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Sri Lanka: Information on whether the "white van" is related to rape, torture and killing and is connected to the army or police; and on any incidents of "white van" killings in Colombo since 1994

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 February 1996
Citation / Document Symbol LKA23176.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Sri Lanka: Information on whether the "white van" is related to rape, torture and killing and is connected to the army or police; and on any incidents of "white van" killings in Colombo since 1994, 1 February 1996, LKA23176.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ac7117.html [accessed 23 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

Information on these subjects is scarce among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

The following information refers to documentary references to "white vans" throughout Sri Lanka.

According to the January 1996 Sri Lanka Information Monitor attachment, R.K.M. Ranatunge of Kurunegala district was abducted by people in a white van on 17 January 1996 and his body was found burning on tires the following day (9).

According to The Sri Lanka Monitor of September 1995, at least 15 civilians have been abducted in "death squad white vans in Army-controlled areas of Trincomalee" (3). The August 1995 Sri Lanka Monitor attachment refers to a mid-August 1995 failed attempt by a gang to force three Tamil students into a white van in south Colombo (3).

According to the Tamil Information attachment of July-September 1995,

In Colombo, the Hill Country and other southern areas Tamils are being arrested and harassed. A number of Tamils have disappeared. Death squad white vans have been seen in Colombo, abducting Tamils. Nearly 40 bodies have been found in lakes and rivers. Most of the victims have now been identified as Tamils. The death-squad killings continue even after the arrest of several STF officers. Reports say a special unit under Colombo police chief Kottakadeniya is responsible for the killings (3).

Additional information on the "white vans" could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

        The Sri Lanka Information Monitor: Situation Report [Colombo]. January 1996. "Extra Judicial Killings."

The Sri Lanka Monitor [London]. September 1995. No. 92. "Landscape of Fear."

_____. August 1995. No. 91. "Colombo Blast."

Tamil Information [London]. July-September 1995. Nos. 48-50. "Sri Lanka: Talking Peace Means Making War."

Attachments

        The Sri Lanka Information Monitor: Situation Report [Colombo]. January 1996. "Extra Judicial Killings," p. 9.

The Sri Lanka Monitor [London]. September 1995. No. 92. "Landscape of Fear," p. 3.

_____. August 1995. No. 91. "Colombo Blast," p. 3.

Tamil Information [London]. July-September 1995. Nos. 48-50. "Sri Lanka: Talking Peace Means Making War," pp. 1-3.

Additional Sources Consulted

        Amnesty International. July 1995. Sri Lanka: Security Measures Violate Human Rights. (AI Index: ASA 37/12/95)

_____. February 1994. Sri Lanka: Balancing Human Rights and Security: Abuse of Arrest and Detention Powers in Colombo. (AI Index: ASA 37/10/94)

Amnesty International Report 1995. 1995.

Asian Survey [Berkeley, Calif.]. Monthly. January 1994 to present.

Attacks on the Press in 1994: A Worldwide Survey. Yearly. 1995.

Criminal Justice International [Chicago]. Bi-monthly. July/August 1994 to present.

Critique: Review of the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1994. 1995. LCHR.

Documentation, Information and Research Branch (DIRB), Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa. March 1995. Sri Lanka: Internal Flight Alternatives An Update.

_____. February 1995. Sri Lanka: Chronology of Events, September 1992-November 1994.

Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties, 1994-1995. 1995.

Human Rights Watch World Report. Yearly. 1994, 1995.

International Service Group (ISG), Citizenship and Immigration, Hull. Infrequent reports. 1994 to present.

Matthews, Bruce. 19 January 1995. Sri Lanka: The Civil War and the Crisis of Immigration. (Presentation to the Immigration and Refugee Board, Toronto-University)

News from Asia Watch [New York]. Monthly. 1994 to the present.

Office of Asylum Affairs (OAA), Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, United States. January 1995. Sri Lanka: Comments on Country Conditions and Asylum Claims.

The Sri Lanka Information Monitor: Situation Report [Colombo]. Monthly. April 1995 to present.

The Sri Lanka Monitor [London]. Monthly. January 1994 to present.

Tamil Times [London]. Monthly. June 1995 to present.

Tamil Information [London]. Bi-monthly. January 1995 to present.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Centre for Documentation on Refugees, Geneva. November 1994. Background Paper on Sri Lankan Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

On-line search of media sources.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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