British rights group documents 85 new cases of torture by Sri Lanka

“If the British government wants to be taken seriously in its stated commitment to using the Commonwealth meeting to highlight human rights issues, it must first come clean about how it has facilitated this abuse through the Home Office’s forced removals programme,” said Freedom from Torture, the Chief Executive of Freedom from Torture, a UK based medical foundation, which provides therapeutic care for survivors of torture, in a statement issued on 01 November. The charity also stated that it had documented a further 85 cases of ‘post-conflict’ torture since the publication of ‘Out of the Silence’ in 2011.

Freedom from Torture has been at the forefront of efforts to expose evidence that certain categories of Tamils returning to the island from the UK in the post-war period are at serious risk of torture.

In a recently published 2012/13 Annual Review, Sri Lanka surged ahead to become the top country of origin for those referred to Freedom from Torture for clinical services in 2012, the group further said.

The total number of cases of person tortured since the end of war whose injuries the rights group has documented now stands at a staggering 120, the rights group said on Friday.

“Detailed clinical evidence we presented to both the Home Office and the FCO was repeatedly distorted in policies about the risk to people forcibly removed to Sri Lanka,” the group said adding that a cross-departmental review of the British government’s handling of evidence and other sources is essential.

“With so much depending on the international community and its readiness to exert greater pressure on the Sri Lankan government, the sight of Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague, the Prince of Wales, and dozens of other heads of government shaking hands with the Sri Lankan leaders who permit torture brings little comfort.”

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