The Tamil Diaspora and human rights groups have mourned the death of leading human rights activist Sunila Abeysekara.
The Global Tamil Forum said that Sunila represented a unique voice from within the majority Sinhalese community and fought repression of all forms, be it against Sinhalese, Tamils, women, Muslims and youth.
Reverend Dr. S.J. Emmanuel, President of the Global Tamil Forum said that Sunila built an international solidarity networking around the globe on issues of poverty, environment, labour, women’s rights, and emancipation.
“Tamils lost a rare voice of reason within Sri Lanka. Sunila Abeyasekara fought for equality of all of the residents of Sri Lanka. She stood in solidarity with Tamils in our most trying times, and she stood for accountability and justice since the end of the war in 2009,” he said.
The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) said it was deeply saddened by the loss of Sunila Abeysekara, a passionate, tireless and courageous human rights activist.
CTC says with Sunila Abeysekara’s untimely death, one of the greatest voices for peace on the island of Sri Lanka and beyond, has been lost.
The New York based Human Rights Watch also mourned the death of Sunila Abeysekera who spent more than two decades documenting human rights violations in Sri Lanka.
Human Rights Watch says during Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, Abeysekera refused to take sides, denouncing abuses by both the government and the LTTE.
“Her fierce commitment for the rights of all civilians regardless of ethnicity won her broad-based respect. She faced death threats for her work in an environment which both during and after the war was dangerous for human rights defenders. In spite of these threats, she frequently took her message to the United Nations and other international venues, where she was a combative defender for justice,” Human Rights Watch added. (Colombo Gazette)