South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of Human Rights Defenders, expresses its heartfelt condolences on the demise of Mrs Manouri Muttetuwegama, a Sri Lankan Attorney-at-law, and Activist who has been a champion for Human Rights, justice and peace.
Mrs Muttetuwegama was the Chairperson of the Presidential Commission on Disappearances (1994-1997) and All Island Commission on Disappearances (1998-2002). She was the chairperson of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms established in 2016. She was also a former commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.
Mrs Manouri Muttetuwegama was a renowned legal mind and no stranger to politics as she hailed from both a political and a legal background. Her activism in defending human rights covered various issues including fighting relentlessly for justice and human rights on behalf of all who experienced discrimination and persecution. By serving as Chairperson in various commissions, Mrs Muttetuwegama always shared the sufferings of the victims and believed that the Disappearance Commission gave an opportunity to the affected families to present their cases before an officially appointed body. Further, she always insisted on implementing tangible measures to address accountability issues.
Mrs Muttetuwegama brought her powerful presence to every event she got invited to and many others to show her support. She offered her advice and time all generously over many years and lived as an exemplary figure in the field of human rights in Sri Lanka.
Her strong political voice and her relentless fight for truth and justice will live on in the generations of activists she inspired. We will miss her profoundly but the impact of her work and vision will accompany us forever.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights,
Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy
Dr. Roshmi Goswami