Mano Ganesan, first runner-up for U.S. Human Rights Award - US Embassy

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 12:06 GMT]
The leader of Western Province People's Front (WPPF), Member of Parliament and the Convener of the Civil Monitoring Commission on Extra-Judicial killings and Disappearances (CMC), was the first runner-up for U.S. Human Rights Award, the first Freedom Defender's Award, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Colombo Tuesday. Mr. Ganesan has been in the forefront of those seeking an end to the abductions, disappearances and extrajudicial killings that afflict Sri Lanka, the U.S. Embassy said adding that he has demonstrated commendable integrity in combating the climate of impunity for human rights violators. The award went to the NGO Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Full text of the press release issued by the U.S. Embassy follows:

Mano Ganesan First Runner-up for U.S. Human Rights Award

Colombo, December 11, 2007 -- On December 10 in Washington, D.C., U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that the recipient of the first annual Freedom Defender's Award is the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, chosen out of an impressive group of nominees from across the globe. The Freedom Defenders Award, announced last year in commemoration of International Human Rights Day, goes to a foreign individual or nongovernmental organization that has shown exceptional courage and leadership in the defense of human rights.

On February 20, 2007, U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake visited Mano Ganesan at his CMC office to recognize his contributions to the defense of human rights and his other democracy-building activities.
The First Runner-up for this award was Mano Ganesan, a leading Sri Lankan human rights activist and Member of Parliament. Mr. Ganesan has been in the forefront of those seeking an end to the abductions, disappearances and extrajudicial killings that afflict Sri Lanka. He has demonstrated commendable integrity in combating the climate of impunity for human rights violators.

In 2006 Mano Ganesan founded the Civil Monitoring Commission on Extra-Judicial Killings and Disappearances (CMC), based in Colombo, and continues to serve as the CMC Convener. He has shown enormous personal courage and dedication in exposing crimes against Sri Lanka’s several minority communities, including the country’s Muslims. Relatives of those abducted, “disappeared” and killed often turn first to the CMC to try to obtain information on their loved ones or secure their release.

Mano Ganesan, describing his mission as a representative of the voiceless, said: “I am speaking against injustice, and my cause is to achieve human dignity and human rights for the people of this country who are placed in a deliberate and unfortunate situation in an extremist political climate.”

The U.S. Embassy is proud to share this moment with Mano Ganesan and the many others in Sri Lanka who have worked tirelessly to defend human rights and to seek justice for the victims of human rights abuses.


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