UN expresses concern over sexual violence in Sri Lanka

Saturday, 26 April 2014 01:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

NEW YORK: The United Nations has expressed concerns over sexual violence during and after the war in Sri Lanka and raised the need for the Sri Lankan Government to address the issue. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura told media in New York at the press briefing to launch UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s annual report on the sexual violence in conflict, that the UN is worried and concerned over the incidents of sexual violence in Sri Lanka. The senior UN official said she has had discussions with Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Dr. Palitha Kohona on the issue. “We both have agreed that we need to sit back and put down in detail what should be done and what they should address. But the most important thing we have said to them is for them to actually appoint a focal person to deal with this,” she said. “Because we are also very concerned and we are very worried with it,” she added. The official expressed hope that the UN, apart from the open discussion, can have a discussion with the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure sexual violence is addressed. Bangura said she will have a meeting with the South African human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka, who was a member of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka, next week and together, they can discuss what can be done on the issue in Sri Lanka. “We will definitely raise the issue and try to do something,” the official assured. In a report released last month Sooka alleged that Tamils who had been detained by Sri Lankan authorities had suffered some form of sexual abuse. The report urged the UN representative on sexual violence to visit Sri Lanka and initiate an inquiry into the allegations of abuse, and called on the UN to suspend Sri Lanka’s involvement in peacekeeping operations.