Human Rights Abuses in Sri Lanka

[ePrayer – Pray for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka]

5 years ago, Sri Lankan Government forces overwhelmed the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), ending a brutal civil war that wrought a death toll estimated at about 80,000. But the mayhem-filled final few months of the 26-year-long conflict, and its lingering violence continue to haunt the country, amid accumulating reports of human rights abuses targeting the Tamil minority. Tensions between the Tamils (Hindus by religion) and the Sinhalese (Buddhists) dominated Government date back to 1948 when the island gained independence from Britain. A separatist movement, agitating for a Tamil homeland in the north and east, began in the 1960s. An all-out war exploded in 1983. The LTTE started a violent fight against the Government. In 2009, Government forces launched a major offensive against the LTTE. The LTTE, along with about 300,000 civilians were pushed into ever-decreasing parcels of land. Conditions were dire and the UN estimates that some 40,000 civilians lost their lives. On 17 May 2009, the Government declared victory.

In recent years, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has twice urged the Government to independently and creditably investigate violations of human rights law. The Government has, however, failed to do so.This March, UNHRC resolved to request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged abuses of human rights by both parties in Sri Lanka at the end of the war. Sri Lanka has said that it will not cooperate with the investigation.A UN report affirmed that the Government forces shelled civilians indiscriminately during the conflict, indulged in summary executions and committed rape. Since the end of the war, there have been widespread allegations of repression, torture, and a culture of impunity. The Government has flatly rejected such charges.Opponents talk of government surveillance of telephones and emails, and of the omnipresent unmarked “white vans” suspected of being used in abductions.

There are reports of sexual violence against Tamil women detainees. The alleged perpetrators included army personnel and police officers. Available information seems to point to a systematic campaign. Most recently, a report described 40 Tamil refugees who had allegedly been tortured and raped in custody since the end of the war. Half had attempted suicide (Sri Lanka has one of the highest suicide rates in the world—every year, nearly 100,000 people try to take their own life). The perpetrators of the violence had not attempted to hide their identities, adding credence to the notion of impunity.

Underpinning all this is the Government’s continued use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which authorizes detaining people for 18 months. Meanwhile, the 2010 amendment to the constitution vastly expanded the powers of the executive. Military men occupy key administrative positions. In terms of its indicators of economic growth and health, Sri Lanka does very well. Literacy rates and immunization coverage are excellent. However, there are persistent health disparities between different regions and ethnic groups for indicators such as maternal mortality and infant nutrition. Health infrastructure in the northern and eastern provinces most affected by the conflict needs urgent restoration. [LANCET#1] [LANCET#2][HRW]

Meditation on Scriptures:

‘He will be gentle to those who are weak, and kind to those who are helpless. He will persist until he causes justice to triumph.’ Matthew 12: 20

Jesus is the protector of human rights and defender for the weak and helpless. He stands in the midst of the forces of darkness to set them free by His radiating light, and to give comfort and support to the defenseless.

Pray for for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka:

  • Pray that UNHRCcan effectively expose the truths about human rights abuses in the country, let more people aware of these violations and give help to the victims;
  • Pray that the Sri Lankan Government will stop all violence against the innocent and peacemakers;
  • May God give comfort and healing to victims and grant them real peace and protection.

Half a Year has Gone but Philippines Typhoon Victims See Little Signs of Rebuilding

[ePrayer – Pray for the Typhoon Victims in Philippines]

In this January, CEDAR’s staff travelled to Philippines to support Food for the Hungry (FH), also an Integral Alliance member, helping out in releasing relief materials.[1] Our staff spoke to Hon, a 10 years old boy living in Basey. He said, ‘I wish that there is no typhoon in the world. I wish that there will be no more deaths….’ This is because Hon experienced the power of Super Typhoon Haiyan last November. Now whenever someone asked him to describe how he escaped from the Typhoon, he still exhibits great fear in his heart and cannot control his body from involuntary shaking. Rehabilitation phase has been started in the devastated areas however more manpower and materials are needed to fulfill the needs in basic living, health and safety. Helping those suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome is also an urgent task.

FH’s staffs have been working very hard in the past six months to provide relief assistance to the typhoon-affected communities in Marabut and Basey. Flor, a mother of two kids attending primary education, serves in FH to help the disadvantaged communities in Philippines.. Moved by God’s love, she immediately headed to the affected areas from Manila after Super Typhoon Haiyan left Philippines. She may look tough on the outside but inside having a gentle heart. ‘In the stricken regions, it is very difficult for us to implement relief work with limited support from the government and shortage of resources. Apart from tackling the problems and limitations in the disaster areas, I still need to handle my emotions from not living with my family members…. In fact, I feel very sad every time my children call me. They always ask “Mom, we miss you very much. When will you come home?”’ Flor is not able to return to her home due to her involvement in rebuilding the disaster area. The typhoon victims are also awaiting to see their homes rebuilt. They are both anxiously looking forward to their “home return date”.

The Super Typhoon Haiyan hit Philippines on 7 Novermber 2013 and victimized over 13 millions people. CEDAR reacted immediately and supported the local partner Philrads and local churches in Leyte and Samar, delivering about 100,000 food bags and over 8,500 sets of shelter repair kits to the affected families, and also providing trauma care and medical service. CEDAR later received a HK$1.24 million relief grant from HKSAR Government to further provide 3,600 food bags, 1,200 sets of relief materials (in which there are blanket, mosquito net, mat and cutlery) and 450 sets of hygiene kits in Marabut and Basey through Integral Alliance and FH.

[1] CEDAR Typhoon Relief︰

Meditation on Scriptures
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46: 1)
The typhoon victims lost their homes and families overnight, but have to endure endless of unsettling nights. How can they escape from such pain and unrest? The shelter promised by our God is one that no one can destroy. It is solid and firm. May God be their ever-present help in trouble, leading them to find peace on earth and in their hearts.

Pray for the Typhoon Victims in Philippines:

    1. FH helps over 5,000 affected children through the ‘Child Friendly Space’ project, providing them public hygiene facilities and hygiene education. Hope that this project can really help to improve the local hygiene conditions and reduce the threat of epidemic and spread of germs in disaster areas.
    2. FH has introduced the ‘Cash for Work’ project, so victims can earn living by cleaning up the disaster areas. Give thanks to God’s provision! Many of the victims now have basic fishing tools and also seeds for farming. Pray that God will continue to provide for their needs and the victims will soon become self-sufficient.
    3. Pray that Philippines government and the NGOs will have a comprehensive planning on rebuilding the houses and communities. Pray that God will provide solid shelters to the victims, help in rebuilding of the victims’ homes, and strengthen the frontline aid workers for taking part in the disaster rehabilitation work.
    4. The new typhoon season is coming. Pray for total recovery of the affected communities and from pain in people’s hearts; and for strength given to the victims in facing their new living and coming challenge.

Relief Donation

  • Cheque payable to ‘CEDAR FUND’
  • Deposit to HSBC A/C No. 600-385678-001, enclosing with the Pay-in slip
  • Visa/ Master Card (Download donation form)
  • Online donation

(Please mark “Philippines Typhoon Relief”)

[1] CEDAR is an approved charitable institutions and trusts of a public character under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance. Please click Inland Revenue Department website to check for details.
[2] Donations over $100 are tax deductible in Hong Kong with our receipts.
[3] Please DO NOT fax any donation information.

Contact Method

Add>G.P.O. Box 3212Hong Kong

CEDAR’s Relief and Rehabilitation Work in Past:
CEDAR Approach on Relief and Rehabilitation:


May God Heal the Brokenness of the People in South Sudan

[ePrayer – Pray for those helpless and powerless in South Sudan]


Since the eruption of fighting between the government and the opposition forces in mid-December that span across nearly half of South Sudan, UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) has estimated that at least 923,000 South Sudanese are displaced within their own country and over 293,000 people have become refugees in neighbouring countries. Tens of thousands of the displaced civilians are seeking shelter at UN peacekeeping bases (UNMISS) throughout the country.

Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that one-third of the population of South Sudan is now experiencing food shortage. Some areas of the country will be even at high risk of famine in the coming months.

In the past 5 months, gross human rights abuses have been committed by both sides in the brutal conflict, including rapes, mass killings and torture. According to a recent United Nations report, civilians were not only caught up in the violence, but were directly targeted, often along ethnic lines.

The current militarised environment places women and girls at a heightened risk of sexual violence, as armed men are seen everywhere and civilian law enforcement is virtually absent,. Even those sheltered in UN bases are not safe. Women and girls are harassed at night. Many are even too fearful to bathe at night or go out to the toilet. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) estimated that 10,000 displaced women and girls reside in areas that are inaccessible to aid organisations and are at risk of sexual violence. [IRIN, UN News (1), UN News (2)]

Meditation on Scriptures:

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
(Psalm 146: 6-9)

In the Old Testament, the foreigner, fatherless and widow are always mentioned together. These three groups of people are the most powerless among the marginalised. The foreigners live in places not of their own, the fatherless lost their parents and live alone without any provision from others, and the widows are often ignored in the community and live without dignity. God extends His powerful arm to protect and help the most powerless, and is pleased with those who act according to His will.

Come, let us raise our hands and pray for the refugees, orphans and widows affected by the current conflict in South Sudan; and for the God’s servants who are walking with the helpless and powerless in the frontline.

Pray for those helpless and powerless in South Sudan:

  • Thanks God for the recent signing of an agreement between the government and the opposition forces to resolve the crisis in South Sudan, and pray for an immediate cessation of hostilities;
  • Pray for God’s provision to the hungers, that the children and women are protected, and those suffered from diseases, violence, abuses and traumas are healed;
  • Medair and Tearfund UK, also member agencies of Integral Alliance, are now serving the helpless and powerless in South Sudan. Pray for their works and safety.

Loving Care Passing On from One Generation to Another

[ ‘SHARE’ May-Jun 2014 ] SPECIAL TOPIC


Interviewed and arranged by> Tiffany Lam

Whenever my 90-year-old grandmother recalls times of wars and hardship, her eyes would well up with tears and I would hold her hands and say, ‘Thank you for protecting this family with great perseverance!’ Our predecessors were not only witnesses of changes through time but they were also contributors to the making of today’s society.

Currently, there are over 0.94 million people in Hong Kong aged 65+ and it is estimated that by 2041 the number will increase to 2.56 million, being 30% of the total population. Globally, one in nine persons is aged 60+ and it is estimated that by 2050 the aged population will account for 20% of the total. Aging population always brings about discussions on issues such as elderly services, social healthcare, and dependency ratio but are the elderly always on the receiving end and waiting for support?

Pang: Learned from father and passes on to the next generation


Born and raised in a poor family in Hong Kong, Pang says, ‘In our days, people started working at a young age; I began at 14.’ She had worked in many different jobs; a cleaner in a hospital kitchen, a parts assembler in an electronics factory and finally a children worker

Pang has a reputation of raising good kids, whether the kids are of her own or of others. ‘This was due to my father’s influence: he taught me to walk in the right path and be a responsible person to both my family and the society. I pass on this attitude hoping that the younger generations will hold onto the correct values, making a positive impact to the society.’

At age 14, Pang entered into workforce because of her family; but in her thirties, she also made a choice to quit the job she loved and stayed home to look after her young sons. Did she miss her career? ‘We were not well off but I did not struggle too much over the decision because nothing is more important than my family!’ It could be that the inherent gender roles or the socio-economic factors playing a role in her decision then. What is clear though is in her generation, ‘family’ is the basic of all. .

When Pang’s sons grew up, she returned to work until retirement. As a person who takes family as the top priority, apart from looking after her grandchildren, Pang spent most of her time with her husband. Sadly, her husband was diagnosed with lung cancer during that time and passed away after 2 years. ‘My husband needed injectable medication costing over HK$30,000 per dose, and we simply could not afford it. Then a former colleague of my husband’s offered to pay for all medical expenses – we were immensely surprised and grateful.’

It was virtually impossible for Pang to deal with her grief; a street scene, a festival, food or event would bring up memories of her husband. ‘It was not until last year that I regain the courage to meet up with my husband’s friends again.’ What brought her out from the valley of sorrow? ‘2-3 years ago I joined a elderly fellowship and had a chance to hear many life stories. Many others had similar experiences of losing close ones, but they continue to live their lives positively.’ Their experiences helped Pang get out of the gloom and encouraged her to bravely continue with life’s journey.

‘For the rest of my days I hope to continue serving the elderly people, walk with them and listen to their stories, whether happy or sad, explore with them the meaning of life, and help them to know God.’ In her whole life Pang loves her family, loves children and now loves the elderly, ministering wholeheartedly to the lives she encounters, keeping her father’s teaching and applying it faithfully.

Naomi: Despite physical weakness, her heart is still on the orphans


Naomi (an assumed name) is 62 years old and lives in Zimbabwe, ten thousand miles away from Hong Kong. Despite her weak body from cancer, she lovingly cares for the AIDS-orphans at home.

The sun shines through the window onto her face, ‘I enjoy looking after little children – there are 6 kids living in my home, they are all from different families and most had their parents died from AIDS.’

In Zimbabwe, ‘skipped-generational families’ are common. AIDS is rampant causing the death of many adults. Zimbabwe is facing with a high 80% unemployment rate and many adults travelled to work in South Africa. Because of these 2 factors, many children are left with their grandparents.

Naomi’s daughter was also an AIDS sufferer and Naomi joined a parents’ group held by CEDAR’s partner Family AIDS Caring Trust (FACT) in order to learn how to look after her. Naomi noticed that many AIDS orphans were lack of care so she started taking them home so they would not have to wander in the streets.

‘In the FACT group, we grandmothers share and shoulder our family problems and learn to sew and raise chicken; we also do small trades to earn money.’ Every penny or food they earn is cherished. ‘Give us today our daily bread’ is Naomi’s daily prayer. ‘We do not always eat enough every day; sometimes I collect food scraps from factories and sometimes organisations donate food to us.’ What upsets Naomi the most, however, is that she cannot afford schooling for “her” six children.

Naomi often prays with her group members, telling her difficulties to the empowering God. ‘When I was diagnosed with cancer my daughter was infected with HIV; I was helpless and could do nothing to ease her suffering.’ In those painful days, praying became her source of strength to live on. ‘By God’s strength I could continue looking after my daughter until her death, and my other son who is mentally handicapped.’

Naomi knows her days are counting but her heart is always concerning about her orphans, ‘I hope to persevere and survive, until they graduate, get married and have their own children.’

Different places, different experiences

Pang and Naomi live in different parts of the world and have very different backgrounds and cultures, but they both walked through difficult times and protected their families. They grieved over the loss of their loved ones then received support from fellows, and now continue to care for their neighbours and communities.

The ‘seeds of life’ passing from one generation to the next are sown in many places by unnamed predecessors.

FACT ministers to these AIDS-orphans who are looked after solely by their grandmothers

Related information

UNFPA’s report ‘Ageing in the Twenty-First Century – A Celebration and A Challenge’ pointed out that as a result of adults’ rural to urban migration, children and older people are left behind, creating significant number of ‘skipped-generation’ households. The elderly now become the main providers and supporters in family labour, finance and child-raising.

Those older persons who participated in this report survey expressed their needs of income security, flexible employment, affordable healthcare and medication, age-friendly housing and transportation, and the end of discrimination, violence and abuse against older persons. They emphasised their wish to be active and respected members in their society, and not be regarded as mere welfare recipients.

This issue

  • FOCUS: MINISTRY> Loving Care Passing On from One Generation to Another
  • STEP INTO THE WORLD> May There be Life Security for the Zimbabwean Orphaned Families
  • JOIN HANDS JOIN HEARTS> These Children are Also Loved
  • TAKING ACTION> Words from a Retiree | Rev. Lee Ching-chee
  • Download this issue

May There be Life Security for the Zimbabwean Orphaned Families

[ ‘SHARE’ May-Jun 2014 – Loving Care Passing On from One Generation to Another ] STEP INTO THE WORLD


According to UN figures, about 15% of the Zimbabwean population is HIV positive, but frontline relief organisations estimate the actual figure to be 30%. One out of four children is an AIDS-orphan. It is already distressing being an orphan, but the lack of identity documents further puts them into difficulties as without an identity document these orphans cannot go to school or inherit their parents’ possessions.

CEDAR’s partner Trinity Project Trust (‘Trinity’) carries out awareness programs, helps widows and orphans to apply for rights and benefits that are rightfully theirs, and also mobilises the local churches to care for these families. Trinity also educates parents on the importance of citizenship and encourages birth registration. However as there are only a few registration offices, parents living in the remote places need to travel a whole day to get there and travelling expenses are costly. Trinity is now planning to subsidize travelling expenses for the impoverished families so more parents can afford to bring their babies for birth registration thereby their civilian rights protected.

  • HK$400/month donation can fund Trinity towards completing the birth registration and inheritance procedure for AIDS-orphans

Please also support Trinity’s awareness programs for widows and orphans. *

* This is one of the projects categorized by CEDAR’s ‘Join Hands Join Hearts’ Children Ministry Scheme. For details visit

Donate Now! Click here.

Other Methods of Payment

  1. Cheque payable to ‘CEDAR FUND’
  2. Deposit to HSBC A/C No. 600-385678-001, enclosing with the Pay-in slip
  3. Autopay (only applicable to regular fixed donations), enclosing with a completed Autopay Authorisation Form (Download: WORD or PDF)
  4. Visa/ Master Card

Download Donation Form

Please send a completed Donation Form, enclosing with cheque or pay-in slip, to CEDAR FUND, G.P.O. BOX 3212, HONG KONG.

Donation Form: WORD or PDF

[1] CEDAR is an approved charitable institutions and trusts of a public character under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance. Please click Inland Revenue Department website to check for details.
[2] Donations over $100 are tax deductible in Hong Kong with our receipts.
[3] Please DO NOT fax any donation information.

These Children are Also Loved

[ ‘SHARE’ May-Jun 2014 – Loving Care Passing On from One Generation to Another ] JOIN HANDS JOIN HEARTS


Interviewed and arranged by>Jojo Poon

Last November CEDAR staff Chik Tsan-ming (‘Chik’) visited our partners Family AIDS Caring Trust (FACT) and Trinity Project Trust (‘Trinity’) in Zimbabwe and met some of the children and families under their assistance program. To Chik, Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources, has good infrastructure and a high adult literacy of over 90%, but at the same time many vacant shopping malls and factories, an 80% unemployment rate and the typical day of having no lunch for most people.

Zimbabwe became independent and the white minority rule ended in 1980. The country then elected its first democratic president Robert Mugabe and he has been ruling Zimbabwe since then. After coming to power, Mugabe evicted the white landowners and confiscated all their lands, ruining Zimbabwe’s agricultural production and development, causing a sharp fall in the nation’s economy. Facing a weak economy and long-term debt, the Zimbabwean government printed banknotes in an attempt to cover the deficit but that only resulted in inflation in terms of millions and currency devaluation. High inflation, high unemployment rate and a high AIDS population all contributed to Zimbabwe’s poverty today.

‘I believe what the Zimbabwean children need most is an “identity”, legally and psychologically.’ Chik visited a local primary school in which two-thirds of the pupils do not have any identity document, without which they can neither continue their education nor inherit their parents’ possessions.

A staff member of FACT told Chik that her wish is these orphans could feel loved like other normal children. This touched Chik deeply. Yes, love is not restricted by blood relations, and although these orphans no longer have their parents’ love and protection, they are still loved by the church and the local community. We pray that the AIDS-orphans in Zimbabwe will truly know and experience that they are also being loved.

Chik was saddened with what he saw in Zimbabwe but he also witnessed how God trained the local churches to respond to the community needs according to the bible’s teaching, that the churches take part in nurturing and training the Zimbabwean children for the nation’s future development. Chik believes this is the ultimate objective of children ministry in poverty relief.
‘Join Hands Join Hearts’ Children Ministry Scheme