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Human Rights Watch reports on murder, abduction,
extortion, assault, illegal detention, torture & forced labour in Sri Lanka
The US based Human Rights
Watch in its report (published in January 1999) for the year 1998, pointed out that
little progress was made in 1998 towards a political settlement of the governments
fifteen-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and declared:
".... After attacks in June (1998) when at least twenty were reported killed and fifty injured, hundreds of demonstrators petitioned government authorities in the Vanni to protect civilian lives. Shortages of food and essential supplies were reported in conflict areas. Hundreds of thousands remained internally displaced mid-year; hundreds sought safety in India, others died in the attempt.
deaths and injuries of civilians were also reported during army operations in the east,
which received much less international attention. As in the north, both security personnel
stationed there and ex-militant paramilitary forces working alongside them were accused of
extrajudicial killings, torture, and illegal and arbitrary detentions of persons suspected
of LTTE links. In one of the few cases where official action was taken, on February 1 in
Thambalagamam, Trincomalee district, officers from the Bharathipuram police post and local
home guards reportedly arrested and killed eight young men in retaliation for an attack by
the LTTE on police in the area the night before. Police arrested forty-two, thirty-nine of
whom had been released on bail by mid-June.
Tamil politicians and human rights organisations protested the security forces continued use of homeguards and armed ex-militant Tamil groups to aid in security operations, as spotters to identify suspected LTTE members, and to detain and interrogate suspects. They have been accused of murder, abduction, extortion, assault, illegal detention, torture, and forced conscription.
Large-scale arbitrary arrests of Tamils based almost solely on their ethnicity continued in many parts of the country, particularly after major attacks attributed to the LTTE. In the north and east, residents complained of beatings, torture, and public humiliation of persons detained during searches, and of arrested youths being used for forced labour....
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