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British group: Tamil detainees beaten, raped in Sri Lanka

March 21, 2014 at 3:45 PM   |   Comments

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LONDON, March 21 (UPI) -- Tamils detained by Sri Lanka after the end of the long civil war were subjected to physical abuse and sexual violence, a British legal group says.

The United Kingdom Bar Human Rights Committee said its report was based on interviews with 40 detainees, the Guardian reported Thursday. Some in the group had been returned to Sri Lanka after seeking asylum in Australia.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, known as the Tamil Tigers, waged a civil war against the Sri Lankan government for 26 years, beginning in 1983. In 2009, the military trapped the remaining rebel forces in a small area and completely defeated them.

The report cited beatings, torture and anal rape of detainees.

"The cases of torture, rape and sexual violence described in this report are just a small sample of those crimes likely to have been committed against Tamils," Yasmin Sooka, a human rights lawyer, said. "The international community must act now, otherwise such atrocities will continue to define post-conflict Sri Lanka."

The report questioned changes in Australian immigration policy that allow asylum seekers to be returned to their home countries without access to lawyers.

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