Victims speak about Reparations

Victims speak about Reparations

3 April 2019 01:41 pm

The “Office for Reparations Bill’’ was gazetted on 25th of June 2018 and the Bill was submitted to the parliament on 17th of June 2018.

The following questions regarding reparations remain in the minds of the public

  • Who will receive it?
  • Do they deserve it?
  • What will they receive?

The CTF (Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms) asked the victims themselves about reparations and here are some of the victim categories who spoke up regarding their need for reparations.

  • Families needed immediate help because the primary wage earner is missing or dead or had succumbed to severe injuries.

“I had to have an operation in my stomach. After that I could not do any work. Even if I lift a small weight, my stomach swells. But I can’t live without a job.”

(Torture survivor in Batticaloa)

  • Disabilitywas another reason for immediate reparations who needed medical or psycho-social support to deal with trauma. Victims included disabled soldiers in Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Matara, and Hambantota covering North Central, North Western, and Southern Provinces as well as former LTTE combatants and civilians.

“I am injured in my head and hip. I can’t see well in my eyes. When I say this they say what’s wrong with you, you look fine…”

(Disabled person, Batticaloa)

“Land, houses, livelihoods – can always earn all of that back. But people like me who are disabled… are not able to come out and start a livelihood again. The things they lost – body parts and their dignity…”

(Quoted in a submission from an International Organization)

“When we go to the hospital for treatments, everyone can see it [disability], we are not disabled by birth, and people look at the limb with disgust, like we are animals… Do not misuse us, do not exhibit us.”

(Disabled soldier, Matara)

  • The interruption or ending of educationbecause of conflict or poverty made education an urgent need in rehabilitating and reintegrating war affected victims.

 “I don’t expect compensation… but I need support to look after my child, for his education.”

(Wife of disappeared, Kandavalai, Kilinochchi)

“We lost our education and youth during the war, and now we are struggling to live a decent life.”

(Ex-LTTE cadre, Kilinochchi District)

  • Those who have faced discrimination or disregard

A woman affected by the JVP insurgency in 1989 noted that her family was forced to flee their home in Kandy with only a suitcase of their belongings. Their home and her father’s shop were looted and burnt down.

We never received any compensation or any support… we became homeless, penniless…”

This also includes women, upcountry Tamils, Muslims and ethnic minorities.

Cited from: Final report of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF)

According to the CTF almost all those who shared their grievances referred to at least one aspect of reparations