Lankan military 'sexually abused' Tamil girls in refugee camps

Lankan military 'sexually abused' Tamil girls in refugee camps

According to 25-year-old Vany Kumar, who was locked up in a refugee camp for four months, along with many who escaped the horrors of the civil war, not only military guards traded sex for food with Tamil women but prisoners were also being made to kneel for hours in the sun, 'The Observer' reported.

"It was a concentration camp, where people were not even allowed to talk, not even allowed to go near the fences. Sexual abuse is something that was a common thing, that I personally saw. In the visitor area relatives would be the other side of the fence and we would be in the camp.

"Girls came to wait for their relatives and military officers would come and touch them, and that's something I saw. The girls usually didn't talk back to them, as they knew that in the camp if they talked anything could happen to them.

"It was quite open, everyone could see the military officers touching the girls. Tamil girls usually don't talk about sexual abuse, they won't open their mouths about it but I heard the officers were giving the women money or food in return for sex. These people were desperate for anything," Kumar said.

Kumar, from Essex, was released from internment in September, but she has waited until now to reveal the full scale of her ordeal in the hope of avoiding reprisals against friends and family held with her. They have now been released.

The Sri Lankan government has confirmed to the British newspaper that it had received reports from the UN agencies of physical and sexual abuse within the refugee camps but said it had not been possible to substantiate the allegations.

Rajiva Wijesinha, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, said "there was a lot of sex going on" inside the camps, but he claimed that most reports involved abuse by fellow detainees.

"I can't tell you nothing happened, because I was not there. Individual aberrations could have happened, but our position is 'Please tell us and they will be looked into'," he told the newspaper.

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