By John Argue, Amnesty International Canada's Coordinator for Sri Lanka
In November 2013, the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is set to take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Commonwealth countries share a commitment to basic values such as democracy, freedom, respect of human rights, and rule of law.
Today, June 26, is recognized in and also beyond the Commonwealth as the international day for survivors of torture. Yet in Sri Lanka, survivors of torture are still vulnerable to human rights violations, and to traumatic feelings of sheer injustice because authorities who committed torture have not even being charged with committing a crime or a human rights violation.
Thevan (not his real name) is one person who has flashbacks of the impossible days he spent being tortured in a police cell in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. Thevan and a friend were both abducted 5 years ago in November, 2008, by men who drove a white van, and taken to a detention centre where they were beaten and tortured for three days. Far worse, Thevan was ill-treated continually until he was finally released in 2011.