You may have read the statement from the Women’s Action Network (WAN) we released over the weekend. It told the story of how, in order to show the international community that the Sri Lankan Army was no longer entirely Sinhalese, they were forcibly recruiting Tamil women. They did this using a mixture of deception (telling them the jobs were civilian when they were in fact military), preying on the vulnerable (young widows and women who had to provide for seriously ill relatives), and by refusing to allow the women they had conned into signing up from leaving.
It is very concerning. But more concerning still is a story we received from a trusted source this morning. The BBC Tamil service ran the story in Tamil and we are placing the information we received below:
Recent Female Army Recruits Admitted to Kilinochchi Hospital Late Last Night
- Of the women recently recruited to the 6th Brigade of the Sri Lankan Army (SLA), 20 were admitted to the Kilinochchi district hospital on December 11, 2012 between 11.00 pm and 12.30 am.
- They had recently been trained in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts
- They were brought from Navam Arivu Koodam located in a village called Krishnapuram. Killinochi West
- Upon arrival at the hospital, some of the women were unconscious.
- They were immediately isolated from the other patients and subsequently detained in a small room in the hospital’s northern section.
- The northern section of the hospital is not accessible to the public; it is used exclusively by army personnel.
- Shortly after the group of women was admitted, a large group of army personnel (male and female) gathered at the hospital.
- Only SLA doctors and nurses are looking after these female patients.
- Some of those who have been admitted remain unconscious.
- It has been reported that those admitted are all Tamil. However, since some of the women are conversant in Sinhala, people suspect that some of the admitted patients are Sinhalese.
- Dr. Karthikayan, the regional director of health services and district medical superintendent, has allowed only one Tamil attendant to enter the room where the patients are being kept. Other people have not been permitted to enter.
- Dr. Karthikayan has earned a reputation as an ardent supporter of the Sri Lankan government. Perhaps out of fear, hospital staff members have refused to give out any information.
- Since people still do not know who has been admitted, the relatives of those who were recently recruited have been left wondering. As a result, many have congregated near the hospital.
- As of the writing of this report, no family members have been allowed to visit those who have been hospitalized.
- Due to the large number of army personnel situated near the hospital, the atmosphere remains tense.
- TNA Parliamentarian Sritharan visited the hospital on our request and he was not allowed to see the women. In addition, the mother of a young woman has gone to the hospital and was not allowed to see her daughter. Subsequently, she was taken by the official of the military (higher official) and the outcome is not known.