Monday, October 05, 2009

Sri Lanka: U.S. State department - no recent rape cases by Sri Lanka army

By Walter Jayawardhana
Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order - Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

The United States went back on the statement of Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton and said the US does not have any recent evidence of women being raped while in Sri Lankan government custody.

Hillary Clinton generating widespread condemnation mentioned Sri Lanka as a country which uses rape as a military tactic while speaking at the Security Council meeting of the United Nations recently.

The Sri Lanka government officially protested against her statement and the cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said Sri Lanka totally rejected and condemned the Clinton statement.

In a letter addressed to the Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama the State Department said there had been such charges only in the past- "over the years."

Melane Verveer, ambassador at large for global women issues of the State Department writing the letter to the Sri Lanka Foreign Minister said, "in the most recent phase of the conflict, from 2006 to 2009 ... we have not received reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war, as they clearly have in other conflict area around the world."

The letter further said, "We hope that this clarification puts the issue in its proper context."

The letter however said, "Secretary Clinton believes that Sri Lanka must focus to the future and move forward on the promotion of peace and the protection of human rights."

"We've seen rape used as a tactic of war before in Bosnia, Burma and Sri Lanka and elsewhere", the US secretary of state had said addressing the Security Council meeting. Following her statement by Secretary of State Clinton was widely condemned by the government as well as other political parties.

Wimal Weerawansa, leader of the National Freedom Front said her statement exposed from where the LTTE terrorists received their support over the years. The JHU held a protest demonstration condemning her in front of the US embassy in Colombo. They called the statement as mudsling and irresponsible. Many websites warned her not to pelt stones while living in glass houses.

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