Date: 6:38 PM 3/4/02 +0100

From: senzaconfine





Comunicato Stampa








L'associazione Senzaconfine denuncia che 180 cittadini dello Sri-Lanka, molti dei quali della minoranza Tamil, illegalmente trattenuti dopo lo sbarco nel centro di Borgo Mezzanone (Foggia), sono stati portati, scortati dalla Ps, all'aeroporto di Fiumicino per essere reimpatriati. Pare che al momento due terzi di loro siano gią stati caricati su un volo diretto a Colombo, mentre degli altri (forse i tamil) la sorte Ź ancora incerta.


Provenienti da due sbarchi diversi, dopo essere stati rinchiusi nel centro di cui non si conosce la funzione, una sorta di "terra di nessuno" in quanto a legalitą, sono stati identificati sabato dal console dello SriLanka e si sono visti consegnare il foglio di espulsione domenica sera, nonostante siano tutti nelle condizioni di chiedere asilo, ed oltre cinquanta di loro l'avessero gią segnalato nominativamente ad avvocati e operatori del Pna (Piano nazionale accoglienza).


Appena una settimana fa le denunce di parlamentari, avvocati ed operatori per i diritti umani che si sono susseguite avevano indotto il ministro Scaiola a recedere dal rimpatrio di un altro gruppo di profughi srilankesi provenienti da Crotone, riconoscendo la drammaticitą della situazione di guerra civile in quel paese. Nel giro di una settimana lo Sri Lanka Ź forse divenuto un'oasi di pace?


Senzaconfine denuncia l'illegalitą di questo atto e fa appello per un'iniziativa decisa, anche in sede di Corte per i diritti umani di Strasburgo, prima che queste procedure sommarie diventino uno standard nei confronti dei richiedenti asilo.




(Dino Frisullo - 4.3.02)










* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty

International *


4 April 2001

ASA 37/006/2001




Amnesty International today wrote to the President of Sri Lanka

urging her to take action to stop rape by security forces and

bring perpetrators to justice.


     Following several recent reports of rape by security

forces in Mannar, Batticaloa, Negombo and Jaffna, the

organization reminded President Chandrika Kumaratunga that

safeguards to protect women in custody (as contained in

presidential directives for the welfare of detainees issued in

July 1997) were being ignored.


     Security force personnel should be punished if they fail

to adhere to these safeguards.  Female guards should be present

during the interrogation of female detainees and should be solely

responsible for carrying out body searches.


     Among the cases reported are those of two women who were

gang raped after being arrested by members of the navy and police

in Mannar on 19 March.


     The pace of investigations into several other cases of

alleged rape, including the case of Ida Karmelita who was raped

and murdered in Mannar in July 1999, are proceeding very slowly.

Other cases have collapsed because the victims or the witnesses

were threatened or feared reprisals.


     All necessary measures should be taken to protect the

victims and witnesses and any security officer found to be

responsible for rape, sexual abuse or other torture, or for

encouraging or condoning them, should be brought to justice.




* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty

International *


3 July 2001

ASA 37/010/2001




An upsurge in arrests, "disappearances" and torture linked to

paramilitary activity in the Vavuniya area must be urgently

addressed by the Sri Lankan government, Amnesty International

said today in a letter to President Kumaratunga.


     "The People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam

(PLOTE), paid and armed by the government, has been perpetuating

a pattern of systematic abuses," the organization said.


     Fifteen children who were allegedly being trained by

PLOTE at the "Lucky House" camp have been transferred to an

unknown PLOTE camp. Amnesty International is urging the

government to locate the children and return them to their



     Some prisoners who have been arrested by the army

intelligence unit have been held at PLOTE camps and in at least

one instance were visited by an army officer. Two people remain

"disappeared" after they were last seen being questioned by

members of PLOTE in early June.


     "The continued high level of human rights violations in

the Vavuniya District is bolstered by the practises that have

developed between the Tamil armed groups, particularly PLOTE, and

the armed forces.  The armed forces can claim no improvement in

the human rights situation until it can exercise control over

paramilitary activity."


     Amnesty International is calling on the President to

intervene directly:

-- to urgently bring all Tamil armed groups directly under proper

command and control systems,

-- to ensure that Tamil armed groups are not involved in the

recruitment of child soldiers,

-- to ensure that all places of detention are officially

recognised and designated as such, and

-- to conduct a speedy and impartial investigation into the use

of unauthorised places of detention and the abuses which have

taken place therein.




* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty

International *


20 July 2001

ASA 37/012/2001




The death of at least two people from bullet wounds and the

injuring of well over 30 more as a result of police action

against a predominantly peaceful demonstration in Colombo on

Thursday constituted the use of excessive force on the part of

the police, Amnesty International said today condemning the

police action.


     Achinte Perera from Algama and Manjula Prasad from

Janpatha St, Colombo 15, both supporters of the United National

Party (UNP), died whilst participating in a peaceful protest

called by a coalition of opposition parties in Sri Lanka.   The

post mortem reportedly reveals that death was caused by live

ammunition from a T56 automatic weapon, the type used by the

police and the army.


     Amnesty International also condemned the invoking of the

1981 Referendum Act by the government.  The Act bans all

processions between the calling of a referendum until after the

result is announced, other than Mayday, religious or social

processions, and the latter must not contain anything that may

affect the referendum result.


     "This is an absolute infringement of the rights to

freedom of expression and assembly.  People of all political

persuasions must recognize and respect each other's right to

gather peacefully and express their opinions without fear for

their safety," Amnesty International said.


     The organization is fearful that if these rights are not

observed and guaranteed by the state that the period leading up

to the referendum will become increasingly violent and polarised

and result in many more serious human rights violations.


     It is reported that the vast majority of people who took

part in Thursday's demonstration were unarmed and peaceful.

Amnesty International has no reports of arms being used or shots

being fired by the demonstrators.  Those who did indulge in

violence threw stones from the street.  However the police have

admitted using live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas.

There is also film footage of a police officer handing a large

knife to a person in civilian clothes thought to be a member of

the security forces or a member of one of the government parties.


     Amnesty International reminds the Sri Lankan authorities

of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and

Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials which state: "In any event,

intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly

unavoidable in order to protect life" and "Exceptional

circumstances such as internal political instability or any other

public emergency may not be invoked to justify any departure from

these basic principles."


     Amnesty International urges the President of Sri Lanka to

instruct all law enforcement agencies to strictly observe these

principles during the current tense political situation.  It also

calls on her to ensure that Sri Lanka observes the right to

freedom of expression and assembly which will assist in difusing

the high tensions.



The government banned Thursday's opposition march and rally

called in protest at the President having prorogued Parliament

for two months.  The Parliament was closed on 10 July following

the tabling of a no confidence motion that was gathering

support.  Following the closure, the President has called for a

referendum on a new constitution and this is scheduled to take

place on 21st August.


     The government have invoked 20-year-old legislation,

drafted and passed by the UNP when it was in power, to curtail

opposition activities. A discredited UNP referendum of 1982 was

held under this legislation.




* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty

International *


11 October 2001

ASA 37/013/2001




Amnesty International today appealed to the leadership of the

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to put an immediate halt

to the ongoing recruitment of children as combatants and to

return all child soldiers to their families or communities.


     "Whether the recruitment is forced or not, children have

no role to play in war. The LTTE must live up to its own pledge

not to use child soldiers, cease recruitment immediately and

return the children to their families," Amnesty International



     According to international standards and the LTTE's own

policy commitments, no children should be recruited, regardless

of whether they joined voluntarily or were coerced or forced to

do so.


     The organization has received disturbing reports of an

intensive recruitment drive in areas controlled by the LTTE in

the north and east of Sri Lanka. In Batticaloa district, hundreds

of people have been recruited over the last month or so in the

divisions of Vakarai, Vavunativu, Pattipalai, Porativu,

Eravurpattu and Koralaipattu. There have also been reports of

intensified recruitment in the Vanni, the area to the south of

the Jaffna peninsula largely controlled by the LTTE. Several

reports also indicate that many families in the Batticaloa area

were coerced with threats into letting their children be

recruited. Other families who refused were forced to leave their

homes and have now taken shelter with relatives in Batticaloa



     The total number of children recruited is difficult to

establish but it is estimated to be several hundred. The LTTE's

recruitment policy is that one person from each family has to do

"military service". The age limits reportedly currently applied

in Batticaloa district are from 15 to 45. However, Amnesty

International has received reports that children as young as 14

have been among those recruited.


     In an interview with Uthayan newspaper on 4 September,

Karikalan, a senior LTTE leader was quoted as having said: "We

were deeply moved recently to witness parents bringing their

children to enrol to fight. Mothers of Arasaditivu and

Kokkadicholai have written a new chapter in the history of the

Tamil struggle by their bravery." Karikalan has also been quoted

to have said that reports of forced conscription "were malicious

rumours spread by the military and government media".



In May 1998, the leadership of the LTTE told the United Nations

(UN) Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and

Armed Conflict that it would not use children under the age of 18

in combat, and would not recruit anyone under the age of 17.

However, since then, Amnesty International has received reports

that children much younger than 17 years of age have been

recruited as combatants.


     LTTE representatives have admitted that some of their

members are very young, but argue that they have not been forced

to join. They have also promised to investigate any complaints

regarding the recruitment of children under the age of 17, and

that if such children are found to have been recruited, they will

be released.


     Amnesty International opposes the use of children under

18 as soldiers by government and armed opposition groups, whether

they have been conscripted by force or joined on a voluntary

basis. It also opposes any form of recruitment, training or

deployment of children under the age of 18, including for support

roles such as messengers or porters.


     The LTTE are not the only armed political group

recruiting children in Sri Lanka. Amnesty International has also

received reliable reports of the recruitment of children by armed

Tamil groups cooperating with the security forces such as the

People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE). PLOTE

members were known to have recruited children as young as 12 in

the Vavuniya area in early 2001. Amnesty International raised

concern with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga at the

time. An inquiry by the Criminal Investigation Department later

found three children being trained at a PLOTE camp. They were

returned to their parents. Others known to have been recruited by

PLOTE however remained unaccounted for.



Amnesty International aims to promote the adoption and adherence

to national, regional and international legal standards

(including the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights

of the Child), which prohibit the military recruitment and

deployment in hostilities of any person younger than 18 years of

age. It also aims to promote the recognition and enforcement of

this standard by all armed forces and groups, both governmental

and non-governmental.




* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty

International *


30 October 2001

ASA 37/014/2001




Amnesty International condemned the indiscriminate killing of two

civilians and the wounding at least 13 civilians in Colombo

yesterday in the first suicide bomb attack in the capital for a



     The suicide bomber, believed to be a member of the

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), was apprehended by plain

clothes policemen in Chitra Lane, in the Narahenpita area of the

city, when he blew himself up.


     It is thought that the bomber may have intended to target

the Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, who was on his way

to attend a ceremony nearby.


     The attack has come at a time when the country is

preparing for parliamentary elections on 5 December. In the

run-up to earlier parliamentary elections on 10 October 2000, at

least 24 civilians were killed in two separate attacks on

election rallies by LTTE suicide bombers.


     The organization is appealing to the LTTE not to carry

out direct or indiscriminate attacks on civilians.




* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty

International *


28 January 2002

ASA 37/003/2002




Amnesty International welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court

of Sri Lanka which on 25 January 2002 granted 150,000 Sri Lankan

rupees (approximately US$ 1,600) compensation to Velu Arshadevi,

a Tamil woman who was raped in Colombo in June 2001.


      "This is a landmark judgement. It is the first time that

the court has awarded compensation to a rape victim, confirming

that rape in custody constitutes torture," Amnesty International



      Amnesty International is urging the Sri Lankan

authorities to ensure that the criminal prosecution of the three

soldiers and three police officers allegedly responsible for

raping Velu Arshadevi, who are currently released on bail, will

proceed shortly. If it were to go to trial, it would set another

precedent, constituting the first prosecution of members of the

security forces in relation to rape in custody.


      It is also urging that justice is assured to the other

victims of rape which the organization documented in a report,

Sri Lanka: Rape in custody, published today




* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty

International *


28 January 2002

ASA 37/002/2002




Allegations of rape in custody by army, police and navy officials

increased markedly in Sri Lanka last year, Amnesty International

said in a new report published today. The organization has

evidence of cases where women in custody were blindfolded,

beaten, had their clothes forcibly removed and were raped.


      The majority of incidents occurred in the context of the

armed conflict between the security forces and the Liberation

Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who are fighting for an autonomous

state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Many of the victims are

internally displaced women.


      "The fact that complaints of rape, like other complaints

of torture, are often not effectively dealt with by police,

magistrates or doctors challenges the government to tackle this

problem. Deficiencies in the early stages of the criminal

investigation process have repeatedly contributed to the ultimate

collapse of the investigation of the rape and the prosecution of

the perpetrators,"  Amnesty International said.


      "The new government of Prime Minister Ranil

Wickremasinghe must now do everything in its power to prevent

this grave sexual abuse of detainees."


The organization is urging the new Prime Minister to:


-- send a clear public message to all security forces personnel

that rape and other serious sexual violence in custody will not

be tolerated and that perpetrators of such offences will be

brought to justice and held accountable;


-- establish an independent investigative body with the necessary

powers and expertise to open criminal investigations where human

rights violations, including rape, are believed to have been



      Amnesty International has welcomed the steps taken by

successive governments over the last few years to combat torture,

such as the ratification of the UN Convention against Torture in

early 1994 and its incorporation into national law later that

year as well as the more recent inclusion of more specific crimes

of rape in custody and gang rape as acts punishable by a minimum

of 10 years imprisonment under the Penal Code. However, despite

those positive steps to date not one single member of the

security forces has been found guilty of rape in custody in a

court of law. Only in one case, where the victim was murdered,

the culprits were brought to justice.


      "Ensuring justice for the countless women who have been

victims of rape in custody, is an opportunity for the new Prime

Minister to redeem his party's election pledge to 'safeguard

women's rights', " Amnesty International concluded.


      Today the UN Committee on the Elimination of

Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is reviewing the periodic

report of the Sri Lanka government and Amnesty International

takes this opportunity to particulary highlight its concerns

about abuses of the rights of women in Sri Lanka.


Selected case study:

In March 2001, Sinnathamby Sivamany (24) and Ehamparam Wijikala

(22), two Tamil women , were arrested by members of the navy in

the coastal city of Mannar and taken to the office of a special

police unit. There, Ehamparam Wijikala was taken inside the

police station and brutally raped by two officers. In the

meantime, a navy officer climbed into the van and blindfolded

Sinnathamby with a sock aided by the driver of the van. This

officer then forcibly undressed and raped her. Some time

afterwards she was taken inside the office to the room in which

Ehamparam Wijikala was being held. Security forces personnel

present there beat her then demanding that she remove her

clothes. When she refused, Rajah, a male police officer, ordered

Ehamparam Wijikala to remove Sinnathamby's clothes. Both women

were made to parade naked in front of the men. They were then

made to sit in a crouched position; their hands and legs were

tied and attached to a pole which was then placed between two

tables so they were left hanging. They were in this position for

about 90 minutes and were pinched and beaten with a thick wire

during that time.