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SRI LANKA: Breaking the Silence

In Kandy, Sri Lanka, Father Nandana Manatunga, a 2004 participant of the International Human Rights Training Program is defying the culture of silence and impunity surrounding incidents of torture and rape. As he accompanies victims in their search for justice, Father Manatunga also works with the local population to increase awareness of human rights applying lessons learned from his participation in Equitas programs. “As a result of our untiring efforts, conducting human rights training and workshops, we have been able to challenge and motivate religious groups and youth and adult groups to protect, promote and safeguard the rights of the people, irrespective of ethnicity and religion.” In this photo, children in one of Father Manatunga’s workshops are learning that building a culture of human rights requires dedication and perseverance much like trying to fill a bucket by passing water from hand to hand. “It has being a rough road fighting with the law enforcement agencies without a proper shield of protection. However, it has been my joy to see the victims of rape and torture becoming survivors with trauma counselling and all other assistance”. As human rights education increases in the country, people are beginning to see that things can be done differently.

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