Eyewitness accounts, UN reports, and testimony provided by senior members of the Sri Lankan security forces to the government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC, 2010-2011) all attest to extensive personal data collection by the government during the final stages of the war and its immediate aftermath. This appears to have occurred at multiple ‘exit points’ near the front-line of battle – driven largely by the government’s stated desire to ‘screen out’ all those with links to the surrendering LTTE (‘Tamil Tiger’) forces.

The final report of the LLRC states that the following information was collected by the Sri Lankan authorities from those arriving at Omanthai, the principal checkpoint through which thousands of those moving from LTTE to government held territory passed: “Name, identity card number, address, family details, places resided during the recent past, district, Grama Niladari Division, age, sex, and marital status.” It describes this data as being “taken down by hand and then, on a daily basis, transferred to computers maintained by the Army at Vavuniya. This information was then transmitted through Computer Discs to Army Headquarters in Colombo where a data base had been maintained.”

The UN Panel of Experts report (2011) also documents the use of data collection at a number of points even closer to the front-lines, including at “initial screening sites” in Kilinochchi, Pulmoddai and Padaviya. The UN OISL report (2015) further notes the existence of screening points at Vadduvakal Bridge and Mullaitivu, with individuals also being screened after registering as internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the notorious Manik Farm internment camp.