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Permanent Mission mourns the passing of disability rights activist

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

It is with profound sorrow that this Mission learned the passing of Mr. Senarath Attanayake after a brief illness, in Colombo, yesterday, 28th August 2017.

Mr. Attanayake had been an active and vocal advocate for disability rights in Sri Lanka, receiving the 2016 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award in recognition of his work. He was the first person with a disability in Sri Lanka to be an elected representative in a Provincial Council and the only person with a disability to hold a ministerial portfolio in a Council. He represented Sri Lanka from6th to 10th Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and at the High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development held at the United Nations in New York in September 2013.  He has been invited as a regular panelist at the CRPD, events.

Mr. Attanayake’s passing is a great loss, in particular to persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka as well as to disability rights advocates across the globe, as his passionate activism on securing the rights of persons with disabilities left an indelible mark in the field of disability rights.

An old boy of Royal College Colombo, Mr. Attanayake was also an Attorney-At-Law.

The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in New York is grieving this loss with his bereaved family.