COLOMBO, Oct 19: Backed by statistics, the Sri Lankan military has denied allegations by international human rights organisations about sexual violence by its troops in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and that land is being grabbed from civilians.

The London-based Minority Rights Group and the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) have, in recent times, accused the Sri Lankan military of sexual exploitation of Tamil and Muslim women in the former conflict zones.

In a note circulated among media organisations here, military spokesman Brig. Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that a study of incidents of sexual offences which had occurred in the North between January 2007 and May 2012, had revealed that during the conflict period (January 2007 – May 2009), seven security forces personnel were reported as being involved in five incidents of sexual violence in the North.

This was out of a total of 125 persons accused in 119 incidents in the entire Northern Province. The ethnicity of the victims of these cases was: four Sinhalese and one Tamil.

In the post conflict period (May 2009 – May 2012) ten soldiers were reported as being involved in six incidents of sexual violence in the North.

This is out of a total of 307 persons accused in 256 incidents in the entire Northern Province. The ethnicity of the victims was: 2 Tamil, one Muslim and three Sinhalese.

“This decline clearly demonstrates that the allegation that the presence of the Security Forces in the North contributes to the insecurity of women and girls is a myth,” Brig.Wanigasooriya said.

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