Girls came to wait for their relatives and military officers would come and touch them, and that's something I saw. So I would get up early in the morning about 3. I stayed next to the police station, so every day I had a bath with the police officers looking at me, men and women. Kumar, a biomedical graduate, was incarcerated in May in what she describes as a "concentration camp", along with nearly , Tamil civilians who managed to escape the slaughter which accompanied the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels, who had been fighting for 25 years for a separate state on the island. Share via Email This article is over 8 years old Tamil women interned after escaping the horrors of the civil war in Sri Lanka were sexually abused by their guards who traded sex for food, a British medic has revealed. The government didn't want people to tell what happened to them, about the missing or the disappearances or the sexual abuse. It could have been sex for pleasure, it could have been sex for favours, or it could have been a discussion on Ancient Greek philosophy, we don't know.
I know people still searching for family members. They have now been released after the Sri Lankan government bowed to international pressure this month and opened the camps. That feeling still won't go. I stayed next to the police station, so every day I had a bath with the police officers looking at me, men and women. When I arrived at the camp I put my bag down and just cried. Girls came to wait for their relatives and military officers would come and touch them, and that's something I saw. The government didn't want people to tell what happened to them, about the missing or the disappearances or the sexual abuse. Kumar, 25, from Essex, was released from internment in September, but has waited until now to reveal the full scale of her ordeal in the hope of avoiding reprisals against friends and family held with her. Kumar, a biomedical graduate, was incarcerated in May in what she describes as a "concentration camp", along with nearly , Tamil civilians who managed to escape the slaughter which accompanied the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels, who had been fighting for 25 years for a separate state on the island. So I would get up early in the morning about 3. The Sri Lankan government says it is aware of allegations of sexual abuse and punishment of prisoners, but denied large-scale abuse. They didn't want anyone to know. Most of the time you were queuing for water. The basic needs like water and food [were] always a problem. We didn't know where to go to get food. It denied that prisoners had disappeared. Sometimes it lasted for hours. In response, a UN spokesman accused Colombo of "doing everything it could" to obstruct attempts to monitor the welfare of the hundreds of thousands interned in the camps. The Sri Lankan government confirmed to the Observer that it had received reports from United Nations agencies of physical and sexual abuse within the camps, but maintained that it had not been possible to substantiate the allegations. Sri Lanka has consistently denied mistreating the detainees, but Kumar's damning new evidence will bolster the claims of human rights organisations which have repeatedly criticised the government in Colombo. The camp was guarded by armed soldiers and ringed with high fences and rolls of razor wire. Working amid heavy shelling in an improvised field hospital, she had spent months helping save the lives of hundreds of civilians wounded as they were caught between advancing government soldiers and the cornered Tigers. After two or three days of continuous rain, the sewage was floating on the water and going into the tents and everyone [was] walking through it, up to knee height. In the visitor area relatives would be the other side of the fence and we would be in the camp. It was quite open, everyone could see the military officers touching the girls," she said. Rajiva Wijesinha, the permanent secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, said "there was a lot of sex going on" inside the camp, but he claimed that most reports involved abuse by fellow detainees. White vans hold a particular terror in Sri Lanka, where they are associated with the abduction of thousands of people by death squads.
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