Women Tamil Fighters, then and now

13.06.2011 § Leave a comment

MIA just tweeted sum interesting recent reportage on Sri Lankan civil war (1983-2009):

… an investigation into the final weeks of the quarter-century-long civil war between the government and the secessionist rebels, the Tamil Tigers; featuring devastating new video evidence of war crimes – some of the most horrific footage Channel 4 has ever broadcast.

Captured on mobile phones, both by Tamils under attack and government soldiers as war trophies, the disturbing footage shows: the extra-judicial executions of prisoners; the aftermath of targeted shelling of civilian camps and dead female Tamil fighters who appear to have been raped or sexually assaulted, abused and murdered.

The film airs as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon faces growing criticism for refusing to launch an investigation into, “credible allegations,” that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes during the closing weeks of the bloody conflict with the Tamil Tigers. Last month, Ban Ki-moon published a report by a UN-appointed panel of experts which concluded that as many as forty thousand people were killed in the final weeks of the decades-long war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces. It called for the creation of an international mechanism to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed by government forces and the Tamil Tigers during that time.

Another article about  female Tamil Fighters , being ‘rehabilitated’ through work at ‘major apparel exporter’ in 2010…

Four hundred women who once fought for Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam left rehabilitations camps in the northern district of Vavuniya last month and made the seven-hour trip south to a hostel here set up for them by a major apparel exporter.

Fourteen months ago many of them carried arms. They gave them up in May when Sri Lankan troops won the 30-year battle with the separatist group. Now, with their lives as guerrillas behind them, they faced new jobs in clothing factories owned by the Tri Star Group, a major apparel exporter in Sri Lanka that has set up housing for the ex-combatants.

They arrived in the evening and the next morning they would be enrolled as machine operators in three garment plants a few miles away. Each day Tri Star buses transport them to work and back.

In the rehabilitation camp they were taught to meditate, participated in theatrical activities and received training on beauty, culture and personal care.

Almost a year later, it was time to rejoin society.

“I am here to begin a new life,” said Manju, who only goes by one name. She spoke Tamil and communicated through a translator in a meeting at one of the hostels, furnished with beds, toilets and bathing facilities.

As she spoke other women, who had also just arrived, sipped soft drinks and arranged their belongings in the drawers that had been allotted to them. “I am excited about coming here. From tomorrow, I will be a working woman. I will never touch a gun again,” she said.


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