UPDATE (Sri Lanka): Police’s inaction to investigate the alleged abduction of a rape victim


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-112-2007
ISSUES: Child rights, Violence against women, Women's rights,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) deeply regrets to inform you that a rape victim was allegedly abducted by the perpetrator the rape which took place two years ago. Following her abduction on 15 August 2007, her parents reported the incident to the police in Galagedara and Anuradapura but, to-date, no measures what-so-ever have been taken to locate her. 


As described in our previous appeal (UA-150-2005), Ms. X (name withheld) was allegedly raped by her neighbour, Susantha Bandara, on 29 July 2005 in Uduwa, Galagedara. She was only 14 years old at the time. She filed charges of rape against Susantha, who later released on bail.

While the case is pending in court, the girl has to live away from her parents for security reasons, due largely to the lack of witness protection offered by the state. There has not been any substantial progress in her case at the Galagedara court since it started.

On August 3, Ms. X temporarily returned to the village in Galagedara where her family live because her mother wanted her to spend the school holidays with the family. On August 15, Ms. X, her father and her brother were at home. At around 9:30 am Ms. X’s mother went to the temple while her father took a rest in his room. A girl from a neighbouring house called on Ms. X and they talked for a while. Later when they went to the friend’s house, Ms. X, however, did not expect to find Susantha was already there.

When Ms. X’s brother saw Susantha was with her, he rushed to the temple and informed his mother. The victim’s mother immediately rushed back home but her daughter was gone. She went to their neighbouring houses and searched for her, but they could not find her. She learned that Susantha had taken her away.

Ms. X’s parents immediately made a complaint to the Galagedara police but they did not take any action to locate her. Upon learning that Ms. X was reportedly taken to Anuradapura, where Susantha was living, on August 17 her parents went to the Anuradapura police, and sought their assistance to locate her. The police, however, refused to register their complaint. The police told them they could not act on their complaint unless they received instructions from the Galagedara police.

It has also been learned that Ms. X’s parents have received two phone calls from unknown callers, threatening them not to make any further reports to the police.


This incident illustrates the continuing threats rape victims have to suffer in Sri Lanka, which result from the delays in adjudication of their cases. As mentioned, the victim’s rape complaint against her perpetrator has not shown any progress in the Galagedara court for more than two years. 

While the case is dragging on in court, the victim has to live separately from her parents, so as to continue her studies and ensure her safety. The security arrangement was made in private as in Sri Lanka, there is no law which requires the authorities to provide protection to victims or witnesses who face continuing threats.

It is common for victims to withdraw their complaints once they start receiving threats on their lives. In most cases, the perpetrators, particularly those connected to the police and military employ these methods to escape prosecution and punishment.

Please write to the concerned authorities, and ask them to immediately intervene and locate the victim. Investigation should be conducted on the police stations that allegedly did not take any action in the victim’s alleged abduction, if the allegation is proven the responsible police officers must be held accountable. More importantly, all means must be exhausted to locate the victim.

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Dear _________,

SRI LANKA: Police’s inaction to investigate the alleged abduction of a rape victim

Name of the victim: Ms. X (name withheld) 
Alleged perpetrator: Susantha Bandara, a three wheeler driver living in Anuradapura 
Date of the incident: 15 August 2007 at 9:30am
Name of police stations who did not take action: Galagedara and Anuradapura Police Stations

I am writing to voice my deep concern to the inaction of the Galagedara and Anuradapura Police to locate the rape victim who was allegedly abducted by Susantha Bandara, the person who allegedly raped her two years ago. The abduction took place on 15 August 2007, when the victim was visiting her parents in Uduwa, Galagedara.

I am aware that the victim, who was then 14 years of age, filed a charge of rape against Bandara in July 2005. The case has since been pending without any substantial progress at the Galagedara court for more than two years. The girl had to live separately from her parents in a temporary shelter, in order to continue her studies and pursue her case.

I am disappointed to learn that when her mother reported the abduction to the Galagedara police station, they recorded the complaint but allegedly did not take action to locate her. When the victim’s family learned that she was taken to the perpetrator’s village in Anuradapura, they immediately sought police assistance there but the Anuradapura refused to register the complaint. The police told the victim’s parents they could only act on the case when they were given instructions by the Galagedara police.

The police inaction in this case is unacceptable. I therefore urge you to have the police personnel in these stations investigated, if it is proven that they have failed or refused to carry on their duties, they must be held accountable.

I also urge you to communicate with the victim’s family, and exhaust all means to locate the victim. I am deeply concerned that the abduction was carried out to retaliate upon her, or to undermine the case pending in court. I have also learned that the victim’s parents received threats on their lives following the abduction.

Furthermore, I urge you to use your authority to provide protection to the victim’s family. I am deeply concerned by the absence of these arrangements, not only the victim, but also her family might have to suffer continuing threats while pursuing legal remedies for the alleged rape of their daughter.

I trust that you will take action in this case promptly.

Yours sincerely,


1. Chairperson 
National Child Protection Authority 
330, Thalawathgoda Road 
Fax: +94 11 2 778975
E-mail: ncpa@childprotection.gov.lk

2. Mr. Victor Perera 
Inspector General of Police 
New Secretariat 
Colombo 1
Fax: +94 11 2 440440/327877

3. Mr. C.R. De Silva 
Attorney General 
Attorney General’s Department 
Colombo 12 
Fax: +94 11 2 436421

4. Secretary
National Police Commission
3rd Floor, Rotunda Towers,
109 Galle Road
Colombo 03
Tel: +94 11 2 395310 
Fax: +94 11 2 395867

5. Secretary
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
No. 36, Kynsey Road 
Colombo 8 
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806 
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470 
E-mail: sechrc@sltnet.lk

6. Ms. Yakin Erturk
Special Rapporteur on Elimination of Violence against Women
c/o Ms Lucinda Ohanlon
Room 3-042
OHCHR-UNOG, Palais Wilson, 
8-14 Avenue de la Paix, 
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9615
Fax: +41 22 917 9006

7. Mr. Jacob Egbert Doek
Committee on the Rights of the Child
1211 Geneva 10

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrchk@ahrchk.org)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UP-112-2007
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Child rights, Violence against women, Women's rights,