Sri Lanka's Human rights situation "deteriorated dramatically"- Amnesty
[TamilNet, Friday, 25 May 2007, 10:59 GMT]
Amnesty in its 2007 report on human rights in Sri Lanka released this week said: "The human rights situation in Sri Lanka deteriorated dramatically. Unlawful killings, recruitment of child soldiers, abductions, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations and war crimes increased...Hundreds of civilians were killed and injured and more than 215,000 people displaced by the end of 2006...A pattern of enforced disappearances in the north and east re-emerged. There were reports of torture in police custody; perpetrators continued to benefit from impunity."
On the issue of child soldiers, Amnesty said: "At least 50 children a month were recruited as soldiers in the north and east. According to UNICEF, the UN Children's Agency, by mid-2006 there were still 1,545 under-age fighters in LTTE forces.
"In June over 100 children were reportedly recruited in government-controlled areas in the east by the Karuna group. In November, a special adviser to the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict reported that government forces had been actively involved in forcibly recruiting children to the group."
The report says the Human Rights Commision has "reported 419 enforced disappearances in Jaffna for the first half of 2006. A local non-governmental organization recorded 277 abductions from April to September. Disappearances and abductions were attributed to several forces, including the security forces, the LTTE and the Karuna group."
The disappeared list included, Father Thiruchchelvan Nihal Jim Brown, a Catholic priest from Allaipiddy, and Wenceslaus Vinces Vimalathas who went missing after crossing a navy checkpoint in August on Kayts Island. It was feared they had been taken into custody by navy personnel, Amnesty said.
Over 215,000 people were displaced in the north and east as a result of renewed fighting, and at least 10,000 fled to India, Amnesty said. The report added that although camps of tsunami affected people were well funded, "people displaced by the conflict often lacked electricity, transport and proper sanitation. Concerns remained about this disparity of treatment."