The Support Group discerned the specific needs and conditions of each of the victims, whether they have been tortured or sexually abused, began walking with them in their search to regain their dignity an identity. Most of the victims had to be moved from their homes and relocated elsewhere. There were the occasions when the members of the Support Group volunteered to host them and shelter them in their own houses, in addition to being sheltered in suitable Churches and Convents. We gratefully remember all the priests and religious who came forwarded to provide protection & security to the victims during the most critical times.
The counseling component was added to the “Victim centered activity”, providing the victims with trauma counseling. As most of the family members had experienced trauma, the counseling component had to be extended to them as well. Rev Sr. Mabel Rodrigo used different forms of counseling to the victims and their families, including “Testimonial Therapy”.
In spite of the threats and challenges, the members of the Support Group volunteered to accompany the victims to police stations and other institutions as the occasion arose. Besides, the members of the Support Group accompanied the victims for the inquiries conducted by the Human Rights Commission in addition to accompanying them to safe-houses in different parts of the country.
Recognizing the need for on-going education in the process of empowering the members of the Support Group, programs were conducted on Human Rights, psychological counseling, on emerging issues, legal frame works and national & International mechanisms. The members of the Support Group were often invited to meet with diplomatic missions and other UN rapporteurs who visited the HRO.
While being committed to assisting the victims of various Human Right Violations with love and care, the members of the Support Group have played a major role in campaigning for the reform of the Police and the Judiciary.
The defense and the promotion of Human Rights work of the HRO would have been impossible without the commitment of the Support Group. The HRO expressed its gratitude to the members of the Support Group for their commitment and saluted them for their courage in the face of various challenges. HRO count on their continued support and commitment in the years to come.
The 52 members of the Support Group, many of them professionals and persons who are ready to commit themselves and sacrifice their valuable time for the noble cause of protecting the Rights of all individuals, continue to meet once a month at the Human Rights Office and are involved in campaigns and activities organized by the Human Rights Office throughout the year.
Human Rights day programme was made colorful with cultural items and on behalf of the HRO Dr. Shirley Wijesinghe, the chief guest was presented a souvenir by Bishop by Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe, the former Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala.