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But all told similar tales: they were abducted at home or off the streets by men in white or green vans, they were tortured for days or weeks or months, a family member often secured their release through a bribe, and they made their way to Europe using smugglers."I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye to my wife before I fled for England." Now, after all he has endured, Witness #249 relates to the tragic characters in the works of his beloved Shakespeare: broken and cursed. When questioned about allegations of continued use of torture against suspects in police custody and impunity for alleged perpetrators, Sri Lanka's Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya said the country's constitution prohibited torture and that strengthening human rights was a cornerstone of its current agenda.Upon the ambassador's return to Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena vowed that neither Jayasuriya nor any other "war hero" would face prosecution — a pledge that rights groups said illustrates the government's refusal to investigate its own soldiers accused of war crimes.Nevertheless, Sri Lanka's international profile is on the rise. peacekeeping missions and was recently asked to sit on a U. leadership committee trying to combat sexual abuse. is unable to confirm this until we mount an investigation, clearly the reports are horrifying and merit a much closer inspection from our part, especially if they occurred in 20," said Zeid, the U. The International Truth and Justice Project has gathered testimony from more than 60 Sri Lankans across Europe — 52 of whom were part of the AP's investigation.Though rape carries a significant social stigma, the victims said they felt obligated to tell their stories."I want the world to know what is happening in Sri Lanka," a 22-year-old known as Witness #205 told the AP during an interview in July.
"They heated up iron rods and burned my back with stripes," he told the AP, closing his eyes and rocking back and forth.Last year, Sri Lankan authorities were called to Geneva to testify before the U. He also said "strict action" would be taken against perpetrators of human rights violations. "Unless those responsible for these crimes are tackled head on and held accountable, this will not end," said Frances Harrison, project manager for the International Truth and Justice Project.Many Tamils contend that the government continues to target them as part of a larger plan to destroy their culture.Tamils speak a different language and are largely Hindu, unlike the largely Buddhist Sinhalese majority. Sri Lankan authorities have denied targeting civilians and dispute the toll.More than 100,000 people were estimated to have died in the war, including at least up to 40,000 civilians in its final months, according to U. Witness #205, who reported that he was held for 21 days and tortured, said he was accused of belonging to the Tamil Tigers.