The Women and Media Collective in collaboration with INFORM and the Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka commemorated Women’s Rights and Human Rights Defender, Sunila Abeysekera in Colombo on International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2013. This also marked the third month since her demise. The event was attended by around 400 people, friends, colleagues and loved ones from across the country.
A host of friends and colleagues spoke at this event, including Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Dr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, Dr. Nimalka Fernando, Prof. Sitralega Maunaguru, Udaya Kalupathirana, Dharmasiri Bandaranaike, Deanne Uyangoda, Dr. Shermal Wijewardena, Kumudini Samuel, Sumika Perera, Dr. Sepali Kottegoda, Sunil Jayasekera and included a video message from Sunanda Deshapriya, Viola Perera, Shanthi Sachchithanandan and Sunila Galapatti introduced the programme and speakers. Ms. Shamila Daluwatte coordinated the event.
A publication of Sri Lanka’s first feminist critical writings on Sinhala cinema by Sunila Abeysekera was launched at this occasion and copies of the book were presented to her son, Sanjaya Senanayake and brother Prasanna Abeysekera. The book entitled ‘Sthriya, Sthree Sirura, Cinemava: Sthree Vaadi Vichaaraakshiyen Baleemak’ (‘Women’s Bodies, Cinema: Feminist Critique’) is published by the Women and Media Collective (2013).
The event included film clips of Sunila’s cinema performances and her performances on stage. The evening ended with a performance of music and song from Dr. Sunil Wijesiriwardena, paying tribute to Sunila who had also sung many of these items in cinema and on stage.
A selection of photographs from the event are available on our facebook page.