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DATE=6/1/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-250049 TITLE=LANKA / AMNESTY (L-ONLY) BYLINE=VANDANA CHOPRA DATELINE=COLOMBO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHDOG AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SAYS THERE ARE ALMOST DAILY REPORTS OF TORTURE IN THE ARMED CONFLICT BETWEEN GOVERNMENT SECURITY FORCES AND TAMIL TIGER REBELS IN SRI LANKA'S NORTH AND EAST. VANDANA CHOPRA HAS THE DETAILS FROM COLOMBO. TEXT: THE HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SAYS, ALTHOUGH SEVERAL POSITIVE STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN IN RECENT YEARS TO CURB TORTURE, THE PROBLEM CONTINUES IN THE SRI LANKAN ARMED FORCES AND POLICE AND WITH THE TAMIL TIGER REBELS. IN A SPECIAL REPORT TITLED "TORTURE IN CUSTODY" AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SAYS THERE IS STILL A LONG WAY TO GO BEFORE CHANGES IN THE LAW IN SRI LANKA LEAD THE ARMED FORCES TO STOP USING TORTURE. THE PROBLEM WAS SAID TO BE MOST SEVERE IN THE NORTH AND EAST OF THE COUNTRY WHERE MOST OF THE FIGHTING BETWEEN GOVERNMENT TROOPS AND REBELS IS TAKING PLACE. ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, ROUTINE METHODS OF TORTURE INCLUDED SUFFOCATION, NEAR DROWNINGS AND BEATINGS. THE AMNESTY GROUP NOT ONLY CRITICIZED THE GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA BUT ALSO CONDEMNED MANY OF THE METHODS OF THE TAMIL TIGER REBELS. THE REPORT SAYS CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS 14 YEARS HAVE BEEN FORCIBLY RECRUITED BY THE TIGER REBELS AND THEN TREATED BADLY ONCE THEY BECAME MEMBERS OF THE REBEL FORCE. ON MONDAY, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ISSUED A LEAFLET TITLED "WAR GAMES IN PARADISE- CHILD SOLDIERS IN SRI LANKA" SAYING TIGER GEURILLAS HAD STEPPED UP RECRUITMENT OF CHILD SOLDIERS LATE LAST YEAR AFTER SUFFERING HEAVY CASUALTIES ON THE BATTLEFRONT. LAST YEAR, THE NATION OF SRI LANKA APPEARED BEFORE THE UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE WHERE THE GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGED TORTURE AS A PROBLEM AND PLEDGED TO MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO IMPLEMENT THE COMMITTEE'S RECOMMENDATIONS TO STOP USING TORTURE ON ITS ENEMIES. (SIGNED) NEB/VC/PLM 01-Jun-99 3:57 AM EDT (0757 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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