The International Human Rights Day-2022 was celebrated on Saturday, 10th of December, by the Tamil Information Centre(TIC) in London.
The Tamil Information Centre observes the International Human Rights Day each year to remember the suffering of human beings throughout the world and the loss of lives that resulted in the struggle for human rights in Sri Lanka.
Accordingly the Tamil Information Centre celebrated the Human Rights Day 2021 event under the theme of ”Justice For Enforced Disappearance in Sri Lanka” on Saturday, 10th December at Sutton in London.
Prof. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, Former United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order and USA’s legal expert, Prof Lutz Oette, Professor at the University of London – SOAS), Prof Radha D’Souza, Professor at the West Minister University, Magret Owen OBE, the president and the founder of Widows for Peace through Democracy and Mr. S. V. Kirupaharan, the founder and the Secretary General of Tamil Centre for Human Rights – France, and Councillor Cumar Sahathevan for Sutton were the main guests of the event. Apart from them, political leaders, religious leaders, representatives of Tamil organisations, human rights activists, journalists, volunteers from Tamil Information Centre and Community Centre for Development, and many others participated in the event.
The event started with one-minute silence to honour the lives that has been lost in Sri Lanka and around the world due to the oppression of human rights. And, to honour the people who has lost their lives during the battle of the world peace. Followed by the ceremony of lighting the traditional lamb.
The programme began with the Thamil Thaai Vanakkam which is a song in honour of the deified personification of the Tamil language. The first keynote speech of the event was given by United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order and USA’s legal expert, Prof. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas.
This was followed by a documentary film ”Sri Lanka, Rebels wife”. The film covered the story of Ms. Ananthy Sasitharan and directed by International award winner, Kannan Arunachchalam. This movie showed the day to day difficulties faced by the families of enforced disappeared in Sri Lanka, and their struggle for Justice together with the threats they face.
After the film, other special guests gave their speeches. Following the speeches, a drama to explain the human rights violations in Sri Lanka was staged by the Meiveli Drama Unit.
The next segment of the event was the award ceremony. Varadhakumar Memorial Award 2022 was presented to Prof. Lutz Oette. This was given to him for his services with TIC on human rights violations in Sri Lanka and his book on Genocide in Sri Lanka ” The International Crime of Genocide: The Case of Tamil People”. This book is the first to give the legal definition of genocide in Sri Lanka and was published in March 1998 by the TIC. Prof Lutz Oette explained the political complexity of proving a genocide.
The TIC’s “Human Rights Awards” was presented to Mr. S.V. Kirupaharan in appreciation of his 30 years of contribution to human rights as well as to the media.
Second Human Rights Awards was presented to a senior director of TIC and brother of Late. Dr. Rajasundram, who was killed in 1983 riots in prison, Mr. Somasundram Kanagasundram. He was introduced by Dr. Thevananthan and the award was presented by directors of TIC.
Finally the activists who were part of the event management team were also awarded with Certificates of Appreciation by the TIC for their hard work in organizing this event and making it a success.