NESoHR Chairman Fr. Karunaratnam killed in DPU attack

[TamilNet, Sunday, 20 April 2008, 07:57 GMT]
Rev. Father M X Karunaratnam, the chairman of the NorthEast Secretariat on Human Rights (NESoHR), was killed in a Claymore attack carried out by a Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) of the Sri Lanka Army on Sunday, according to initial reports from Tamileelam Police. The attack took place on Mallaavi - Vavunikku'lam Road in Vanni around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, according to initial reports.

Fr. M. X. Karunaratnam
Fr. M. X. Karunaratnam
Fr. Karunaratnam frequently uses the road as his residential prayer and counseling center is located in Vavunikku'lam. His vehicle is known to everyone in the area, residents said implying that the Claymore attack has specifically targeted him.

The attack took place near Kuzhanthai Jesus Church at Vannivi'laangku'lam while his vehicle, which had broken down on his way back to his residence from Maangku'lam Church, was being towed and he was seated in the driver seat steering it. A shrapnel hit his head, causing brain injuries and he died on the spot. His body was brought to Ki'linochchi hospital.

Remains of Fr.  M. X. Karunaratnam
The mortal remains of Fr. M. X. Karunaratnam were brought to the St. Theresa's Church, Ki'linochchi, Sunday around 6:30 p.m.
Remains of Fr.  M. X. Karunaratnam
The mortal remains of Fr. M. X. Karunaratnam kept for people to pay their last respects
Fr. Karunartnam was the foremost Human Rights activist in Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam controlled Vanni. NESoHR was the only body in Vanni to report and voice for the Human Rights of the Tamil people in the NorthEast.

Fondly called as 'Ki'li Father,' he also played a key role in providing psychological support for those in the NorthEast affected by the war and the 2004 Tsunami disaster.

NESoHR was launched, in July 2004, as part of the Norwegian-facilitated 2002 Peace Process to strengthen the human rights protection mechanisms in the NorthEast of Sri Lanka.

Karunaratnam led a NESoHR delegation to Geneva in October 2004 and met with several European organizations involved in rights issues. Officials and diplomats visiting Ki'linochchi had also made it a practice to meet Fr. Karunaratnam to discuss the humanitarian situation during their missions to Vanni.

In his latest report, issued on April 5, 2008, he noted:

"The [Sri Lankan] local mechanism to ensure good governance with respect for human rights has miserably failed and there is widespread call for the establishment of a UN body to monitor human rights violations. Sri Lanka’s claim that establishing such a body is an infringement on the sovereignty and integrity of the state does not hold water as long as series of mass murders and disappearances of Tamil people during communal pogroms and military offensives are not investigated by neutral agencies and perpetrators brought to book in a transparent manner. Diplomatic manipulations and unquestioned rhetoric by Sri Lanka in the world body should not be allowed to white wash the grim ground reality."

In his latest report, he also said: "NESoHR as the Human Rights body of the Tamil people had high hopes in the UN Human Rights session in view of the buildup of opinion against human rights violations committed by state actors in Sri Lanka."

"Most disappointingly we find that Sri Lanka was able to hold fort and technically defend its totally unacceptable human rights record in spite of the many adverse reports on human rights violations against the Tamil people."

"This is the advantage rogue states have over unrepresented people in the UN. NESoHR has the responsibility to voice the concerns of an unrepresented people in the UN who have been deceptively made a minority in their land of birth to depend on a majority with a supremacist psychosis by the colonial powers when they left the island," he had noted.

Two of the eleven founder members of NESoHR and parliamentarians of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) have been killed in Sri Lanka Army backed paramilitary attacks earlier.

A. Chandra Nehru, a founder member of NESoHR and former TNA Parliamentarian for the Ampaa'rai District was killed by paramilitary in February 2005.

Joseph Pararajasingam, a senior TNA MP from Batticaloa and a founder member of the NESoHR was shot dead on the Christmas Eve of 2005.

The other founding members of the NESoHR are: K. Sivapalan, an attorney-at-law from Trincomalee, now exiled in Norway, TNA parliamentarian Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, whose father Kumar Ponnamapalam was allegedly assassinated by the Sri Lankan establishment in January 2000, the general secretary of the Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union (CTTU) T. Mahasivam, Dr. K Sivapalan, Ms. Sri Arulananthan, Mr.S. Achsuthan, Dr. N. Malathy and Dr. S Sriskandaraja.

HR workshop
Rev. Fr. M X Karunaratnam addressing a Human Rights workshop at Puthukkudiyiruppu High School auditorium in October, 2005.


Related Articles:
25.12.05   NESOHR mourns killing of Pararajasingham
08.02.05   Wounded ex-TNA MP dies
20.01.05   Dire need for long-term psychological counseling- Fr.Karunar..

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