Human Rights Salutation 2015 was held at the Pushpadana hall in Kandy with the theme “Let the dignity of ordinary persons be recognized before the Law", around 500 participants joined the occasion. The event was organized by the Human Rights office in Kandy to salute 03 prominent Human Rights activists and award the winners of school & Sunday school Art and essay competitions held in view of the Human Rights Day 2014.
Bishop Vianney Fernando was the chief guest, and former high court judge P.B Warawewa was the guest of honor, in place of Upul Jayasuriya. Delivering the key note address Mr. Warawewa expressed his sentiments of joy for having being able to join the Human Rights activists and called upon the activist to make use of the democratic space given by the present regime to build the society with Rule of law. Further he said the constitutional reforms are necessary to do away with the impunity enjoyed by one person as the president. “No one should be above the law” therefore he said the reforms are crucial for the country to be Rule by Law.
Bishop Vianney in his addressed said that civil society at times question the involvement of the Priests and Religious in their struggles, but the Bishop reiterated that mission of Christ was prophetic and therefore many of our brothers and sister sacrificed their lives in order to protect the rights of the poor, such as Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador and Fr. Micheal Rodrigo who spoke out on behalf of the poor and the victims of repression were killed while saying mass.
Fr. Nandana Manatunga and the staff of the Human Rights office Kandy Sri Lanka saluted and recognized the commitment of 02 Human Rights activists and a victim of judicial miscarriages who fought against the defective justice delivery system.
Rev. Fr. Terrence Fernando was awarded for his dedicated and untiring work for Justice & Equality as a Human Rights Defender for the victims of war and for upholding Christian values and being a bridge between the north & the south.
Rev. Sr. Helen Lambart was awarded for her dedicated service in risking her own life in providing Security & Protection to the children during and after the civil war and for seeking Justice & Redress to survivors.
Mrs. Malani Serasinghe was awarded for challenging the defective justice system with courage in spite of challenges from the judiciary and law-enforcing agencies.
The winners of Art & Essay competitions were awarded to encourage students who will be the future in creating a culture of Human Rights in our country. It was noteworthy that 1860 students from 228 schools in Central Province participated in Art & Essay competitions. 450 children from 80 multi religious Sunday schools participated in the 2014 Art & Essay competitions. Therefore the Human Rights Award ceremony created consciousness among the students, teachers, parents, religious and within a larger section of the civil society.
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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