Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

TCHR on Fr. Karunaratnam

by Tamil Centre for Human Rights, April 20, 2008

We strongly condemn the killing of this courageous Human rights defender and Catholic Parish Priest, who worked tirelessly to raise concerns about human rights violations and to bring peace in Sri Lanka. TCHR members have worked closely with Father Karunaratnam, and are deeply saddened by the loss of this remarkable and immensely compassionate man.

 

TAMIL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - TCHR/CTDH

CENTRE TAMOUL POUR LES DROITS DE L'HOMME

(Established in 1990)

www.tchr.net

Ref : HY021/PR/2008                                                                             20 April 2008

Chairperson of the Human Rights Secretariat, Catholic Priest,

killed by Sri Lankan Army Deep Penetration Unit

TCHR, along with many representatives of other solidarity organisations, is shocked and appalled by the assassination of the Chairperson of the North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR), Rev. Father M X Karunaratnam today. According to the information received, the Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) of the Sri Lanka Army targeted him while going in his vehicle to his Church in Vannivilangkulam, Mallavi.

We strongly condemn the killing of this courageous Human rights defender and Catholic Parish Priest, who worked tirelessly to raise concerns about human rights violations and to bring peace in Sri Lanka. TCHR members have worked closely with Father Karunaratnam, and are deeply saddened by the loss of this remarkable and immensely compassionate man.

Father Karunaratnam is the 3rd founder member of the North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR) to have been brutally killed by Sri Lankan government-sponsored killers. Former parliamentarian, Mr Chandra Nehru of Amparai (February 2005) and senior Batticaloa Parliamentarian Mr Joseph Pararajasingam (December 2005) were also assassinated by Sri Lankan government-sponsored killers.

In the recent past Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government has killed several Catholic priests, human rights defenders who were very critical of Sri Lanka’s human rights record.

We pose the question as to whether the Mahinda Rajapaksa government knows anything other than motivating the killings of civil society members – parliamentarians, human rights and humanitarian workers, lawyers, religious leaders, academics, journalists, members of the business community and others.

It came as no surprise, that Sri Lanka rejected UN moves to establish an international human rights monitoring body in Sri Lanka, and also that the international community JUST WATCHES these brutal killings of human rights defenders and civilians in Sri Lanka.

Fr Karunaratnam visited the USA and several European countries including Switzerland to explain the human rights situation in Sri Lanka to dignitaries.

On a local level, he worked to support victims of human rights violations and the 2004 tsunami, through psychological help and counselling. His loss will be felt deeply by many.

TCHR would like to express heartfelt condolences to members of NESOHR, Father Karunaratnam’s family and friends, and his parishioners.

“Great people never die, they always live in the hearts and minds of the people”

Tamil Centre for Human Rights - TCHR/CTDH     
9, rue des Peupliers - 95140 Garge les Gonesse - FRANCE
Contact person : S. V. Kirubaharan – General Secretary
Tel/Fax: + 33 1 42 67 54 36  - Email: tchrgs@hotmail.com / tchgs@tchr.net