One year ago, on August 6, 2006, 17 Action Against Hunger humanitarian aid workers were found savagely assassinated in the organization’s office in Muttur, located in northeast Sri Lanka. In honor of their sacrifice, commemorative ceremonies have been organized in Sri Lanka and all over the world. While the truth that will explain this massacre has not been found yet, Action Against Hunger (Action contre la Faim – ACF) calls on the humanitarian and international community to remember these 17 aid workers who died because of their commitment to assist the most vulnerable people.
On August 4, 2006, an unprecedented massacre was committed against humanitarian aid workers. Beyond the human tragedy, all the humanitarian community was affected. When principles of independence and neutrality are not respected, all humanitarian interventions are undermined.
The past year has been difficult for the families of the victims, for ACF, and for Sri Lanka. During these remembrance ceremonies, ACF would like to focus the international community’s attention on the 17 victims: young and old, men and women, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters—all of them humanitarian aid workers committed to working alongside the most vulnerable people.
Out of respect for Sri Lankan tradition—according to which families meet a year after the death of a parent to commemorate a tragedy—several commemorative ceremonies in memory of the victims have been organized for August 6, in Batticaloa, Colombo, and Trincomalee in the presence of the victims’ families, ACF members, and representatives of the civil society, of the United Nations, and of local and international humanitarian organizations present in Sri Lanka. Speeches related to the lives and personalities of the 17 victims and their commitment alongside ACF in Muttur will be delivered, and a minute’s silence will be observed.
In Colombo, the ceremony will take place in the presence of the Sri Lankan Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe, the UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Sir John Holmes, and the Coordinator of the ACF International Network Benoît Miribel.
In Paris, ACF has organized a commemoration ceremony on Monday, August 6 at 5:00 p.m. in the presence of ACF employees, members, and members of other humanitarian organizations based in Paris.
The other ACF headquarters (London, Madrid, Montreal, and New York) and the 43 international missions of ACF International Network have also been asked to organize commemorative ceremonies.
One year after the tragedy, ACF is more than ever committed to finding the truth and asks the humanitarian and international community not to forget its 17 colleagues and friends:
- Muralitharan, 34 years old
- Arulrajahd, 24 years old
- Pratheeban, 24 years old
- Jaseelan, 27 years old
- Kavitha, 27 years old
- Kovarthani, 28 years old
- A. L. Mohammed Jawffar, 31 years old
- Ganesh, 54 years old
- Kokilavathani, 29 years old
- Romila, 25 years old
- Narmathan, 24 years old
- Ketheswaran, 36 years old
- Rishikesan, 27 years old
- Koneswaran, 24 years old
- Anantharajah, 32 years old
- Sritharan, 36 years old
- Kodeeswaran, 31 years old