The South Africa-based International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) released findings in a landmark report Wednesday, which revealed new evidence of torture and sexual violence carried out by Sri Lankan security forces in 2015.
“Torture and repression” is “widespread and systematic” in Sri Lanka, the ITJP report states. Based on the testimony of 20 survivors of torture, according to the ITJP findings the victims said they were arbitrarily detained, tortured or gang raped while in the custody of security forces in 2015.
“Almost all the statements are taken by lawyers with deep expertise and experience in assessing a survivor’s credibility and if anything was doubtful it would be excluded,” said Frances Harrison, a spokesperson for the organization.
The report calls on the Sri Lankan government to take immediate steps in order to address “the current climate of impunity” if it is serious about stopping torture and sexual violence.
In response to the recent findings, Sri Lankan government spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne dismissed allegations of torture. The Defense Ministry "has not got any information regarding this,” he said.
Sri Lanka's long-running civil war between the government and Tamil rebels ended in 2009. Both sides were accused of committing war crimes.
Around 70 percent of Sri Lanka's population is Sinhalese Buddhist majority but it has a significant Tamil minority.