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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Kidnapped 13 years ago, journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda receives the 2023 ENGEL-DU TERTRE PRIZE

Sandya Eknaligoda campaigns for justice for victims of enforced disappearance in Sri Lanka. Among the victims: her husband, journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, kidnapped by the army more than 13 years ago and winner of the 2023 Engel-du Tertre Human Rights Prize. 

The ACAT Foundation, which symbolically presented her with the Prize on behalf of her husband this Thursday, December 7, invited her for a week to meet the French authorities and the media. The opportunity to bear witness to the 60,000 to 100,000 forced disappearances in Sri Lanka, the second country most affected by this crime, and to call for support from France.

PrageethEkneligoda cartoonist & journalist who disappeared 24Jan2010, was awarded 2023 Engel-du Tertre 2023 by ACAT_France. in Paris 07 Dec2 023. His wife Sandya Ekneligoda who been fighting for truth & justice for more than 5000 days received the award.

International law calls “enforced disappearance” the kidnapping of a person by state agents without it being officially recognized. This extremely violent punishment, most often directed against the opposition, exposes the victim to torture or death.

With his press cartoons, Prageeth Eknaligoda rightly denounced the president of the time, Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whom he appointed military commander, inherited the nickname “Terminator” during the conflict against the Tamil independence movement. They are both now accused of war crimes.

In response, the army disappeared Prageeth Eknaligoda on January 24, 2010. In 2019, the trial of nine soldiers finally began. A sign of impunity, they will not immediately be placed in pre-trial detention.

With this Award, Sandya Eknaligoda calls for a stronger judicial response, in accordance with the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances which binds Sri Lanka since 2016.

Under this text, which it has also ratified, France can alert the Committee against Enforced Disappearances, responsible for monitoring its proper execution, so that Sri Lanka can be the subject of a United Nations investigation.

Endowed with 3,000 euros thanks to the support of its major donors, the Engel-du Tertre Prize should enable Sandya Eknaligoda to overcome the political and legal obstacles that stand in her way towards justice and the truth.


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