Celebration of the World Mental Health Day is a significant event to the Human Rights Office Kandy in its commitment to seek justice and provide the utmost care for survivors of violence. We celebrated the day on the 05th of October 2013 at Lewella Fatima Retreat House. The participants of the celebration were mostly Our survivor groups- survivor group of families of disappeared, survivors of torture rape, survivors of Human rights violations, and their family members, members of the support group, the family counselors, and the friends and well-wishers. There were around 125 participants for the celebration.
The traditional oil lamp was decorated to highlight the hope of our survivor group, with all the survivors all over the world. With the lighting of the oil lamp they wished that the shadow of all mental darkness may be diminished from our society by the enlighten knowledge and awareness.
Rev. Fr. Nandana Manatunga the Director of the Human Rights Office raised awareness of the participants by presenting cases of recent Human rights violations taken place in Kandy district and shared his vision on Mental Health and his expertise in the process of dedicated services with survivors of Human Rights violations.
With great pleasure the Human rights Office and the survivor group of families of the disappeared presented the publication “Nadiaya” meaning “the River”. The magazine portrays the importance of mental health, the life experiences of the survivor group as well as shared knowledge and expertise of the educated and the professionals. The secretary of the families of the disappeared briefed the gathering on the vision goal and
the objectives of the magazine. She expressed her hope and wished that the inspiring articles in the magazine may guide us towards a positive outlook which in turn would pave the way to overcome all challenges and obstacles that may fall in our life’s path.
It was a healing experience for the survivor group to be relived of the tension and stress taste of raising their minds to a high level of thinking and enjoying. The day ended with a tone of joy and happiness.
The international day for the disappeared scheduled for the 30th August was commemorated by the Parents and the Families of the disappeared on the 23rd August 2013 at the Human Rights office in Kandy with an inter-religious ceremony.
Majority of the Parents & the Families of the disappeared in the Central Province being Buddhist, Ven. Balakaduwe Piyadassi thero delivered a sermon, encouraging the families of the disappeared to heal their wounds and face the challenges that they encounter. This was followed by the Dane "Alms Giving". The Buddhist monks, Buddhist nuns, Catholic priests and nuns came in procession from Padiwatte road junction along with the families of the disappeared to the Human Rights office.
Parents & the families of the disappeared served lunch which they prepared to the Buddhists & Catholic clergy with the wish that those who were made to disappear few years ago would be rewarded according to their belief.
More than 54 Parents and families of the disappeared of the Central province are being empowered and assisted by the Human Rights Office in Kandy during the past years. The main focus being "Healing" as their hopes gradually fade away.
The Organization of Parents and Family Members of the Disappeared was formed in Kandy by a group of activists and members of some families of victims during the heat of the horrendous massacres perpetrated by the state in the south of Sri Lanka in 1989-90 with the JVP insurrection. The families of the disappeared faced many challenges including threats to their own lives; however they continued their campaign and mobilized forces in the country against the mass killings and disappearances while drawing the attention of the international community.
Now they are a forgotten force but they continue their struggle for justice to their family members. In Kandy they work as a team organizing themselves to move forward and empower the parents and families of those disappeared in the north of Sri Lanka. During the last year the group visited the north on 02 occasions and listened to the families of the disappeared. As the second step they formed a young group of counselors under the leadership of Sr. Mabel and they were trained for 03 weeks before they were commissioned as “Counselor Friends”
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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