The recent news of Sri Lanka’s post war atrocities against Tamil minorities is a bitter reminder that the oppression of Tamils still continue to persist, despite the adamant claims by the government stating that the end of the civil war has given way to growth and development of much of the country, especially in the Northern region. Reports of continuous kidnapping, rape and torture of Tamil minority men in the hands of the Sri Lankan army surfaced this week as more than 50 men seeking asylum in Europe shared their stories of post war suffering to The Associated Press.
Allegations of sexual abuse by the Sri Lankan authorities have been a long noted problem not only limited to the treatment of Tamil minorities. With the end of the civil war, and the lack of investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence during and after the war, the Sri Lankan authorities have built a culture of impunity that has carried itself over international waters.
From 2004 to 2007, Sri Lankan peace officers were deployed to Haiti under the United Nations. During that time, multiple reports of sexual abuse by the Sri Lankan peace officers against women and children including a sex ring operation with nine children, some as young as 12 came to light. Around 134 members of the Sri Lankan military were implicated in this operation, and 114 of those men sent back to Sri Lanka without facing prosecution by the government.
It is the lack of consequences that allow the continuous act of terror against the Tamil minorities. With Northern Sri Lankans living for decades under oppression, hopes of peace after the war are endlessly met with bitter disappointment and fear.
The victory of the Sri Lankan army has created an abuse of power and control that was highlighted in a 2012 article by the Washington Post. In that article, Tamil women shared experiences of facing daily humiliation of life under the army. With the army taking control over the Northern territory, much of the life and economic development have been under their control, with Tamils having little say.
Despite numerous calls by the United Nations for Sri Lanka to prosecute military personnel for war crimes, the on-going denial of such crimes by the Sri Lankan authorities continues to be the biggest hindrance to the rebuilding of communities that have long awaited to see accountability and justice. As such, with the continuous impunity that seems to coat the Sri Lankan army, Tamils will, sadly, continue to live in terror, waiting for peace that may never come.