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sithamuFollowing on suggestions made previously with regard to land and livelihood issues, I present here recommendations as to the two other areas I highlighted.

Improving psycho-social services is vital, and it is astonishing that we have not paid greater attention to this in the past. We had been concerned about this problem at the Peace Secretariat, and I recently came across correspondence dating from 2008, when I went to the WHO offices in Geneva to urge preparation for the problems we saw as inevitable, given the protracted conflict.

Unfortunately the system initially recommended could not be implemented because of what seemed to be internal rivalries. No substitute was suggested, so it is a tribute to the system the Ministry of Health put in place in Manik Farm that basic support was made available to prevent breakdowns on a large scale.

But, though medical personnel also noted the need for long term planning, given the long term impact of trauma, there was insufficient attention to this factor. It has even been claimed that some elements in government did not want support work in this area, perhaps in the ostrich-like belief that, if such matters were ignored, they would go away. So even the imaginative proposal of the Commissioner General for Rehabilitation to develop counseling services, building on the input they had received from experienced international practitioners with regard to combatants in rehabilitation, was not pursued. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rajiva Wijesinha

June 2019
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