SLA accused of using forced labour

[TamilNet, Saturday, 24 April 1999, 23:07 GMT]
Human rights activists in Jaffna expressed concern today that the SLA (Sri Lankan Army) has begun to engage civilians in forced labour for security related tasks and to use them as human shields on the southeastern coast of the peninsula.

Forced labour by the SLA and the Special Task Force in the Batticaloa and Ampara districts has been widely condemned by human rights groups in Sri Lanka and in the west.

International agencies and human rights organisations have vehemently protested against the use of civilians as human shields to facilitate the mobility of the army and the STF in the eastern province.

Human rights sources in Jaffna said today that the SLA at the Nagar Kovil camp in Vadamaradchi east had herded all males from the Maamunai on Thursday April 22 to cut and destroy Mangroves (Kandal) on the sides of the road to Eluthumadduwaal from 9 a.m. in the morning to 3 p.m. in the afternoon.

The destruction of the mangroves is highly detrimental to the ecological balance of the peninsula's south eastern coast lamented a Jaffna university environmentalist. Human rights sources in Jaffna said that the SLA at Nagar Kovil is traveling among civlians when it has to move into areas like Maamunai and Amban which are still not under its control.

They said that the SLA began to engage in this dangerous practice since April 19.

Soldiers were also riding on motorbikes of civilians passing through their entry points at Nagar Kovil and Vallipuram into areas not under the army's control.

Fully armed soldiers had got on a crowded van carrying civilians to Amban on Thurday April 22.

 

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