HomePoliticsCorruptionSri Lankan Army Accused of Mistreating Women

Sri Lankan Army Accused of Mistreating Women

To enroll in the armed forces is to dedicate and devote your life for the sake of your nation; it is the most honorable and noble service you can  provide for your country. But for the women of Sri Lanka, being in the army is not an honor, but a cruel and painful dishonor. To inflict pain as a form of discipline or training is inhumane, and to have such treatment inflicted upon women detainees and soldiers themselves is humiliating and degrading.

Real and uncut, the 5 minute video depicts weird and demeaning forms of  “training.” Believed to be recorded on a phone of a soldier, the video shows the men making the women crawl back and forth on their hands and knees while getting hit with sticks. The video was just leaked, but the incident itself had taken place in October of 2012.

Due to the “authenticity” of the footage, the Sri Lankan military accepted responsibility and launched an investigation as stated by a military spokesman. Specifically Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said, “According to a preliminary report, the instructors (the troops) have punished the recruits for an act in violation of military discipline… However, the method adopted is not in accordance with standard procedures.” With many other allegations regarding poor treatment of women in general, it raises the question of what really are the “standard” procedures?

Since the civil war, the Sri Lankan and the Tamil have accused each other of horrendous acts, yet, Sri Lanka has (so far) only accepted the consequences of the leaked authenticated footage of the mistreatment of their female recruits. According to many different sources, the Sri Lankan have been accused of executing and sexually abusing the Tamil women. Not only this, but Yasmin Sooka of the UN, had written in a study that government officials themselves have been accused of raping and torturing the Tamil after the war; torturing them with water, forced oral sex, and anal sex. Not only are women being abused, but another accusation, which also had video proof, was presented to the UN. It was alleged that the Sri Lankan soldiers had opened fire upon a group of 40,000 innocent people in a no-fire zone. As a response to all these allegations, Colombo denied the killing of the civilians and accused the Tamil of using civilians for shields.

Torture, rape and degrading others in front of their peers is disgusting and inhumane. For the Sri Lankan government, releasing a statement saying that humiliation and torture of the recruits was not  “standard procedures,” does not exempt the troops  and nor does it do justice to the seriousness of the matter. Women were targeted by men, beaten with sticks and told to crawl on the floor. This is not to be forgotten quickly. The Sri Lankan government has been accused of many horrible things regarding women, and such specific and strong allegations should not be taken lightly; something needs to be done.

[Image Attribute: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade]
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