STOP torture
and rape
by the
security forces
in Sri Lanka
STOP torture and rape by the security forces in Sri Lanka

The fighting stopped in Sri Lanka five years ago but torture and rape by the security forces hasn’t. Here you will find horrifying tales from survivors of Sri Lanka’s notorious “white vans” run by the police and army. Most were targeted because they were suspected supporters or members of the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels. Forty survivors – men and women - describe being handcuffed and blindfolded, thrown into darkened cells where they were repeatedly subjected to torture, including branding with hot metal objects and multiple rapes so brutal that they were left heavily bleeding. These people only lived to tell the tale because their families paid large bribes to the security forces for their release; nobody knows what happens to those without money or relatives to save them.

The shame and social stigma around rape and sexual violence is so intense that witnesses wept, shook and even vomited at the recollection of their ordeal. Nearly half tried to commit suicide after their release. They still bear terrible scars –cigarette burn marks, branding marks, whip lashes, and of course the psychological trauma. In many cases, even abroad their torment doesn’t end because the security forces continue to target their families remaining in Sri Lanka. More than half were abducted as recently as 2013 and 2014 and have only just reached safety. abroad.

The evidence gathered here indicates these violations are part of a plan approved by the highest levels of government. Security officers know they are safe in committing these crimes; no action will be taken against them. This body of new testimony establishes a prima facie case of ongoing crimes against humanity by the Sri Lankan security forces, with respect to (a) torture and (b) rape and sexual violence.

Action must be taken to bring the perpetrators to justice. Every witness said they were recounting their ordeal in the hope that these crimes would stop and nobody else would have to suffer as they did.