Dear friends,

On tonight’s Newsnight, tomorrow on BBC World (outside UK -available here pt1 pt2 pt3), and on Saturday on BBC news (UK), we will hear the BBC tell the absolutely shocking story of people who have been raped, sexually abused, and tortured by the Sri Lankan Army as recently as last year.

We will hear the story of Nandini who was gang raped, Ravi who was tortured and forced to perform sexual acts, and Siva who was sadistically abused with barbed wire.


A Sri Lankan victim of sexual violence (in this case  from HRW’s report not the BBC documentary)

In the BBC World and Newsnight documentary we heard about 12 such cases. We hear that this constitutes an ongoing crime against humanity.

But it seems that is merely the tip of the iceberg. After all the BBC reported on another similar case last week, and ITV reported on another similar case the week before. Frances Harrison wrote up a similar case for Granta the week before. Roma Tearne wrote up a similar case in March. Human Rights Watch published 75 case studies earlier this year. And, as the Minority Rights Group reported, it is likely that many more go unreported.

This is an outrage and something must be done – this is why we have launched our campaign on sexual violence. Please do support it.

But in addition to all the horror stories there are other, perhaps more important, stories of brave victims who – despite everything they have endured – are starting to build a new life.

Many of the people on tonight’s documentary – including Nandini, Ravi, and Siva – and  and many more not featured on screen, are bravely and quietly putting their lives back together. Many of them are doing it in the UK. And some of them need your help.

A firm of solicitors we work with currently have 12 clients who are Sri Lankan rape survivors. They have asked not to be named so that this information isn’t used to help track down the people in the film. Several of their clients appeared on tonight’s documentary. All of them have applied for asylum in the UK. In order to get asylum they need to provide forensic evidence of their abuse. The NHS doctors that are treating them provide some basic reporting, but it is often not enough.

What is really needed is independent forensic evidence which they can submit in support of their asylum applications – so that they can acquire the security which comes from having refugee status. These reports could also form the basis of future war crimes prosecutions.

But high quality independent forensic examinations are expensive. Most independent experts charge £650 for an evaluation, and the highest quality reports cost £900. Many of the people who need these reports doing fled to the UK in only the clothes they were wearing and simply do not have the funds to pay for this service.

That is why we are appealing to you to help raise £10,000 to provide independent forensic reports for 12 victims – including several of the men and women interviewed by the BBC.

In most cases these forensic reports have already been commissioned on credit, and so this money will largely be used to offset the financial hardship caused by paying for these reports. If we cannot raise that amount the solicitors will means test the amount we do get, so that the most needing and deserving cases will receive the funds. So please do give what you can. Every penny will help.

The best way to send money is via Paypal. It is safe, fast, and can be completely anonymous. Just click this button:

…. and give what you can.

And if you are interested in supporting people like Nandini, Ravi and Siva in other ways then please give us a call. We are on +44 207 324 4677 and would be happy to talk to you about other ways in which you can help.

These people are incredibly strong, and many of them are now building happy lives. They do not need your pity but some of them do need your support. Please help.

Kind Regards,

The Sri Lanka Campaign

The small print:

All donations will be spent in line with our donations policy: If we are unable to use your contribution for the purpose you specify, either because of oversubscription or for another unforeseen reason, it is our policy to use your contribution to support further campaigning in the area concerned or other critical global campaigns. Approximately 80% of funds donated via this appeal goes directly into funding witnesses to rights violations in telling their story. The other 20% goes to important organizational needs like management, fundraising, legal advice, accounting support, and infrastructure, all of which are vital to effective campaigning.