International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony
by US Dept. of State, Washington, DC, March 29, 2017
From the booklet handed out at the event:
Sandya Eknelyoda is a symbol of the search for justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Following the disappearance of her husband, Prageeth Eknelygoda in 2010, Sandya made it her mission to fight for the families of the missing. As a result, her husband’s case has become a barometer of the Sri Lnkan government’s ability to restore the rule of law and accountability to the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution it co-sponsored in October 2015. Sandya’s pursuit of justice is now in its seventh year. In that time, she has made over 90 court appearances, seeking information and resolutions regarding her husband’s fate. Sandya has readily lent her voice to families of disappeared victims from Sri Lanka’s civil conflict, primarily in the Northern and Eastern provinces. Sandya has regularly traveled to these areas at considerable personal expense to meet with families of the missing and offer them advice and encouragement. Although Sandya comes from the majority Sinhalese community of southern Sri Lanka, she has been embraced by the Tamil people of the north as a symbol of the nation-wide search for justice and reconciliation. Sandya’s campaign is based upon her belief that “pursuing the truth is not a crime, protecting the perpetrators is.” She stands for all Sri Lankans who see the truth regarding those that have disappeared.