Tamil refugees forced into sex rackets
Sri Lankan military is alleged running prostitution ring using women kept in the Camp. It is further alleged, no action was taken by the senior government officials although it was brought to their attention.
Aid workers told The Australian yesterday officials at the internally displaced people's camp in Pulmoddai, a remote northeast region, are running the prostitution ring using women kept in the camp.
The Australian understands the allegations are the subject of a joint investigation between the Sri Lankan government and an aid organisation.
"It's been brought to the attention of senior government officials but no one seems to be doing anything about it," said an aid worker, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.
As usual, Sri Lankan government officials denied the allegations, and claims that the military "could have raped every single woman on the way if they wanted to." But also claims, since tents are very close together it would be impossible to have racket going.
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Palitha Kohona described the claims as "absolute rubbish", but confirmed the government was investigating the reports.
"These (the military) are the guys who were winning the war - they could have raped every single woman on the way if they wanted to. Not one single woman was raped," he told The Australian last night.
"I am sure in a mass of people there may be individuals who want to make a quick buck one way or another, but you have to remember the tents are so close together you can't do anything without the entire neighbourhood knowing. If you had a racket going, thousands of people would know about it."
Its important to note that UN expressed concern regarding men and women believed to be Tamil Tiger fighters were removed without proper documentation.
A UN official said yesterday many families remained separated in the camps and that men and women believed to be Tamil Tiger fighters were being removed with "no due process or proper documentation, like arrest receipts, given to parents or guardians". "These issues are of huge concern for us," the official said. "The lack of freedom of movement is a violation of human rights under Sri Lanka's own constitution."
IDPs had a mass protest at one of the camps and military increased restriction. Military had opened fire during the protest, while Tamilnet.com claimed two people were killed, aid worked suggested troops only fired into air.
The restrictions have heightened tensions in the camps, including a mass protest in the Ramanathan camp in the northern town of Vavuniya on Sunday in which IDPs tried to break down barbed-wire fences separating one camp zone - and many relatives - from another.
Tamilnet.com claimed two people were killed and at least two were injured when troops opened fire on the refugees.
But reports from aid workers in the camp suggested troops fired only into the air, causing no casualties, and that camp officials reached a compromise that allowed the IDPs movement between the two camps
UN Sri Lanka coordinator stated that Camp conditions are improving but "the main thing is people are still inside these camps, and can't go anywhere.
UN Sri Lanka co-ordinator Neil Buhne said camp conditions were slowly improving, thanks to better water and sanitation facilities.
"But the main thing is people are still inside these camps and they can't go anywhere. The government has made public commitments to get 80 per cent of people back to their homes by the end of the year (after separating civilians from the fighters) but that's going to be a difficult target to meet."