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Reverend Father Mariampillai Xavier Karunaratnam was a minority Sri Lankan Tamil, Roman Catholic parish priest and a human rights activist. He was the Chairperson of the NESHOR and was killed on 20 April 2008 allegedly by a Deep Penetration Unit of the Sri Lankan Army .[1][2][3][4] In a press release, NESOHR condemned, "in the strongest possible terms", the Sri Lankan state for the assassination of Rev.Fr. Karunaratnam.[5]

Rev Father M. X. Karunaratnam
Father Killi
BornApril 12, 1951
DiedApril 20, 2008
OccupationParish Priest, Human Rights activist and Chairperson of NESHOR



M. X. Karunaratnam was born in Jaffna.He was an officer with the Bank of Ceylon before he was ordained as a priest in 1989.Father Karunaratnam was founder and Chairman of NESHOR.He was also the Chairman of NGO Consortium of Jaffna. He was engaged in relief work for war displaced and worked in the tsunami relief.[6]


M. X. Karunaratnam was a priest of the Jaffna Diocese and served in the Vanni region of Sri Lanka and worked from the LTTE controlled parts of Sri Lanka.[7] He worked for human rights and called on the United Nations and foreign human rights organisation to monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka . [3][8][9][10] Earlier two other NESHOR members and Tamil National Alliance MPs A. Chandranehru and Joseph Pararajasingham were killed. He was extremely critical of the Sri Lankan government.[11][12]


He was killed in the Mallaavi-Vavunikku'lam Road in Vanni after he was returning from a Sunday mass and going to a remembrance ceremony for a Tamil National Alliance MP a pro LTTE party Kiddinan Sivanesan who was also killed similar fashion. He killed by a claymore blast carried out allegedly by a Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) of the Sri Lanka Army.[3][13][14]


Rev Fr. Damian Fernando, National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka, said:

"He was an example of courage, strength and humanity and will be missed by all.He also showed endless empathy towards refugees and displaced people while working tirelessly to improve their living standards.

[15] National Peace Council of Sri Lanka has called his death

"A Lamentable Loss to Civil Society and to the Country


Tamil National Alliance in a press statement said

"We deeply mourn the loss of Rev Father Karunaratnam who indefatigably served the legitimate interests of the Tamil Civilian population in the Vanni.


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