I continue this struggle because I want to break the silence and I wish that Justice be done to victims of Rape especially of my own community, the tea plantation people. I have not done anything wrong and therefore I am determined to punish the perpetrators.
It was a Friday. The staff of the Human Rights office, the members of the support group and the friends of Rita came together to the Human Rights office on the 12th August 2011 to thank God for the courage of Jesudasan Rita in breaking the silence and consistently engaged in her struggle for justice. It was remarkable that even after 10 years Rita is still firm in her decision to fight for Justice in a society where jungle laws are in place rather than the Rule of law.
Rita was felicitated during a special prayer service and blessings invoked on her journey towards Justice. There was a large gathering of priests, sisters, lawyers’, members of the support group and all those who joined Rita on her journey during the past 10 years. At the outset Fr Nandana explained the purpose of the gathering and said that it is with grateful hearts that we come to-gether to thank God for Rita and all those who stood by her during the past 10 years.
He said that it is usual for the people to come around the victim at the initial stages assisting the victim and standing by in solidarity, however as time goes by the support groups die down, but in this case, there has being a consistent campaign and assistance to Rita and this is what we call “A civil movement” for justice.
Fr. Reidd Shelton Fernando read the scriptures and explained the Justice of God in the Bible. He said that God may not bestow Justice instantly as we expect but God is always with the poor and the marginalized. Fr Miranda spoke in Tamil and encouraged Rita, her husband Shantha, her mother and her brother and thank God for their courage.
A documentary made for the event was screened to encourage Rita and all those who are discouraged with the present dysfunctional justice system and the undue delay in the adjudication process. Finally Rita addressed the gathering and spoke clearly in Sinhala and said that she would continue this struggle because she want to break the silence and wish that Justice be done to the victims of Rape especially of her own community , the tea plantation people. Further she said that she has not done anything wrong and therefore she is determined to punish the perpetrators.
When Jesudasan Rita completes 10 years 2001 - 2011 with her fight for Justice, we have to question the whole Justice system in Sri Lanka in which the victims are further victimized and discouraged. The system no way encourages the victims to seek justice rather it discourages the victims. For a victim of rape, it is an agony to shuttle between the police-- the lawyers-- the court and the media. Therefore majority of the victims decide to remain silent and as a result the perpetrators continue their way.
Rita was abducted and raped by the two accused Nalaka Piyal Samaraweera & Mohomad Thuwan Rameez on the 12th August 2001 while she was returning from St. Patrick's Church - Talawakelle after Sunday mass & Confirmation classes. There are 02 cases now on trial at Nuwara-Eliya high court and at the district court. During the past 10 years Rita has presented herself before 10 Judges and for more than 73 sittings.
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Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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