One of the many conflicts in the world that doesn’t get much media coverage has been the civil war in Sri Lanka, which officially ended in 2009 but the scars of which still linger on.
The conflict raged on for 26 years and was fought between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who were fighting for an independent homeland for the Tamil minority, and the Sinhalese-dominated government. The Tigers were labelled a terrorist organisation after a wave of suicide bombings, whereas the government was also accused of war crimes after the apparently targeted civilians – although they strongly deny these crimes.
The Tigers eventually admitted defeat in 2009 but Tamil men are claiming that they face being raped and tortured under the current incumbent government. Several of these men have now been extradited to Europe were they are awaiting decision on political asylum.
They are now sharing their stories and photographs of their wounds as an attempt to raise awareness about the crimes of the current government against Tamil men in the country. Here are a few of their stories:
Witness #197: We were accused of trying to revive the Tamil Tiger rebel group and were tortured from early 2016 to July this year.
My captors burned me with cigarettes, kicked my chest, tried to suffocate me with a bag filled with petrol and raped me.
Everyone thinks of Sri Lanka as such a beautiful place, but now my head is just filled with negativity. I want to make sure that nothing like this happens to anyone else.
Witness #199: I have tried to kill himself multiple times because of the traumatic memories of my rape and torture.
Witness #205: I was beaten, water-boarded, hung upside down, burned with cigarettes and raped during my detention by the Sri Lankan security forces. Despite the civil war ending in 2009, the war against Tamils hasn’t stopped.
Witness #244: I wake up most nights to nightmares and survive on a mixture of sleeping pills and anti-depressants.
Witness #249: My captors used hot iron rods to make the marks meant to symbolize tiger stripes for the Tamil Tigers rebel group.
Witness #267 I was raped and burned more than 60 times with cigarettes during my detention earlier in the year in Sri Lanka. I can’t talk about this anymore, I’m not anywhere near through this.
Jesus. I don’t know if these guys were trying to re-engage the Tamil Tigers or they were just trying to live their lives, but I don’t think anyone should be subjugated to this kind of treatment no matter what their intentions. I hope that these men manage to recover from their ordeals and that justice os served for those who inflicted it upon them.