|Friday, 27 February 2004|
|Security||Today's Top Story|
by Ranga Jayasuriya
The US State Department in its annual human rights report charged the LTTE of continuing with "serious" rights violations, while also identifying torture, child labour, discrimination of Tamils and the disabled as problematic areas of the country's human rights record.
"The LTTE continued to commit serious human rights abuses. The LTTE was responsible for arbitrary arrest, torture, harassment, disappearances, extortion, and detention," the State Department's Human Rights Report for 2003 said.
The report said there was "overwhelming evidence" that the LTTE killed more than 36 members of non-LTTE political parties and security forces informants.
It also accused the LTTE of intimidating Muslims and undermining the functioning of elected Local Government bodies in Jaffna and the East.
The report acknowledged that the Government "generally respected " the human right regulations, however adding that there are "serious problems" in certain areas. It accused the Security Forces of torture, rape and murder of detainees. It also pointed to six incidents of death in the prison cells reported last year.
"In the majority of cases in which military personnel may have committed human rights abuses, the Government has not identified those responsible or brought them to justice," the report said. It however said no incidents of security forces committing politically motivated killings and disappearances were reported.
The report said torture has been used by the police and pointed to six deaths in prison cells, detailing the methods of torture used by the Police.
"The Convention Against Torture Act (CATA) of 1994 makes torture a punishable offense. In practice, members of the security forces continued to torture and mistreat detainees and other prisoners, particularly during interrogation," the report charged.
"The PTA, like the Emergency Regulations (ER) repealed in 2001, permitted warrantless arrests and nonaccountable detentions," it added. It also identified the limitations on labour rights in the Free Trade Zones, discrimination of Tamils and disables, child labour and child prostitution as problematic areas of the country's human rights record.
Produced by Lake House