Sept 09, Colombo: An award winning Sri Lankan human rights campaigner Sunila Abeysekera died today after a long battle with cancer. She was 61 years old.
She died this afternoon while receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo, her family said.
Abeysekera, born in 1952 in Sri Lanka, has worked tirelessly on women's rights and human rights issues in Sri Lanka and in the South Asia region for over 20 years. Abeysekera was internationally recognized as one of Sri Lanka's preeminent human rights activists.
As executive director of INFORM, a nongovernmental human rights monitoring organization, Abeysekera fought to expose serious abuses and bring institutional change. She has advised the New York-based Human Rights Watch on human rights work in the Sri Lanka for over a decade.
In 1994 she received an M.A. in Women and Development from the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, Netherlands, and won that year's award for the best research paper.
Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan presented Abeysekera with a UN human rights award in 1999. She was also honoured for her work by the Human Rights Watch.