaiah Sureshini, 24, of Marukaarampalai junction on the Vavuniya-Mannar road was abducted at Pandaarikulam, while she was on her way to the village administrative office.

Kalimuththu Kovintharajah, 25, was abducted from his house in Vepankulam, by a group of armed personnel who came in a white van. According to a complaint made by his relatives, the abductors, 3 men and 3 women, came in a white van and took away Kovintharajah around 9 p.m. The men were in civil  and women were in military fatigues. He has been missing since then.

Germany deported Tamils arrested at Airport

17 March 2000 - Sri Lankan Police took two Jaffna Tamils deported from Germany into custody at Katunayake International Airport. Both Tamils, Vaitilingam Suthaharan and Subramaniam Theiventhran, permanent residents of Jaffna, were ordered on remand by the Negombo Magistrate. According to German Embassy spokesman, 150 Sri Lankans who had been refused asylum were deported last year.

Mother and 7 month old child arrested


21 March 2000 - A 30 year old woman, Sukanthi Narenthiran, was arrested at Kaluwanchikudi in the Batticaloa District by a CID team from Kandy. She was taken to Kandy for questioning along with her 7 month old child. Her husband, Narenthiran, was summoned for questioning.

More arrests in Vavuniya

22 March 2000 - Five civilians including four employees of the main Post Office in Vavuniya were arrested by a special team of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) of the Sri Lankan Police from Colombo. An employee of a Jewellery shop in Vavuniya town was also taken into custody by the Police investigators from Colombo. See summary report, Arrests, cases 035-039 for names.

Three arrested in Trincomalee

23 March 2000 - Three youths were arrested during a combined search operation by the Sri Lanka Army and police in the Mutur Town area in the Trincomalee District. Three Tamil youths-two from Menkamam and one from Sampoor, villages were taken into custody.  The youths were brought down to Trincomalee town for further interrogation.


Seven arrested in the East

24 March 2000 ­ Seven Tamil villagers were arrested by the Sri Lanka Army near the district border between Ampara and Batticaloa. Eight persons including an eight year-old boy were travelling in a tractor from 13th milepost towards Malayarkadu in Ampara district for work. The Army arrested the seven adults near Malayarakadu. The eight-year old boy was abandoned alone at the spot.

The boy, however, managed to find his way home and told his family and others in his village that the Army had taken all the adults who were with him into custody. On representations made villagers, Mr.Joseph Pararajasingham, Parliamentarian of Batticaloa district contacted the Army authorities at Amparai.

The Army first denied the arrest. Later the Army admitted that troops had arrested seven persons travelling in a tractor in Malayarkaddu and that they had been handed over to the Police for further inquiries.



Tamils youths arrested in Colombo

29 April 2000 - Eight Tamil youth, including two girls, were arrested in Colombo. The boys and girls were taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Police during a search conducted in several lodges in the suburb of Bambalapitiya.

The eight youth are from various parts of the island's northern and eastern provinces.
Police claimed that the youth were arrested because they did not have any valid reasons for their presence in Colombo.  They are being interrogated in detention at the Bambalapitiya Police station.


Several arrests in Batticaloa

27 May 2000 - At least 25 persons were arrested during a search operation by the Sri Lanka Army in the Thaandavanveli area in the Batticaloa. The arrested are being interrogated at the Batticaloa police station. Meanwhile, Sarumathy Krishnapillai (24) from Palukamam in Batticaloa was arrested by the Sri Lankan police. The young woman was employed at a garment factory and was staying at Wattale.

In another incident Sri Lankan police arrested Kanapathipillai Kangeswaran, 34, of Batticaloa at Manampitty check post. He was on his way to work in a paddy field at Kaduruvela in the neighbouring Pollanaruwa district when he was arrested. In Kalmunnai, the Special Task Forces arrested S.M.Nizar, 23 May 2000.


Tamil journalist arrested

28 May 2000 - The Sri Lankan Police arrested a senior journalist of the state run Tamil daily, Thinakaran. The Tamil journalist, Arul Sathiyanathan, was arrested in his home at Talawakella in the hill country district of Nuwara Eliya. Mr. Sathiyanathan was taken into custody by the Police although he had shown them proof that he was a senior accredited journalist at Thinakaran.


8 youths arrested in Batticaloa

4 June 2000 - Eight youths were arrested when the Sri Lanka Army soldiers and Police conducted a cordon and search operation in Kokkuvil, a village 4 km. north of Batticaloa. The troops used masked spotters during the search. The youths who were identified by the spotters were taken to the Batticaloa police station.


58 University students arrested

8 June 2000 - Sri Lankan police arrested 58 Tamil undergraduate students of the Engineering Faculty at the University of Moratuwa, south of Colombo. The police imposed an unofficial curfew in Moratuwa .


Sexual abuse by Sri Lanka soldiers on Tamil detainees

9 June 2000 - At least 1 in 5 male Tamil detainees in Sri Lanka have suffered sexual abuse, including rape, according to The Lancet, the British medical weekly. "We believe that sexual abuse of Tamil men in detention is common in Sri Lanka," a report by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture published in The Lancet said, adding that the number of victims "is probably higher [than 20%] as some will not have reported it."

Based on examinations of 184 detainees, a group of 17 doctors contributed to the Medical Foundation's report. Of the 184 men, 38 said they had been sexually abused during their detention. Three of the 38 said they had been given electric shocks to their genitals, 26 had been assaulted on their genitals, and four had sticks pushed through the anus, usually with chillies rubbed on the stick first.

One said he had been forced to masturbate a soldier manually, three had been made to masturbate soldiers orally, and one had been forced with his friends to rape each other in front of soldiers for their "entertainment". Of the men who said they had been sexually abused, 11 reported being raped as part of that sexual abuse.

Cordon and search operation


9 June 2000 - In another incident, four people, including a woman, were arrested when the police searched a rice mill in Welikande in Batticaloa.

13 June 2000 - A large number of Sri Lanka Army soldiers and police cordoned off Muttur town, south of Trincomalee, in its entirety and conducted a search operation. At least 25 people were detained on suspicion during the search. Residents were herded to the town hall and interrogated in front of masked spotters.

More than 150 police personnel from Trincomalee, and about one hundred Army  soldiers from Kallady camp were sent to the Muttur town to conduct the search. Meanwhile six people from Amparai district who went to work in paddy fields in the Polonaruwa district were arrested by the Army soldiers.  Those arrested are being detained at the Anuradhapura prison.




6774 Tamils arrested in Colombo since July 1999


July 1999        152                 January 2,  2000       2246              

August                        275                 January 6th                 3000

September       80                  February                       157 (whole month)

October                      560                 March                            37                   

November        60                  April                               55

December        49                  May                                45

                                                June                               58 (Until 15th)


Total arrests in Colombo = 6774



Arbitrary Killings

JMC member killed

1 March 2000 ­ An unidentified youth shot and killed a member of the Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC), representing the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) in Jaffna Town. Mr. Anton Sivalingam was talking to another JMC member when the armed youth entered his house at 4th Cross Street and opened fire. He died on the spot. His body was taken to the Jaffna Hospital.


Youth killed in Mannar

26 March 2000 - In Mannar, the Special Task Force units from Semmantheevu and Naanaattaan had gone to cordon off and search Vaalkaipetraan Kandal had opened fire on two youth who had tried to get away on a motor bicycle. The pillion rider was shot dead while the other escaped. The Special Task Forces had arrested some people from the village following the shooting and took them away according to an unconfirmed report from Murunkan.


Indian fisherman dies in custody in Sri Lanka

March 28 2000 - A Tamil Nadu fisherman arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in February near Kachchathivu died in custody. A human rights lawyer who went to see his body at the government hospital in Colombo charged that he died due to neglect of the injuries sustained when Sri Lanka Navy personnel assaulted him during arrest in the high seas.

The fisherman , Velsamy Rajah, 38, was taken into custody by the Sri lanka Navy near Kachchathivu on February 19  for fishing in Sri Lankan waters. He was produced before the Mannar courts and was then sent to the remand prison at Welikada in Colombo.

Velsamy was later transferred to the Police special detention camp in Mirihana where he fell ill. He died after being admitted to the government hospital in Kalubowila, an outer suburb of Colombo. Velsamy Rajah is from S.T.C Road in Vaithiyanathapuram in Madurai 10.


19 killed in a bomb explosion in Batticaloa

17 May 2000 - At least 19 people, including 4 Sri Lanka Army soldiers and a police officer were killed when a powerful bomb exploded in Batticaloa. Forty-two civilians and 21 members of the security forces were wounded in the blast.

The blast occurred near Mangalaramaya Vihare close to the Batticaloa police station.
 A large number of people had gatherd at the venue to see Wesak celebrations at the Buddhist temple when the bomb which was believed to have been fixed to a bicycle of an ice cream vendor exploded, the police said.



15 killed and 31 wounded at home for aged in Jaffna

19 May 2000 - Aid agency sources in the north said that 15 persons were killed and 31 wounded at the home for the aged in Kaithady, east of Jaffna town, when it was hit by artillery shells. The Sri Lankan army has been shelling the general area of Kaithadi heavily since the Liberation Tigers overran its positions in and around this junction town on May 17.


According to a reliable source the bodies of the home's inmates who were killed in the shelling were blown to pieces. Eleven inmates of the Kaithady home for aged were killed on the spot and thirty five were seriously wounded when the shells hit the building and the premises.

Four of the wounded elders died later due to inadequate medical facilities in the area due to economic embargo to the peninsula. Aid agencies sources in Jaffna who came to know of the incident said they are not in a position to visit the scene as the shells continues to fall.


Shelling killed six in Batticaloa

24 May 2000 ­ In Batticaloa said six civilians living close to the Sri Lanka army camp in a Batticaloa suburb were killed when a shell hit their garden. The Army base is located close to the coast in Batticaloa town's southern suburb of Kallady. Three civilians in the neighbourhood were wounded.


Bomb kills Sri Lankan minister

June 7, 2000 -  A senior Sri Lankan government minister was assassinated by a suicide bomber in the capital, Colombo. Industry Minister CV Gooneratne and 20 others died in the attack which took place during celebrations honouring the country's war heroes. Dozens of people were wounded - including the minister's wife.


The police have blamed the attack on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The minister was attacked as he was collecting donations for the army in his constituency in Colombo. One eyewitness said he saw a man approach the minister as he walked in a parade in front of a big crowd. He then embraced him before setting off the bomb.  "I heard a huge explosion and then saw parts of bodies flying around. I can't remember what happened immediately after that," said another bystander. A BBC correspondent says questions have been raised about a possible breach of security, which allowed the bomber to approach the minister.




Arbitrary killings named as  a crime against humanity ­ war crime

The Federal Court of Australia establishes that former Sri Lankan Navy officer committed war crime


Bandisattambige Ajith Susantha Fernando, a former Sri Lankan Navy officer committed a crime against humanity, a war crime, and therefore was not eligible for refugee status, concluded the Federal Court of Australia, 8 June 2000. He was excluded from coverage of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees under Article 1F(a) and 1F(b)


The decision of the Federal Court upheld that of the Refugee Review Tribunal. The latter’s report, dated  10th March 2000, had stated that, “The tribunal is satisfied that the applicant’s actions cannot be regarded as being isolated or random acts, but rather part of a larger design to persecute Tamil civilians, including Tamil refugees.”


Fernando admitted to killing unarmed civilians in a refugee camp. In early 1993 he was stationed near Jaffna in the North of Sri Lanka. An ICRC refugee camp giving shelter to 300-400 Tamil refugees stood in the way of the Sri Lankan forces securing a pier from the LTTE. The ICRC flag was flying above the camp, clearly identifying it as being under the auspices of the ICRC. Fernando’s commanding officer ordered him to kill the civilians in the camp. He was not surprised or alarmed at the commanding officer’s direction.


Under Fernando’s command, 8 men and a Tamil speaking interpreter approached the camp wearing clothes consistent with the usual dress of the LTTE, and tried through the Tamil interpreter, to engage the civilians in the camp. The civilians in the camp were apparently not deceived by the guise and started shouting at them. The nine members of the Sri Lankan armed forces exposed their M16 rifles, formed an angle formation and shot at the civilians. None of the camp occupants were armed, their ages varied between 5 and 50 years of age. 40 refugees were murdered, 18 of whom were in the range of Fernando, including a pregnant woman. The remaining refugees fled. After the massacre Fernando was commended by the commanding officer and told to forget about the events. He had freely participated in the act.


Chemmani case moved before Chief Magistrate

1 June 2000 - The Magisterial inquiry relating to Chemmani graves came up for hearing before Colombo Chief Magistrate. Initially the Jaffna Magistrate's Court heard the case, but following an order by the Court of Appeal, the matter was transferred to the Colombo Magistrate.

The Court of Appeal made this order after an application by the suspect army officers that their lives were in danger in appearing at the Jaffna Magistrate's Court for the case. The Court allowed an application by Senior State Counsel seeking written authority from Court to enable a senior CID Officer to proceed to Jaffna and bring the relevant case records presently lying at the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court.

The Chemmani case revolves around the testimony of one of the soldiers found guilty in the assault, rape and murder of Krishanthy Kumaraswamy and the murder of her mother, brother and a neighbour. Upon being convicted, Rajapakse queried why he was being singled out for punishment when he knew of hundreds of bodies being dumped by other soldiers in the grounds of Chemmani.

The government opened the investigation into the allegations after intense international pressure. After many delays and rumours of evidence being destroyed, 17 bodies were discovered in the areas the Rajapakse pointed out.


42 more Skulls and skeletons found in Kilinochchi

Between 7-10 March 2000 - Eight skeletons were recovered from a sewage-pit in Uthyanakar, Kilinochchi. The remains were found when the owners were cleaning the compound. Jewellery was also found in the pit. The skeletons are believed to the remains of people who had gone to visit relatives in Kilinochchi, when the Army was in control of the town, and were latter reported 'missing'.


10 March 2000 - A human skull and an arm bone were recovered from a sewage pit in a house at Thirunakar in Kilinochchi. The skeletal remains were handed over to the Kilinochchi hospital


21 March 2000 - Three more human skeletons were recovered from toilet pits in Kilinochchi north. These were the remains of civilians killed by the Sri Lanka Army when it was in control of the area. About ten human skeletons were found from sewage pits early March at Thirunagar and Uthayanagar in Kilinochchi district. Six of them were identified by relatives from the remains of clothes found in the pits.

23 March 2000 - One skeleton was discovered from the same waste-pit in Urithirapuram, Kilinochchi where three skeletons were unearthed before. The skeleton found contained remnants of a reinforcing surgery done to one broken leg bone. The three skeletons found on 22 March,  had some clothing around them.

The waste-pit was situated about 700 m north of the Forward Defence Lines  of the security forces when Kilinochchi was occupied by the Sri Lankan Army.  The skeletons have been taken to the Kilinochchi District Hospital for medical examination. They will be later taken to Akkarayan for possible identification.


So far 42 skeletons have been discovered in Kilinochchi district including the 13 found on the 6th, 8th, 11th and the 20th of March.


500 civilian casualties due to bombing and shelling

9 June 2000 - The Bishop of the Catholic Church in Mannar Rt.Rev.Dr. Rayappu Joseph said in appeal sent to the heads of foreign missions in Colombo that there were more than five hundred civilian casualties due to bombing and shelling by Sri Lankan security forces in the Madduvil area, close to Chavakachcheri in Jaffna. "I am given to understand that the attitude of the armed forces is that 'it is better to kill the people than allow them to go into the LTTE controlled areas' the Bishop states in the appeal.

The following is the full text of the Mannar bishop's appeal.  "Situation of the war area of Chavakachcheri-Kodikamam, Jaffna. I wish to express my concern regarding the state of the civilians in the above mentioned war area. The Parish Priest of Chavakachcheri Rev. Fr. Ananthakumar having moved out of this trapped area with 76 families to Koanavil in Vanni via Sangupiddy - Pooneryn has contacted me from Madhu. He described the pathetic situation of the people being mercilessly made victims of this senseless war. Since they are trapped, they have no way of escaping from this plight.


"Few have risked their lives amidst Sri Lankan Army's heavy artillery shelling and aerial bombings to move out into safe area. This exodus takes five to six days when they cross over to Vanni via Sangupiddy-Pooneryn. In the meantime quite a number have been killed and I am given to understand that the attitude of the armed forces is that " it is better to kill the people than allow them to go into the LTTE controlled areas".

"I am also informed that people who are compelled to live within the bunkers are helpless and starving. According to this source the number of civilian casualties in the Madduvil area is more than 500. This type of massacre is witnessed to be extending to other areas of Thenmarachchi as well. The people of Meesalai, Sarasalai and Manthuvil have sought refuge in school buildings. There are 157 inmates, all sickly and helpless, housed in the Kaithadi Home for the Elders. Unfortunately, the NGOs are not permitted by the security forces to move into these areas.

"Hence, I appeal to Your Excellency to prevail upon the Government and the LTTE to rectify the alarming situation at least by permitting the NGOs like the UNHCR and ICRC to reach those areas with food and medicine and if necessary to evacuate those victims from there in a situation of temporary cease fire."





Children, amongst the most vulnerable members of the community, continue to face severe and multiple violations of their rights.  All children have the right to food, healthcare and education. They also have the inherent Right to Life itself. There exists chronic suffering for Tamil children whose rights in all these areas are being denied.


Right to life denied.

Children continue to be killed by Sri Lankan armed forces. Children of all ages are affected. Mariyanayakam Jude, aged 17 was shot dead by Sri Lankan Navy on 26th April 2000 as he was fishing off the coast of Chundikulam. At the other end of the continuum of childhood, the infant son of Sivanesan Annaimary was killed when the Sri Lankan army shelled his parent’s home on 26th May, in Madduvil.


Children arrested and detained. Assaulted in custody.

Eleven cases have been documented of children arrested by Sri Lankan security forces since January. The youngest was aged twelve and was arrested while studying in his school, Urumpirai Chandrothaya Vadyalayam. Two girls who were arrested by the Sri Lankan Army stationed at Maavadivembu, on 28th May, were severely assaulted whilst in army custody. Kala Alakaiah and Kubenthini Thillainathan were so badly injured that they were admitted to Batticaloa hospital by prison officers.   


Rape of children by Sri Lankan army and police

There has still been no denunciation or investigation by the government of the horrific rape case of twelve year old girl-child Pushpamalar who was raped by a soldier in Sagathaanai, Jaffna, on 6th October 1998.


On 11 February, a Muslim boy was sexually assaulted by two policemen who were attached to the police post inside his school in Muttur, Trincomalee. They forcibly took him to a wooded area near the school before committing the offence.


Embargo starves children

In the Vanni area, school children continue to suffer due to the economic embargo on the area, imposed by the government of Sri Lanka for more than a decade. Severe malnutrition and disease result from the lack of food and medicine. The denial of these basic necessities of life to children is a serious breach of the government of Sri Lanka’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and its obligations to respect humanitarian law in armed conflict. Night blindness, due to lack of vitamin C continues to affect many children as do respiratory infections, scabies, malaria and anaemia.


Education of children disrupted


With disturbing frequency schools are taken over and occupied by the Sri Lankan army. Please see section on Education for specific examples. Also for instances of schools being shelled by Sri lankan armed forces. Children are not safe even in their own classrooms.


Child maimed by explosion


Tharmalingam Vinodharan, a 10 year old child from Maravanpullo in the Thenmaradchi area of the Jaffna Peninsula, lost both hands below his wrists when an unidentified explosive detonated on 21st June 2000. according to hospital sources, he was admitted to the Mallavi hospital and later transferred to Vavuniya General Hospital for surgery. The child’s relatives said that his eyes were also affected by the explosion.





The human rights situation for women continues to be desperate and serious. Rapes and sexual assaults of Tamil women by Sri Lankan army, Police and navy continue unabated. As was pointed out by NGOs during the 56th session of the Commission on Human Rights ­ even though the President, the Prime Minister and the Special Rapporteur on Violence against women, are all Sri Lankan women, the situation for women has not improved.


Police force into women’s homes at night


In the Sinnakadi area of Mannar residents reported on 18th June 2000 that six policemen have been attempting to rape women in the area. The policemen, attached to the checkpoint situated at the Building Materials Co-operative in Sinnakadai forcibly open the doors of local residents at night. This is terrifying for anyone living in the house, and with the high rate of rape and murder of Tamil women by Sri Lankan army and police, this is clearly inflicting terror on these women. A complaint has been lodged with the brigadier general of the area. However, given the impunity with which the armed forces carry out their violations of human rights, it is not surprising that 100 families are seriously considering moving from the area. Sri Lankan police and army checkpoints are notorious locations for sexual harassment, arbitrary arrest and “disappearance”. 


Woman raped


A woman was admitted to Manthikai hospital, Point Pedro, on March 3rd 2000, in an unconscious state. She had been raped by three Sri Lankan army soldiers from Malusanthi army camp near her house. The soldiers had said they wanted to check her identity card, and forced their way into her home, while she was alone. All Tamils have to have identity cards and cannot even stay with relatives or friends without registering with the police.


Unsafe at home


Another case of a woman being unsafe in her own home is that of Ponnuthurai Kathirasipillai, aged 52. She was in her kitchen when, on 26th March she was shot in the stomach by Sri Lankan Special Task Force Police who opened fire in her village, Vaalkaipetraan, South East of Mannar. First she was admitted to the small local hospital at Murunkan, then to Mannar hospital and finally to Vavuniya, for treatment.  It is not infrequent for the Sri Lankan police and army to fire indiscriminately into residential Tamil neigbourhoods. Even in their homes people live in terror.


Young mother killed


Mrs. Sivanesan Annaimary, a young mother, and her infant son were killed instantly when Sri Lankan army shelling hit her home in Madduvil Sivankovilady, on the morning of 26th may 2000. She was simply in her own home when this atrocity happened. Many other people were injured in surrounding homes.


Mother killed returning from hospital with newborn


Another shocking killing of a mother took place on the afternoon of 27th March 2000. Sritharan Yogeswary aged 38 was coming home from Jaffna hospital with her newborn baby, and her husband and sister in an auto rickshaw. At Iththaavil, the Sri Lanka army fired at the rickshaw. Yogeswary was blown to bits, her husband and the driver too. Witnesses said the baby was splattered with the flesh and blood of the dead parents. Yogeswary’s sister and the baby survived.


Seven soldiers alleged to have raped Ida Hamilitta


According to one of the soldiers attached to the Pullimunai Sri Lanka Army camp, Kaliyan Murukaiah Mahalingam, seven soldiers were involved in the horrific gang-rape and murder of Ida Hamilitta, on July 11 1999 in the early hours. The names of those already arrested and in remand are Dayananda Upal Gurusinghe and Rjah Somaratne.  The other five are still serving in other areas. Their names are, Lieutenant BB Mahinda Perera, Lance Corporal MK Ruvan Kumara, KP Jayamande Hewawasam, SD Uppali Karunaraten and R Dissanayake according to Mahalingam. Mannar Magistrate Mr Illancheliyan ordered their arrest.


At the post-mortem of Ida Hamilitta the Judicial Medical officer stated that she had been raped, shot at her genitals, had 18 injuries on her body, had been bitten and had been stabbed on her abdomen. 


It is routine practice for Sri Lanka police, army and navy to be moved to other areas after serious incidents of violence against women, and massacres, in cases where the local people and family have been courageous to report and follow the matter up, despite the fear of retribution. Once the incident is known nationally or internationally, then the transfers occur, in an attempt to prevent action being taken against them.


One example in point is the case of Sarathambal Saravanbavananthakurukal, 29 year old mother gang-raped and brutally murdered by Sri Lankan Navy on 28th December 1999. Although the President was reported to have ordered an immediate investigation on 30th December, the Naval personnel believed to have carried out the heinous crime were immediately transferred. TCHR issued an Urgent Action on 4th January, stating this fact (see report to 56th session of the CHR). In her letter of 13/03/00 the Special Rapporteur on violence against women stated that “very little is being done to pursue the matter.”  Unfortunately this does not come as a surprise to us.




Refugees in Europe and other western countries

(The figures are subject to verification)


During the 1990s, more than 170,000 Sri Lankans sought asylum in Europe and North America, including nearly 15,700 in 1999.


In 1999, nearly 12,698 Tamils applied for asylum in Europe, 2,915 applied in Canada, and 83 in the United States. The United States granted refugee status to 18 percent of the 1,000 Sri Lankans who applied for asylum during the 1990s.


European countries returned more than 500 rejected Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka during 1998.


According to UNHCR records, nearly 138,000 Sri Lankans applied for asylum in Europe between 1990 and 1998. European governments recognized 18 percent as refugees and granted another 12 percent other forms of temporary refuge.


During the same period, 31,000 Tamils applied for asylum in Canada, which granted more than 80 percent of them refugee status.


Internally displaced people

(The figures are subject to verification)


According to the Sri Lankan government, 687,000 Sri Lankans were internally displaced at the end of 1999. However, that figure did not reflect the number of people actually displaced.


Nearly 100,000 Tamils were newly displaced during the year. In Jaffna most of the 269,000 persons are to be considered as displaced.


In March 99, the government launched two offensives in the western Wanni that displaced more than 20,000 people. The first offensive on March 4, displaced 4,000 people from Iluppaikulam, Mundrumurippu, and nearby areas. The second offensive displaced some 5,000 people from Vidataltivu and Pappamoddai in Mannar District.


 The Sri Lankan army did not permit the more than 10,000 displaced persons housed in welfare centres in Vavuniya to leave.


On November 20, at Madhu church in Mannar, a shell fired by the Sri Lankan army killed 42 displaced civilians, including 13 children, and injuring  60 others.


In 1998, Some 150,000 displaced Tamils lived in established "welfare centres" in government-controlled areas.


A military offensive in December 1998 displaced more than 15,000 people from Oddusuddan, some 30 miles Northeast of Vavuniya. The displaced fled heavy artillery shelling by the army.


In Vavuniya, there are more than 22,000 Tamil refugees in 12 camps. Health and sanitary conditions in the camps are extremely poor. The security forces have refused permission for many people in the camps to travel to Colombo.


IDPs massacred

Refugees in camps for the internally displaced are highly vulnerable. Sri Lankan armed forces are capable of committing vile atrocities against these unarmed defenceless people. 40 such internally displaced persons were murdered by a Sri Lankan Navy officer and those under his command, in a case which has come to light only because he subsequently sought protection in Australia, as a refugee, but was refused !  (More details above in section on Arbitrary Killings)



Refugees in India

(The figures are subject to verification)


More than 100 Tamil refugees repatriated from India, and some 3,500 formerly displaced persons returned home.


Out of 110,000 refugees, 70,000 lives in refugee camps and nearly 40,000 lived outside the camps.


 According to UNHCR, 3,839 Tamil refugees fled to India during 1998.


On July 26, 1998, a boat carrying about 50 refugees capsized; 40 of the refugees drowned.


In September 99, 12 Sri Lankans fleeing to India drowned when their boat capsized.


36 Refugees at Rameswaram coast

13 June 2000 ­ More than 36 Tamil refugees arrived in one of the sand dunes off the Rameswaram coast. According to officials, the refugees had informed about their arrival through the fishermen before they arrived at the coast.

Civilian evacuation failed

27 May 2000 - The evacuation of an estimated 15,000 civilians from the embattled Chavakachcheri sector failed on 27/5/2000, as heavy shelling by the Sri Lanka Army prevented them moving to designated points where UNHCR officials were waiting, following the declaration of a cease-fire by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Sri Lanka Army is using civilians as human shields and subjecting them to indiscriminate artillery and aerial bombardment.

The UNHCR had informed the Sri Lankan government about the cease-fire arrangement but the Sri Lankan government failed to respond.

An estimated 15,000 Tamil civilians are entrapped in the battle zones in the Chavakachcheri sector and are at considerable risk.


Present situation

More than 50,000 people are displaced in Maruthankerni, Thenmaratchy and Palai.


20,000 are accommodated in refugee camps established, and provided with dry rations.


The camps are in Point Pedro, Chankanai, Kokkuvil, Manipay and Thirunelveli in the Jaffna peninsula.


More than 6,500 people are in the compound of St Patrick's College, Chundikuli.


Nearly 7,000 are in the compound of Jaffna Hindu College.


Nearly 70% of the civilians in Jaffna town had moved to safer areas.


More than 5,000 people are awaiting at Trincomalee for a ship to take them to Jaffna. They are facing many difficulties in Trincomalee.


2000 rupees to buy our coffins!

4 April 2000 - Do you intend to give us 2000 rupees to buy our coffins?" "Are you going to let us be used as human shields?" asked angry refugees from the war zones in the southern sector of Jaffna when senior government officials went to distribute dry rations among them. More than three thousand civilians who fled the war have been blocked at Kilali by the Sri Lanka Army. The irate refugees were reacting to reports in the media that the government had promised to give 2000 rupees (28 USD) as relief to each family displaced from the war zone near Jaffna's gateway garrison following representations made by Tamil Parliamentarians about their plight.

The displaced civilians refused to accept the rations from the them. Some in the crowd told the officials "We came here not because we have no money or food, but to save our lives. So you must let us go to find safety."

There are 1114 persons housed in the Kilali Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School and the Church in the same compound. The Army says that it has a legitimate security concern in allowing these civilians to go to the other parts of Jaffna without screening them first, to identify infiltrators.



Norway embassy bombing claimed

24 May 2000 - A group calling itself as National Front Against Tigers (NFAT) claimed responsibility for the grenades attack on the well guarded Norwegian mission in Colombo. The group in a statement faxed to the newspaper offices in Colombo said that the Norwegian government is the "international agent" of the Liberation Tigers. The same group claimed responsibility for the assassination of Kumar Ponnambalam on 5 January.

The Norwegian mission was attacked with grenades. The building suffered minor damages in the attack. The Royal Norwegian embassy provided security by the Sri Lankan government following a protest against the Norway government in front of the mission by Sinhala nationalists and Buddhist priests on 16 April.

The BBC's Sinhala service journalist was assaulted and the Norwegian flag burn by the militant protestors. "We will take serious actions against all those "agents" who pose a threat to Sri Lankan state", the statement said.


Protest against Norwegian involvement in negotiation

Nearly ten-thousand people demonstrated in Colombo, protesting against Norway's role in resolving Sri Lanka's conflict. The demonstration was organised by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a Marxist party, which is considered as a third political force in the island.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered at Lipton Circus near downtown Colombo and marched towards Hyde Park, shouting slogans against talks with the facilitation of Norway to end the ethnic conflict in the island. A rally was held at the Hyde Park.

JVP has announced that it would organise a country wide protests against Norway's involvement.


On 15 March 2000 - A group of extremist Sinhala Buddhist organizations picketed in Colombo protesting against the Norwegian peace initiative seeking a political solution to the island's ethnic conflict.

About 100 people, representing several Sinhala extremist organizations, including Sinhala Weera Vidhana and National Movement Against Terrorism, marched from Borella towards the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ward Place and began shouting slogans against Norway's involvement said sources.

Protestors shouted slogans such as "Do not interfere in internal affairs" and "Do not talk with the Tigers".

ICRC, UNHCR urged over cease-fire

 9 June 2000 - The Liberation Tigers said  they had urged the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help arrange a temporary cease-fire between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan armed forces to facilitate the evacuation of civilians trapped in the battle zones of the thenmaradchi division in the Jaffna peninsula. The civilians are unable to leave as the Sri Lankan armed forces are pounding the possible routes of evacuation, the Tigers said in a statement from their London offices.

Following is the extracted text of the press release: "The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has urged the resident representatives of the UNHCR and the ICRC to help to arrange a temporary cessation of armed hostilities between Sri Lankan armed forces and the LTTE combat formations in the Thenmarachchi division of the Jaffna peninsula to facilitate the evacuation of Tamil civilians stranded in the fighting zone.

"The LTTE has made this appeal to these non-governmental humanitarian organisations following large scale civilian casualties sustained in the fighting zones of Thenmarachchi as a consequence of indiscriminate barrage of artillery shelling, multi-barrel rocket fire and heavy aerial bombardment by Israeli made Kifir combat aircrafts. Already a large section of the stranded population has moved to safe area in Valigamam, Vadamarachchi and Vanni sector. Yet thousands are still caught up in the crossfire unable to move to areas of safety. The Sri Lankan armed forces are pounding the possible routes of evacuation to prevent civilian movement. "The LTTE has also requested the ICRC and the UNHCR to visit the battle zones to take stock of the tragic and dangerous situation the civilians are exposed to."


Cease-fire as gesture of good will

8 May 2000 - The Liberation Tigers said that they are prepared to declare a temporary cease-fire to allow the Sri Lanka Army troops in the northern Jaffna peninsula to withdraw safely. In a statement from its London offices, the LTTE said its offer was "gesture of goodwill" to prevent further bloodshed and "to create a congenial environment" for the SLA "to withdraw from the unfavourable theatre of war with dignity and honour".

The extracted text of the statement : "We call upon the government of Sri Lanka to consider our proposal seriously and respond positively without delay. A positive response, we are confident, will create cordial conditions for a permanent cease-fire, peace talks and negotiated political settlement for the Tamil national question. We also wish to indicate to the Sri Lanka government that it will bear total responsibility for the disastrous consequences of heavy military casualties if it rejects our proposal for de-escalation and continues the war effort."


Sri Lanka rejected cease-fire offer

8 May 2000 - The Sri Lankan army totally rejected the cease-fire offer by the Liberation Tigers. An officer at the operational headquarters of the Ministry of defence said that their Army will fight to the last man to defend Jaffna.

The officer said that there was no question of withdrawing from the peninsula. The Sri Lanka Army is confident of its position there as many countries have pledged military assistance to fight the LTTE according to the officer. He dismissed the LTTE offer for a cease-fire to enable the army to withdraw its troops from Jaffna as psychological warfare tactics.


Diplomatic relations with Israel

4 May 2000 - The Government of Sri Lanka decided to resume diplomatic relations with the Government of Israel with immediate effect.

Modalities of representations were to be mutually discussed and decided upon by the two governments, a press release stated. Urgent resumption of relations with Israel comes in the wake of negotiations to resume military assistance for fighting the Liberation Tigers in the north.






(Estd. 1990)

9, Rue des Peupliers, 95140 Garges les Gonesse, FRANCE


Ref. CH/02/04                                                                                                    18/04/2000


The Chairperson

UN Commission on Human Rights ­ 56th Session

United Nations




Dear Sir,


With reference to the statement made yesterday under agenda item 17 - on Human Rights Defenders - by the Geneva Sri Lanka representative in the UN Commission on Human Rights - 56th Session; we, the Tamil Centre for Human Rights ­ non ECOSOC organisation, categorically deny that we have justified any killings what so ever in the past or present. Our organisation does not distribute the bulletins of other organisations and we cannot bear responsibility for the activity of other organisations.


Within our last ten years of service, we have earned our reputation through hard work and honesty, which has led to a considerable amount of respected testimony from the UN and other international bodies.


We hereby request the Sri Lanka representative to produce any document written by our organisation that proves his accusation to be true and correct. This allegation was a shock and a surprise to us. It begs the question, why has the Sri Lanka representative accused us this year, in particular, and not before?


We are sure that every state representative and NGO can see, through their own experience and knowledge, that the Sri Lanka representative’s baseless statement about our organisation has a hidden motivated agenda to earn us discredit with other states and NGOs. This is for your information and kind consideration, please.


Thanking you.

Yours truly,


S. V. Kirupaharan,

General Secretary





(By Nirupa Subramanian, The Hindu Newspaper 19 June 2000)

COLOMBO, JUNE 18 - The Sri Lankan Government's decision to exclude the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) from the proposed interim council to administer the north-east has shut the door on negotiations with the separatist group, at least for now.

With this, the President, Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, has made it clear that there would be no bargaining with the LTTE. After consultations with the Opposition United National Party and Tamil parties, it would be presented as a fait accompli to the group.


The immediate fall-out of this could be on the Norwegian facilitation of a dialogue between the Government and the LTTE.

It is evident that the compulsions of majoritarian Sinhala politics have played an important role in the decision. With general elections round the corner, the President's position seems to be aimed at reassuring her party's Sinhalese constituency that she had no intention of cutting a deal with the LTTE. Hard-line Sinnhala organisations have been opposed to the idea of devolution, and any plans to involve the LTTE in it would only add fuel to fire.


Only a few months ago, Mrs. Kumaratunga had accused her main opponent in the presidential campaign, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, for conspiring with the LTTE when he suggested that an interim council be set up in the north-east with the LTTE in charge.


Tamil politicians are apprehensive about what this political posturing forebodes for the search for a lasting solution to the country's ethnic conflict. The Tamil United Liberation Front, which has been pressing for talks with the LTTE, reacted with dismay to the announcement. ``It is strange for the Government to adopt such a position. What will the President tell the international community which is pressing her to open talks with the LTTE? How can she appoint a facilitator for negotiations with the LTTE and then shut the door on them?'' asked Mr. V Anandasangaree, senior vice-president of the party.


Though he conceded that the LTTE would have in any case ``never agreed'' to participate in the proposed council, the Government's pre-emptive exclusion of the group was ``surprising'', Mr. Anandasangaree said. He reiterated the party's demand that the LTTE ``will have to be party to any solution in the north-east''. ``Otherwise there can be no peace in the country,'' Mr. Anandasangaree warned.



Bishop says 500 civilian casualties in Madduvil

The Bishop of the Catholic Church in Mannar Rt.Rev.Dr. Rayappu Joseph said in appeal sent to the heads of foreign missions in Colombo that there were more than five hundred civilian casualties due to bombing and shelling by Sri Lankan security forces in the Madduvil area, close to Chavakachcheri in Jaffna. "I am given to understand that the attitude of the armed forces is that 'it is better to kill the people than allow them to go into the LTTE controlled areas' the Bishop states in the appeal.

The following is the full text of the Mannar bishop's appeal. The appeal is dated June 9 but was released to the press on 12/6/2000.

"Situation of the war area of Chavakachcheri-Kodikamam, Jaffna.

"I wish to express my concern regarding the state of the civilians in the above mentioned war area. The Parish Priest of Chavakachcheri Rev.Fr.Ananthakumar having moved out of this trapped area with 76 families to Koanavil in Vanni via Sangupiddy- Ponneryn has contacted me from Madhu. He described the pathetic situation of the people being mercilessly made victims of this senseless war. Since they are trapped, they have no way of escaping from this plight.

"Few have risked their lives amidst Sri Lankan Army's heavy artillery shelling and aerial bombings to move out into safe area. This exodus takes five to six days when they cross over to Vanni via Sangupiddy-Pooneryn. In the meantime quite a number have been killed and I am given to understand that the attitude of the armed forces is that " it is better to kill the people than allow them to go into the LTTE controlled areas".

"I am also informed that people who are compelled to live within the bunkers are helpless and starving. According to this source the number of civilian casualties in the Madduvil area is more than 500. This type of massacre is witnessed to be extending to other areas of Thenmarachchi as well. The people of Meesalai, Sarasalai and Manthuvil have sought refuge in school buildings. There are 157 inmates, all sickly and helpless, housed in the Kaithadi Home for the Elders. Unfortunately, the NGOs are not permitted by the security forces to move into these areas.

"Hence, I appeal to Your Excellency to prevail upon the Government and the LTTE to rectify the alarming situation at least by permitting the NGOs like the UNHCR and ICRC to reach those areas with food and medicine and if necessary to evacuate those victims from there in a situation of temporary cease fire."

Rev. Dr. J. Rayappu Joseph

Bishop's House, Pattim, Mannar

Telephone : + 94 - 23 - 2191

Fax : + 94 - 23 - 2191





56th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights




How long will the UN Commission for Human Rghts continue to listen to the reports of its own Special Rapporteurs and of NGOs concerning massive human rights violations in Sri Lanka as it has been doing for over a dozen years without addressing its primary causes? 

-  Society for Threatened Peoples




The fact of rape used as a weapon of war by the armed forces of the Sri Lankan government is not new to this Commission. A number of NGOs here, in previous sessions of the Commission and Sub-Commission have expressed alarm at the horrifying situation faced by Tamil women.


The Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) has documented catalogues of cases of women whose rights are grossly violated by the Sri Lankan security forces. Taken on average over the last four years, a Tamil woman is raped every 16 days, a Tamil girl child is gang-raped every three months and every two months a Tamil woman is gang-raped and brutally murdered by the Sri Lankan armed forces. The real figures are considerably higher. These are only the documented cases. 


According to the Sri Lanka Police statistics, crime against women has reached horrendous figures in the South of the island. Between January and June 1998 there were 26,565 recorded cases, and between January and July 1999 there were 26,660 cases.

- International Peace Bureau




France Libertes would like to draw attention to violations of human rights perpetrated against human rights defenders in Sri Lanka, particularly the case of Mr G.G. Ponnambalam.


According to the Urgent Action document of the Tamil Centre for Human Rights (ref no: AE/02/01) dated 28th February, there are many clues in the assassination of Mr Ponnambalam but no serious investigation took place. It is stated in the same document that the government Analyst Department which examined the car in which r Ponnambalam was killed, could find no finger prints inside the vehicle ­ not even those of Mr Ponnambalam who had driven this car to the place where he was assassinated.


France Libertes expresses deep concern regarding this situation and urges the UN Human Rights Commission to take up the issue with the government of Sri Lanka, in favour of the establishment of an independent commission of enquiry into the assassination of Mr Ponnambalam.

- FRANCE LIBERTES / Foundation Danielle Mitterrand