Fear of reprisal silences Trinco torture victims

[TamilNet, Friday, 11 May 2001, 18:56 GMT]
"Thirty to forty torture victims in Trincomalee district seek medical and psychological treatment every month. There are over five hundred torture victims in the Trincomalee district who do not get proper physical and psychological treatment", said Dr.E.Gnanakunalan, Deputy Director of Health Services in the Northeast Provincial Ministry of Health, addressing a seminar on torture victims held Friday morning at the New Silver Star Hotel in the eastern port town.

Ms Chandra Kanapathipillai, Senior Counsellor of Family Rebailitation Centre addressing on the Role of Counseling and Psychological Care in Rehabilitation of War victims. (Photo: TamilNet)
Speaking of persons arrested and detained under the Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act Dr.Gnanakunalan said, "I have personally attended to the medical and psychological needs of about 600 torture victims in the district who sought the assistance of the Family Rehabilitation Centre, which is now engaged in rehabilitating them".

"In the uncleared areas (places that are not under the control of the Sri Lanka army) of Mutur alone, there are about 200 torture victims who have no access to counselling. In cleared areas too torture victims live without reporting to any humanitarian agencies. Local NGOs could play a vital role in identifying torture victims in their areas who live in tremendous agony" Dr.Gnanakunalan said

"The Sri Lankan security forces have released many persons whom they had tortured in their custody, after threatening them that they should not report their condition to any humanitarian agency. In some instances security forces do not return the National Identity Cards of some torture victims who were released. This is one of the main reasons that force torture victims to live in isolation and fear", a spokesperson for the FRC said.

Senior counsellor of the FRC Ms.Chandra Kanapathipillai briefed NGO representatives about the role of counselling and psychological care in the rehabilitation of war victims.

Section of the NGOs representatives attended the seminar. (Photo: TamilNet)
The aim of the FRC is to provide holistic care to those affected by armed conflicts in all areas of Sri Lanka, irrespective of ethnicity, religion and political ideology. "Its target groups are Torture Victims, Immediate Family Members of Torture Victims, Bomb Blast Victims, War Widows, Children of War and Victims of Extreme Trauma", the FRC spokesman said.

"The main aim of the seminar is to create awareness among the NGOs in the district of the importance and the inevitability of networking with Family Rehabilitation Centre in identifying new torture victims in their areas", said Mr.R.Ariyasundaram, Zonal Co-ordinator of the FRC in Trincomalee.


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