Ethnic Tamil women in Sri Lanka's former war zones face abuses including sexual violence, trafficking and forced prostitution, an international human rights group said Wednesday.
The Brussels-based International Crisis Group said there have been credible allegations of sexual violence against women in those areas at the hands of both security forces and men from their own communities.
The group said many cases go unreported in the country's north and east, where a 25-year civil war ended in May 2009 when government troops defeated separatist Tamil rebels.
Scores of Tamil women live alone, or with young children or elderly parents because their husbands are dead or in government detention.
"The fear of sexual violence in the home is widespread in part because the military's access is unfettered and women often have no choice but to interact with them," the group said in a statement.
"There are also alleged incidents of sexual violence when women go to the security forces for information about their detained husbands. These cases are especially difficult to corroborate, perhaps in part because these victims would put their husbands at risk if they came forward."
Military spokesman Brig. Nihal Hapuarachchi said he has been monitoring events in the former war zones but has not come across any such incident.