Human Rights Award Winners (Laureates) gathering was held at the Serendip Stone Bungalow (Hotel) in Nattarampotha, Kundasale, Kandy Sri Lanka on the 04th & 05th October 2019.
The Human Rights Office recognized and awarded Human Rights activist for their commitment and contribution made in protecting & promoting Human Rights amidst of numerous challenges. The activists were awarded during the annual Human Rights Award Ceremony since 2008.
The HRO awarded several human rights – professionals and victims who turned out as activists and encouraged them to protect, promote and safe-guard the rights of all citizens, especially those who were denied of their rights.
Going another step further, the HRO brought the laureates together and created an occasion to share the best practices, initiatives and the obstacles they face. There were 29 laureates present for the gathering, coming from various parts of the country. They were welcomed by Fr. Nandana Manatunga, the Director of the Human Rights Office and his staff. The 04th evening, the floor was given to the laureates and each one of them shared their experiences and explained how far the award has helped them to continue their activities in the field of Human Rights.
While the victims turned activists expressed that the award not only recognized them but also felt that they are being loved. The activists emphasized the feeling of self-satisfaction of having helped others and thus belong to a larger community. Many of the laureates said that they never expected the award ceremony to be so glamorous and thanked the organizers for making it a memorable occasion. The evening session was then followed by dinner with music.
The laureates, both professionals and victims who turned as activists sat together and shared their life journey with smiles and tears. The recognition and acceptance have helped them immensely and it was conveyed by all most all the laureates when they were given the opportunity to share their learning’s and struggles.
While sharing their views, the laureates profusely thanked the Human Rights Office for encouraging them to continue their initiatives despite challenges and for organizing such a gathering of the laureates.
On the 05th, the staff of the HRO organized an exercise “Helicopter view” to recognize “where we are at present” participants then shared their findings. Where “I am and where I should concentrate more in the future”. This was followed by another session on stress management conducted by Sr. Mabel Rodrigo. The programme was concluded with lunch and the Laureates suggested that they would be happy if this programme is held annually and the length of the prgramme to be extended.