20 APRIL 2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NESOHR Condemns Father Karunaratnam’s Assassination
It is with a profound sense of shock and loss that the Members of the North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR) learnt of the assassination of Rev. Fr. M. X. Karunaratnam, its Chairman.
After presiding over Sunday Mass, Rev. Fr. Karunaratnam was traveling to attend the 45th day Remembrance event of the late Mr. Sivanesan MP (TNA), who too was assassinated by the Sri Lanka Army’s Deep Penetration Unit recently. Rev. Fr. Karunaratnam was travelling in his white Double Cab, which due to technical failure was being towed at the time the Sri Lanka Army Deep Penetration Unit detonated a Claymore Mine targeting him. It should be noted that the towing vehicle was not targeted. Rev. Fr. Karunaratnam’s movements and the vehicle he travelled in were a matter of public knowledge.
Rev. Fr. Karunaratnam dedicated his life to the service of the Tamil people. He was a man passionate about the welfare of the Tamil people. He in turn was loved and respected by the Tamil people and everyone who came in contact with him.
Rev. Fr. Karunaratnam was the one-time Chairman of the NGO Consortium, and also worked for the news service, Radio Veritas prior to founding the NorthEast Secretariat on Human Rights.
In his capacity as the Chairman of NESOHR, he worked tirelessly championing the Human Rights of the Tamil people. He travelled to the United States, Canada and Geneva meeting with Foreign Governments and Organizations concerned in Human Rights. Rev. Fr. Karunaratnam pioneered the work of NESOHR in the field of psychological counseling of the war and tsunami affected people in the Tamil Homeland.
The targeted killing of Rev. Fr. Karunaratnam is yet another glaring example of the genocidal intent with which the Sri Lankan State is waging war against the Tamil people. He is the latest member of NESOHR to be assassinated, the others being Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham (Co Founder Member of NESOHR and TNA Member of Parliament) and Mr. A. ChandraNehru (Co Founder Member of NESOHR and former TNA Member of Parliament).
NESOHR condemns in the strongest possible terms the Sri Lankan State for the assassination of Rev. Fr. Karunaratnam. NESOHR calls upon the International Community to hold the Sri Lankan State accountable for grave Human Rights violations and serious breaches in International Humanitarian Law that it is committing against the Tamil people.
Signed, on behalf of NESOHR officers,
G. G. PONNAMBALAM, MP
Co-Founder and Member of NESOHR
Honorary Treasurer, NESOHR