Disappearance Day 2021
The impact of disappearances on the families is devastating and long lasting, leaving them in a terrible limbo, unable to find closure. At the same time, it reaches beyond the immediate communities of the disappeared, affecting entire societies grappling with the legacy of unresolved crimes and the obligation to provide families with the truth about the fate of their loved ones.
Christmas with the Poor
"Make our actions signs of
God's love for Humanity
GOD COMES into our everyday lives, into the peace and the turmoil, the joys and the sorrows, the hopes and the disappointments, even during pandemics and war. The Mission of Jesus is to give good news to the poor, to open the eyes of the blind, to set captives free, to bind up hearts that are broken, to comfort those who mourn. As followers of Jesus, we share that same mission.
2020 Christmas with COVID 19 pandemic health restrictions, the Human Rights Office focused its attention on the victims of Torture, the prisoners and their families, the families of the disappeared and the victims of various Human Rights violations and miscarriage of Justice invariably the poor.
Make our actions signs of God's love for Humanity'' was the theme for 2020 Christmas. The poster with the above theme was distributed to all the parishes inviting the faithful to share and experience God's love. The Christmas gift giving tradition is to express our love and generosity, the smallest expression can mean a lot. As victims of Torture, rape, families of the disappeared and the prisoners are dehumanized, we invite everyone to respect their dignity going beyond the generosity in sharing the dignity of God. God shared His Love, for the humanity by His incarnation and sharing the love of God the staff of the Human Rights Office prepared a gift that contained the most essential food items and shared with the victims during the Christmas gatherings held on the 17th & 18th of December at the Human Rights Office. The victims were invited in groups and explained the meaning of Christmas and the theme selected.
In Search of a Spiritual Treasure Healing Memories
Anuradhapura – the sacred city is one of the most venerated places in Sri Lanka. To go on a pilgrimage to sacred city to worship the eight sacred places is regarded as most valuable merit and a great blessing for a Buddhist devotee.
45 members of the families of the disappeared were fortunate to visit this sacred city recently as another step in healing their memories. When the suggestion came up for the pilgrimage for many of the members, to their surprise it was one of their unfulfilled dreams coming true. At their age it was a great opportunity to gain merits for themselves and give merits to their missing loved ones.
In the group there were few elderly mothers who were unable to walk they came in wheel chairs to take part in this meritorious act. It was a very hot day. When they reached the sacred place it was noon. In the middle of the day it was very painful to walk without shoes on the sand. But our devoted mothers walked barefooted with joy in the hot sun to the sacred Boo Tree for some distance. They were doing walking meditation around the sacred Boo Tree few rounds holding their minds and bodies in uttermost piety.
It was a long 03 hour trip from Kandy to Anuradhapura for the mothers. On their way to the sacred cities they enjoyed very much. They talked with each other leisurely. Sang spiritual songs and played musical instruments. It was their day for relaxation and enjoyment, and to do meritorious acts. It was 22 years back that mothers lost their sons and loved ones.
Since then they had never step out of their homes on long trips or on pilgrimages and neither any of their relations taken them out to visit a place of worship to ease their minds and hearts.
It was a blissful moment. With grateful hearts and tears in their eyes they thank Fr. Nandana the director of the Human Rights Office and the staff for bestowing them with this opportunity of visiting the sacred city. As many of them remarked “For a moment we felt as if we were in the heaven when we were under the sacred Boo Tree”.
Inter-Religious Alms Giving “Dane"
An inter-religious Alms giving organized by the parents of the disappeared was held on the 30th August 2012 at Kandy Ampitiya, St Mary's Church Parish hall. It was the third such event organized by the Human Rights office Kandy with the parents of the disappeared in the Central province to commemorate their loved ones on the International day of the Disappeared.
The annual commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared aims to draw attention to those people who have been imprisoned without their friends or relatives knowing where or why; also to highlight the work of those organizations who campaign against secret imprisonment and work to support the “disappeared” and their families.
In the last 40 years, the governments of Sri Lanka have used forced disappearances as a tool to suppress dissent and combat the internal armed conflict. Since 1971, there has been continuous use of enforced disappearances as a tool by the state, for what they referred to as the maintenance of "law and order". When people disappear in connection with armed conflict or other violence, their relatives endure terrible suffering as they struggle to find out what happened
The parents of the disappeared organized this event in a very meaningful way to honor all victims of enforced disappearance and to tell the world of the seriousness of the offense and ensure non-repetition.
Buddhist monks, Buddhist nuns, Catholic priests, nuns and the parents of the disappeared gathered at the Ampitiya junction from where the procession began. They walked with ‘Hevisi’ drums beaten announcing the crowds of the event and the procession moved to the parish hall.
In a traditional Buddhist style the Almas giving was served to all the priests and religious after a sermon was preached by the Buddhist monk consoling the families and relatives of the disappeared, he said that most of the victims were breadwinners, hence the disappearance not only caused emotional and psychological anguish, but also economic dislocation to the surviving families, further the prelate appreciated the efforts of the Human Rights Office in bringing the religious leaders together." It is a new experience for the Buddhist monks to come for an Alms giving to a catholic church".
Closing the event Fr. Nandana Manatunga, the director of the Human Rights office addressed the gathering and said that the enforced disappearance is one of the worst human rights violations. As a huge number of people throughout the world are affected by this scourge. It is imperative for civil society and governments to forge solidarity in bringing to an end the practice of enforced disappearance and to ensure that the right to truth, justice, reparation and memory are guaranteed".
Grieving - Healing - and Transformation of
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
@ 2019 All Rights Received