On 27 January 2017 Sr. Yolanda Sanchez (GSIJP Geneva) Budi Tjahjono (Franciscan International) and Fr. Mike Deeb (Dominican International) visited Sri Lanka for the preparation of the review of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Sri Lanka scheduled to be held in Geneva in the month of November 2017. The visit was well planned with programme schedule that included organizing meetings with different groups from North to West.
Photo above: Good Shepherd Sisters Yolanda Sanchez (left) and Niluka Perera (right).
The first planned event was to meet a few Good Shepherd Sri Lankan sisters working in different areas of the country. The interactive discussion helped the participants to understand the happenings in the province and in the region as well as in Geneva that related to Justice and Peace. Further it motivated the participants to make use of our international resources to raise our voice for the voiceless people of our country.
The group met the members of Justice Peace committee of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors. The meaningful presentation by Fr. Mike on the theme 'Resistance for Justice and Peace' led the participants to reflect upon and come to understand why we religious do not take much interest in working for Justice and Peace. Yolanda and Budi helped the participants to understand their role as representatives to Geneva.
In spite of her busy schedule, although not planned, Yolanda gave time to be at the Good Shepherd Local Leaders’ meeting. Her presence was much appreciated and her presentation was well accepted by the participants as it helped them to understand why, what and how JP works in the congregation, especially in Geneva.
The group then moved to the Northern part of the country to attend a workshop on human rights for the religious of the country. The workshop mainly focused on the preparation for the Universal Periodical Review (UPR) Sri Lanka Report 2017. At this workshop the participants discussed the situation of human rights violation with issues related to disappearances, land, ethnic minorities, women, children, people belonging to the plantation sector and environment. With the help of our guests from Geneva a working schedule was planned to prepare the UPR report. The Good Shepherd has taken the initiative to prepare a report on issues related to children.
Then our guests moved to Jaffna and Kandy (Central part of the country) and met different categories of people. Finally they returned to Colombo and until their departure met human rights activist and other organizations working with marginalized groups of the country.
Two weeks (28 January – 10 February) of stay of our international group in Sri Lanka no doubt enriched our mission of Justice and Peace, and energized not only Good Shepherd people, but all who walked in the path to include the people whose rights have been violated due to ethnicity, cast, religion and gender. Thanks to Yolanda for taking the initiative to visit Sri Lanka and share her experiences. Sri Lanka Good Shepherd will be contributing for the forthcoming UPR review in November and CRC review scheduled for 2018.
Click here - 2017 Visit to Sri Lanka by Geneva representatives
Prepared by Sr. Niluka Perera