AFP) – Oct 3, 2009
COLOMBO — Sri Lanka lodged a protest over US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks that rape had been used as a war tactic on the island, officials said Saturday.
Colombo's displeasure over a statement by Clinton to the United Nations Security Council was conveyed to US diplomats in the Sri Lankan capital, a foreign ministry official said.
"We have given a note of protest" to the US embassy, the official, who asked not to be identified, said.
In a statement to the Security Council, Clinton last Wednesday made a passing reference to Sri Lanka.
"We've seen rape used as a tactic of war before in Bosnia, Burma and Sri Lanka and elsewhere," Clinton said during a resolution calling for an end to sexual violence in armed conflict.
The remark was contained in a transcript of the statement Clinton made to the UN Security Council that was given to AFP in Colombo by the US embassy.
The state-run Daily News in Colombo reported that Clinton had suggested that Sri Lankan security forces used rape in their battle against Tamil rebels.
The US embassy would not comment on the newspaper's allegations.
Sri Lanka's defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said it was the first time that the island was accused of using rape as a tool of war against Tamil Tiger rebels who were crushed in May after decades of fighting.
"We vehemently reject and condemn the irresponsible statement made by US State Secretary Hillary Clinton," Rambukwella was quoted as saying in the state-run newspaper.
Sri Lanka faced condemnation for its handling of the final stages of the war against Tiger rebels and managed to stave off a Security Council resolution calling for war crimes investigations thanks to the vetoes of China and Russia.
The UN has said that over 7,000 civilians perished in the first four months of intense fighting this year.
One hopes that Hillary was wearing her asbestoes lined pant-suite when she made the remarks.