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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
Torture, Death & Disappearances of Tamils continue unabated
" The killing of Rev. Arulpalan is yet an other murder committed by unknown forces (?) in the north. A priest of Konavil in the Kilinochchi district - he was reportedly taken in for questioning by the Sri Lankan army on August 25. He was not seen again until his decomposed body was discovered on September 9 together with two others in a hastily dug grave. Aid workers in the northern peninsula said one of the bodies had its head cut off...
Acts of murder and disappearance in the north and east seem to continue unabated while the voice of human rights activists in Colombo seem to have been effectively muzzled by the present political administration. ...
Brutal forms of torture still exist in many a police station and prison. Amnesty International has recently lent focus to the extent of torture in various countries - torture which is calculated to disintegrate the mind of an intelligent victim. In Sri Lanka it has become an almost accepted stance to perceive that if one is a Tamil and arrested it is a duty carried out by the armed forces to protect the country from terrorism.
The present censorship on news relating to the situation in the north is one of the main reasons for even those well meaning people to remain in ignorance of the appalling human rights violations that continue in Sri Lanka today. The lack of independent news coverage whereby even foreign correspondents are barred from visiting certain areas in this country is also the reason for the government's own failure to sell the proposed devolution package in the South. It is a basic human right for people to be informed instead of meeting with a stone wall in seeking information.
The murder of Rev. Arulpalan has not caused any ripples in government or military circles. He was just another Tamil mistaken to be a Tiger.
The brutal slaying of all those other Tamil people also does not require any explanation according to the authorities, who when questioned did not even know a serious problem existed in the north for hundreds of civilians attempting to cross the line from rebel held territory to government land....
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) appointed by the government is practically defunct and was not even aware of the murder of Rev. Arulpalan and other disappearances taking place in the country's north and east. At 2 pm on a working day there is no responsible official at the offices of the new HRC to answer or record statements of human rights violations...
Other than appealing to the President there seems no mechanism in place to effectively monitor the human rights situation in the country. No local body is functioning by which members of the community and NGO's can bring complaints of violations without fear, impartially investigated and where necessary acted upon. NGOs also seem to have receded into a state of lethargy allowing the atrocities to continue. ..
Meanwhile a government propaganda drive is rolling along at half-steam to promote the power sharing package. The theme 'one country - one people' seems to mock the fact that thousands of Tamil-speaking people are today living under conditions that are anything but similar to that of their brothers and sisters in the south.
Some of them have lost all their belongings and are totally dependent on the government's relief measures and other aid. Problems faced by people in the Wanni are unimaginable as they remain a lost entity, lacking food, medicine and other essential items. ..
The stark reality is, death and destruction are common features in Sri Lankan society making little or no impact as it does not affect the so-called middle and upper classes. ..
People continue to be arrested under the pretext of national security. Freedom of association, demonstration and opinion continue to be violated. .. (Frederica Jansz in the Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Times, 28 September 1997)