SRI LANKA: Security forces getting away with rape

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's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights 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's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights 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.

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