Manouri Muttetuwegama has passed away. She has been in the left movement as an activist in the Samasamaja Movement and continued to uphold the struggle for justice, a core value of the left.
I met Manouri in my younger days during left gatherings but later on more through our working relationship in the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development based in Malaysia where I worked as the regional co-ordinator.
Manouri still remains as a valued friend in the Asian network committed to women's human rights. She and I participated in the 20th Anniversary celebrations held in Bangkok in 2009.
Manouri though frail continued to be involved in activities for reconciliation as the Head of the Task Force for Reconciliation appointed in 2017.
She remained committed to the cause against disappearances continuing her long struggle since 1989. We still refer to the report of the Commission dealing with the disappeared in the past as Manouri's report.
Often she would express her concerns regarding the failure of the non-payment of the Rs 6000 monthly relief package to the families of the disappeared, a recommendation of the Office on Missing Persons.
She wanted justice for the disappeared and took part in all our activities and events encouraging the OMP to uphold the rights of the families.
She joined us as the guest speaker at the International Day of the Disappeared celebrated in 2019 at the Saraswathi Premises mingling with the families holding their hands giving us hope to move on.
Dear friend and colleague, you encouraged us, inspired us, gave advice and shared your experiences in life as well as in the struggle.
It is difficult to say goodbye to Manouri.
May you rest in peace.
Women's Political Academy