Right to truth and dignity: voices of the victims
On the International Day for the Right to the Truth and for the Dignity of Victims, TRIAL International gives the floor to a few brave victims it supports.
Nepal: from victim to activist
Since his father was forcibly disappeared in 2001, Ram Bhandari has become a leading figure for human rights in Nepal.
“I have dedicated my life to defending victims of enforced disappearances. With the National Network of Families of the Disappeared, we inform people of their rights. We also raise awareness on what enforced disappearance is. Hopefully in the future there will be less social stigma attached to families of the disappeared: I never want to see another woman shunned like my mother was.”
DRC: no closure for the Kabungulu’s widow
Déborah Kitumaini is the widow of Pascal Kabungulu, an eminent Congolese human rights defender. She lost everything overnight: her husband, her belongings, and her country. Since then, she has been living in Canada with her six children. The murderers have never been caught.
“I am a widow. My children are fatherless. We continue to live in fear, while Pascal’s murderers – who were clearly identified as the culprits – are living freely. I dream of the day I can return to visit the DRC, to see all my loved ones again, to breathe the air of Bukavu and to walk once again on its soil, in safety and security, holding my head high and knowing that the men who killed my husband will no longer be able to harm us or others.”
Bosnia and Herzegovina: the dignity to fight on
K.’s quest for justice started in 1994 when she reported her rape by soldiers of the Republika Srpska Army. Her complaint was registered, but justice stood at a standstill. Decades later, she has lost none of her will to fight for justice.
“Even though it has been 23 years, I do believe that one day perpetrators will be arrested and prosecuted. When I hear stories of victims like myself, who saw the perpetrator convicted and were granted compensation, it makes me more persistent and confident.”
DRC: a three-days travel to establish the truth
Yvette and Sylvie were raped in a remote village of Eastern DRC. When the perpetrator was finally caught, their testimonies soon appeared indispensable to his trial.
And so Yvette and Sylvie embarked in the longest journey of their life: they travelled by motorbike, car and plane for three days, all the way to Bukavu where the trial took place. Neither had left their village before. By telling their story before the judges, they helped to establish the truth and see their assaulter punished.
TRIAL International supports many more victims struggling to access truth and closure. You can help us achieve more by donating here.