Torture is an enabled tool in the Sri Lanka government's  war against the Tamil people. Tens of thousands of Tamils have been tortured and killed in Sri Lanka since 1975.

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

- Article 5 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. res. 217A (III), U.N. Doc A/810 at 71 (1948).

"… the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person. in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture…"

- Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, 75 U.N.T.S. 31, entered into force Oct. 21, 1950.

"… the following acts against the persons referred to in paragraph I are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever:

(a) Violence to the life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder as well as cruel treatment such as torture, mutilation or any form of corporal punishment;
(b) Collective punishments;
(c) Taking of hostages;
(d) Acts of terrorism;
(e) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault;
(f)Slavery and the slave trade in all their forms;
(g) Pillage;
(h) Threats to commit any of the foregoing acts."

-Fundamental guarantees Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 1125 U.N.T.S. 609, entered into force Dec. 7, 1978. PART II HUMANE TREATMENT Article 4.

  There are laws in the statute books of Sri Lanka, such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act No 48 of 1979, the Indemnity Act No. 20 of 1982, etc., that empower its armed forces to - arrest without warrants, detain without basic legal safeguards and dispose victim's bodies without inquests, etc.

Sri Lanka has been ranked 2nd in the world in involuntary disappearances by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (1980 - 1996).

Innumerable reports and pleas by a number of international human rights groups have been summarily dismissed.

Reprisals by death squads makes it unsafe to collect information on Torture in Sri Lanka.

In these pages you will find a few select published reports on torture in Sri Lanka.

For a more reports please visit

bulletUN Special Rapporteur on Torture - Feb 2000
bulletA Rare Inquest
bulletThe Stories of Mala & Rama - December 1998
bulletTortured Raped Detainee Set Free - November 1998
bulletAHRC Report - August 1999
bulletWorld Organization Against Torture (offsite)

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