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Jeewaratnam Suresh


Jeewaratnam Suresh is a human rights defender based in the Muvankandha plantation, in Mavaththagama, Kurunegala, (North Western Province) Sri Lanka. Jeewaratnam Suresh is a strong advocate for the rights of the Malayaga Tamil community, also referred to as ‘upcountry Tamils’, a historically persecuted minority community in Sri Lanka. The human rights defender has campaigned for equal rights for Malayaga Tamils, including land and housing rights. Jeewaratnam Suresh has mobilized community campaigns demanding rights and an end to systemic discrimination against the Malayaga community. He has also worked with the human rights organizations, including Jana Avabodha Kendraya and the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA).

The situation for human Rights Defenders has significantly improved since Maithripala Sirisena came to power in January 2015, with improved conditions for freedom of expression, civil society and judicial independence. The Sirisena administration has ushered in a broad reversal of the country’s authoritarian drift under Mahinda Rajapaksa, but human rights defenders fighting against corruption, enforced disappearances or defending environmental rights remain at great risk.