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This article is taken from the Reconciliation Website, www.peaceinsrilanka.org which subsumes the old site www.peaceinsrilanka.lk used by the former Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP).

Mass wedding of ex-LTTE combatants

While I was in Vavuniya last week at the Rehabilitation Centre where the Entrepreneurship Training Programme for Ex-Combatants was taking place, I was shown a video of the mass weddings of former combatants that had taken place a few months earlier. Vivek Oberoi had signed the register, and I had been told the occasion was one of great rejoicing. However, when we had a meeting with Civil Society regarding the Human Rights Action Plan, which our Ministry had formulated in 2009 and which is now being finalized by the Attorney General, it was alleged that the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation had forced youngsters into wedlock.

Questioning revealed that this was the usual type of loose statement indulged in by individuals who see themselves as operating protection agencies, or rackets, that depend on extorting money from frightened donors. The best way of frightening them is alleging untold horrors. Indignant allegations of rape had been for instance a favourite, soon after the welfare centres were established, though calls for evidence and careful sifting of allegations soon revealed that what had occurred was within the welfare centres, with no involvement by the security forces. Unfortunately, whether in extended families, or in crowded tents, unscrupulous elements had taken advantage of vulnerable women.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

February 2011
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