30th August, the International day for the disappeared was commemorated by the Parents and the Families of the disappeared at the Human Rights Office in Kandy with an inter-religious ceremony.
The last four decades of political violence in Sri Lanka have witnessed the enforced disappearance of tens of thousands of Sri Lankans. Disappearance contextualized as a counter-insurgency strategy, in the context of armed confrontation. However the military defeat of the LTTE in May 2009 did not bring about an end to the phenomenon. The motive behind disappearances served as an integral part of a system of state power and patronage to enable the political elite to immobilize all political opposition.
As a central component of this political project, disappearance enabled the ruling elite to manipulate local grievances , when given political expression led to greater violence in the permanent removal of local enemies whilst heightening mistrust within communities.
Having gradually being healed of their trauma , the Families of the disappeared in the Central Province focused on Religious observances with a sermon, encouraging the families to proceed towards the holistic wellness and face the challenges they encounter. The Buddhist monks, Buddhist nuns, Catholic priests and nuns joined the inter-religious Alms giving that were organized by the families of the disappeared.
With several sessions on “Healing of Memories” the parents and families of the disappeared were empowered and assisted by the Human Rights Office in Kandy during the past years and now they assist the trauma victims of the north. Several visits were made by them and the programme was gradually extended to the north and families of the disappeared from Valaipadu and Parappakandal were brought to Kandy for such sessions.
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Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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