Sri Lanka
Urgent Interventions

Sri Lanka: Follow up case concerning rape and murder of Ms. S. Umadevi

Case LKA 240901.1 VAW
Follow-up to Case LKA 240901.VAW

Geneva, February 19, 2003

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Sri Lanka.

New Information

OMCT has received updated information concerning the detention of four suspects in the murder case of Ms. S. Umadevi, a 23 year old Tamil woman, who was killed in September 2001. The suspects were taken into custody by the Gampola Division Unsolved Crime Detective Bureau in collaboration with Kandy Special Crime Unit as a result of an investigation undertaken at the instruction of DIG Kandy Nimal Mediwaka. It is reported that the suspects will appear before the Gampola Magistrate.

OMCT would like to reiterate that Sri Lanka has an obligation under international law to prevent, prosecute and punish acts of violence with due diligence, irrespective of whether these acts have been committed by State or non-State actors.

Brief reminder of the situation

In September 2001, Ms. S. Umadevi, a 23 year old Tamil woman, was abducted, raped and murdered at Kopiwatte near Nawalapitiya. According to the information, Ms. S. Umadevi was abducted on 12 September 2001 as she was walking home after attending a class in Nawalapitiya town and her body was discovered on the evening of 13 September in shrubland near the Malkanda bridge.

In the morning of 13 September, Ms. Umadevi's parents went to the Nawalapitiya police station in order to report their daughter missing. The victim's father reported that the police officer who recorded the complaint was uncooperative and refused to display a photograph of Ms. Umadevi, stating that "this girl must have gone off with some young man. What are we to do with this photo?”

The same evening, the father of the victim heard that the body of a young woman had been found near the Malkanda bridge. He went to the place and identified the body as being that of his daughter. The father then reported the murder to the police at Nawalapitiya and provided them with the name of a possible suspect. As of the date of the first appeal, the police had not arrested any suspects in the case and they had not visited the home of the victim in order to conduct any investigations into the crime.

OMCT expressed its grave concern about reports of rape and other forms of violence against Tamil women and girls in Sri Lanka, and, in particular, by the prevailing climate of impunity for the perpetrators of this violence.

Remarks and actions requested

The International Secretariat of OMCT wishes to thank all those institutions, organizations and individuals who intervened on their behalf, but asks you to keep up writing to the authorities of Sri Lanka urging them to:

i. ensure that Ms. Umadevi's family receive adequate reparation;

ii. guarantee an impartial and exhaustive inquiry into the abduction, murder and rape, bring those responsible before a competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal, civil and administrative sanctions provided by law;

iii. adopt immediate measures to put an end to all acts of violence against women;

iv. ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms at all times and in all circumstances in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.


· Her Excellency President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, President's House, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka. Fax: + 94 1 333703, E-mail:
· Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, Cambridge Place, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka. Fax: + 94 1575 454/1 682905. E-mail:,
· Hon. Mr. K. C. Kamalasabesan, Attorney General, Attorney General's Department, Colombo 12, Sri Lanka. Fax: + 94 1 436-421, E-mail: or
· Honourable Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, 37, Kirula Place, Colombo 5. Sri Lanka. Fax: + 94 1 437680
· Honourable Minister of Interior John Amaratunga, Colombo, Fax: + 94 1387 526, + 94 1698 282
· Inspector General of Police, Mr. T. E. Anandarajah, New Secretariat, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka, Fax: 0094 1 446174
· Mr. Ranjith Abeysuriya PC, Chairman, National Police Commission, 10 A, Flower Road, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka

Please also write to the embassies of Sri Lanka in your respective country.

Geneva, February 19, 2003

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.