HRCSL to host its first webinar in commemoration of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture -2020.
UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is marked on June 26th globally to highlight the evil consequences of torture. It was on June 26, 1987 that the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the key international instruments in fighting torture, came into effect.
There are many types of violence in society. Violence happens every day to millions of children, women and men everywhere in the world, with marginalized and vulnerable individuals and groups at greater risk. Some forms of violence are perpetrated at a personal level, such as domestic violence, yet others are perpetrated by private individuals in public spaces, such as ragging, and then there is the worst form of violence which is perpetrated by state officials against citizens using cover of state power, i.e., torture.
The State is the entity which is primarily obligated under the Constitution not to violate human rights including freedom from torture. However, it is also is under an obligation to prevent private parties from abusing rights. The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has held that when public authorities do not take action to prevent violence perpetrated by private individuals, the State is liable in such instances as well.
Often, various forms of social violence have common roots. Hence, the decision by HRCSL to deal with a spectrum of societal violence on this occasion. Exploring domestic violence and ragging is important to discover the linkages with torture. A society which has embedded societal violence in all probability finds it difficult to eradicate State violence. Therefore, the HRCSL must work on all fronts to address endemic violence in society in view of the linkages.
To mark the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, 2020, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka will be organizing webinar on the theme “Torture and other Forms of Societal Violence in Sri Lanka: Parts of One Spectrum?”
WEBINAR – SINHALA
Date: Saturday, 27th June 2020 at 10.30 am
|Introduction||Prof. Deepika Udagama
|Societal Violence-Reflections on Sri Lankan Society||Dr. Ramila Usoof
Department of Psychology
University of Peradeniya
|Domestic Violence||Ms. Sajeewanee Abeykoon
|Sharing experiences – Hear their voices||Survivor of Domestic violence|
|Ragging||Prof. Harendra De Silva
Co-founder, Coalition Against Violence in Universities & Founder Chairman National Child Protection Authority
|Sharing experiences – Hear their voices||Survivor of Ragging|
|Torture||Mr. Shantha Jayawardena
|Sharing experiences – Hear their voices||Survivor of Torture|
Moderated by: Menaka Herath-Attorney-at-Law, Acting Director, Education & Special Programs Division, HRCSL
WEBINAR – TAMIL
Date: Saturday, 27th June 2020 at 5 pm
|01.||Introduction||Prof. Deepika Udagama
|02.||Societal Violence-Reflections on Sri Lankan Society||Dr. S. Sivathas
Teaching Hospital Jaffna
|03||Domestic Violence||Ms. Sangeetha
Director – Women in Need, Batticaloa
|04||Sharing experiences – Hear their voices||Survivor of Domestic violence|
|05.||Ragging||Dr. M. Thiruvarangan
Lecturer – University of Jaffna and Member of Coalition Against Violence in Universities
|06.||Sharing experiences – Hear their voices||Survivor of Ragging|
|08.||Sharing experiences – Hear their voices||Survivor of Torture|
|09.||Conclusion||Mr. T. Kanagaraj
Moderated by K K Vilavarajan – Attorney-at-Law, Education Officer, Education & Special Programs Division, HRCSL
All panelists are also expected to recommend steps that need to be taken to encourage a culture of non-violence in the country ranging from educational reforms, changes to media projection of violence and to law reform.