At the event Amnesty International also launched Silenced Shadows, the published collection of winning entries from the human rights organization’s October 2015 poetry competition on the theme of enforced disappearances.
“Every community in Sri Lanka has been affected by enforced disappearances. We want this day to not only serve as memory of what happened, but to call on the Sri Lankan government to criminalize enforced disappearances and consign them to history once and for all,” said Yolanda Foster, Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka expert.
In October 2015, Amnesty International invited Sri Lankans in the country and across the world to submit poems around the theme of enforced disappearances.
Sri Lanka is the country with the second highest number of enforced disappearances, according to the United Nations. Some estimates have put the total number of people who have been subject to enforced disappearances at up to 100,000 people.
“Disappearances have been a tragic fact of life for far too many Sri Lankans for far too long. Many families are still searching for lost loved ones, and many others have sadly given up hope of seeing them ever again,” said Yolanda Foster.
The Amnesty International poetry competition offered a creative space and an opportunity to share reflections to this national tragedy in English, Tamil and Sinhala.
The competition drew an impressive breadth of entries, from people of different backgrounds. The poems were then judged by distinguished international literary figures. (Colombo Gazette)