London, Dec 20: A British medic, who was held for months in a concentration camp along with nearly 300,000 Tamil refugees, has revealed that Sri Lankan military guards sexually abused women prisoners frequently in the camp.
Vany Kumar, 25, who was locked up behind barbed wire in the Menik Farm refugee camp for four months, also claimed that Lankan guards traded sex for food.
"Sexual abuse is something that was a common thing, that I personally saw. In the visitor area relatives would be the other side of the fence and we would be in the camp. Girls came to wait for their relatives and military officers would come and touch them, and that's something I saw," The Guardian quoted Kumar, as saying.
"Tamil girls usually don't talk about sexual abuse, they won't open their mouths about it, but I heard the officers were giving the women money or food in return for sex. These people were desperate for everything," she added.
The Sri Lankan government confirmed to The Observer that it had received reports from United Nations agencies of physical and sexual abuse within the camps, but maintained that it had not been possible to substantiate the allegations.
Rajiva Wijesinha, the permanent secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, said, "There was a lot of sex going on. I can't tell you nothing happened, because I wasn't there. Individual aberrations could have happened, but our position is 'Please tell us and they will be looked into'."