Madeline England

Madeline England (Home for Human Rights – HHR): Madeline received her BA in economics from Mount Holyoke College in 2002. She then worked as a legal assistant for a London law firm and as an outreach coordinator for the Women’s Anti-Violence Education program in Philadelphia. From 2004 to 2006, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania, West Africa, where she helped women entrepreneurs to coordinate marketing campaigns and business plans. At the time of her fellowship, Madeline was pursuing a Masters in International Affairs with a concentration in Human Rights at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. After her fellowship, Madeline wrote: "The fellowship was an infinitely valuable experience. I learned more about human rights advocacy and research, exactly as I was hoping, and I also gained experience working in a conflict zone. It helped me to develop the skills and understanding to work with community-based human rights organizations."

Letter from a Sri Lankan jail

08 Jul

The following letter is from one of HHR’s clients. I changed names and specific details and added paragraphs to make it easier to read. Otherwise I copied the English translation exactly since I don’t know if the errors are from the translation or the original letter.

I can’t tell you much about this man, except that he was the sole provider for his family when he was arrested. I do not believe for a moment that he committed the crime for which he was convicted. There is so much more I want to say about him and what he has been through. There is so much more to his story, more suffering than most people are capable of comprehending. But I can’t tell you those things (one of the more frustrating parts of my work), so I will leave you with his words.

I wish I could tell you that this is the only letter of its kind HHR has ever received. Unfortunately it is one of many.

Dear Sir,

Sir I am writing this letter to know the status of my case processing, sir I have no way to speak with you. So far you have done many helps to me I will be thankful to you forever.

In my hometown the present situation is very worse. The Sri Lanka military forces are continuously shelling in those areas. Therefore the people from these places have started to move towards Batticaloa town. Now my mother is also displaced in the present situation and now she is living in Batticaloa town. My mother is expecting my release and she is waiting for me, I told her that I will be released soon she believes me sir so I cannot lie to her always it’s better to die. Now I am detained for more than ten years and now I am mentally upset. I was thinking that I will be released soon but now I am doubting it. So sir now I am under depression of my situation. I don’t have any things for my use. I am suffering to stay here.

Sara who lives in Colombo comes to see me, she gives me clothes, sugar, milk, but I don’t like to trouble her because her husband Mike is also in the prison with me here. Sir when you come to see me, please if you can meet him also, his prison number is 123. Will I be released before my birthday? I am believing you sir. This is Sara’s number 555 1234. If you can please call and speak with her and fix an appointment, she will come to meet you at your office. Sir if you can give some money to her for my expenditure don’t misunderstand me if it’s difficult for you it’s ok.

Please sir I like to hear good news about my case soon from you. Take care sir. Convey my regards to your family. Sir I wrote this letter to you, if there is any mistake please apologies me. Sir please if you can reply me.

Yours truly,

Technorati Profile

Posted By Madeline England

Posted Jul 8th, 2007

1 Comment

  • Lisa Hanson

    September 10, 2007


    That letter… absolutely breaks the heart. Is there any way for prisoners there to receive mail? Just letters of support and caring? I am sure they would not allow such a letter in from the US. How devastating. Do you know what happened with him? I’m sure I don’t want to know.

Enter your Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *