in every household in the Trincomalee district there would be a
complaint of disappearance. Torture still continues in the
island although necessary legislation has been enacted to end
this human rights violation against the humanity," said Ms
V.Mathiaparanam, Co-coordinator of the Human Rights Commission
of Sri Lanka in Trincomalee at a one-day seminar held Wednesday.
The Family Rehabilitation Center (FRC) organised the seminar at
New Silver Star hotel to observe the United Nations
International Day in support of the victims of torture. Mr.
E.T.Anton Balasingham, Trincomalee District Judge was the chief
In his keynote address on 'Together against Torture for a
lasting peace', Mr. Balasingham said "torture is the intentional
infliction of severe physical or psychological pain or suffering
for a specific purpose. Torture is used to obtain information or
a confession, to punish, to take revenge, or to create terror
and fear within a population."
Trincomalee District Judge Mr.Anton Balasingham (centre) with
Attorney -at-Law Mr.K.Sivapalan and FRC counsellor
Mr.Sathieskumar at the seminar.
He said, "The aim of torture
is not to kill the victim, but to breakdown his or her
personality. The method of torture used is similar worldwide.
Most techniques seek to prolong the victims' pain and fear as
long as possible without leaving physical evidence. The
consequences of torture reach far beyond immediate physical,
psychological and social. Not only the torture victims, in many
cases victims' friends and families are affected. The broader
society may also be affected."
"Freedom from torture is a universal and fundamental human right
for all and guaranteed under national and international laws.
But acts of torture are committed against men, women and
children every day. It is clear that the war against torture
requires each of us to work together -individuals, organisations
and governments-at local, national and global level," stressed
Mr. Anton Balasingham.
He concluded, "work against torture requires action at many
level; denunciation of perpetrators; redress and reparation for
torture victim; training police and prison officials; developing
and enforcing national and international legislation against
torture; and promoting human rights awareness and education for
all. Let us unite together against torture for a lasting peace."
Human rights lawyer Mr.K.Sivapalan speaking on 'Safeguards
against illegal arrest and torture' pointed out that the
Emergency Regulations (ER) was withdrawn by the State not on the
pressure exerted by human rights organisation but following the
exit of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress led by its leader Mr.Rauff
Hakeem from the People's Alliance cabinet thus forcing the
government to allow the ER to lapse as it could not muster
necessary parliamentary majority to extend it.
"Likewise the present UNF government abandoned the Prevention of
Terrorism Act (PTA) following the Memorandum of Understanding
signed with the Liberation Tigers. It is sad to state that the
two draconian laws ER and PTA were not in use today not because
of agitation made by human rights groups in the island,"
Mr.S.Sathieskumar, District Counsellor of FRC made the welcome