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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 09/16/2014, 00.00


    Goodbye to Sarath Fernando, who dedicated his life to the protection of creation in Sri Lanka

    Melani Manel Perera

    The Catholic intellectual died at the age 71 from cardiac arrest. Engaged since his youth in social and political activism, he also founded a number of movements to defend farmers.

    Colombo (AsiaNews) - After a life devoted to improve society and give dignity to all human beings, paying attention to the preservation of the environment and all of creation, Sarath Fernando, an intellectual and activist loved by so many, died from cardiac arrest on 7 September at the age of 71. A Catholic and friend of AsiaNews, he now rests in the cemetery of his native village Ibbagamuwa (Kurunegala).

    Since his college years, Fernando distinguished himself for his activism, participating in the student revolt of 1971, when he wanted to establish a more just society. For his troubles, he spent five years in prison, which prevented him from graduating in Civil Engineering.

    Released from prison, he decided to devote himself full-time to political activity, which he began by founding the All Lanka Peasants Congress, convinced that peasants were the key to bring real social change in Sri Lanka at that time.

    In 1978, he became a researcher at the Social and Economic Development Centre (SEDEC). This was followed by 11 years of work at the Devarasana Developmente Centre.

    In the early 1990s, he founded the Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform (MONCLAR), where he worked until the end.

    Sarath Fernando firmly believed that peasants had to turn to environmentally friendly farming, a practice that allows Mother Nature to regenerate, but also helps humans develop relations of equality with others.

    "In Sri Lanka, my greatest desire is to enlighten the plantation population, about a million, that they have their own land to till and [that they can] be dignified citizens in the country," he said in his autobiography, My life story (released in March), one of his last writings.

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    See also

    23/04/2009 SRI LANKA
    Dead or alive, Tamil Tiger leader’s fate sealed
    Sri Lanka’s army says it knows where LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, is in hiding. Sri Lankans wonder about Tiger leader’s future with most hoping he gets killed. Political analyst Sarath Fernando says rebels must surrender but Tamil must continue the struggle for their rights.

    05/05/2008 SRI LANKA
    Food crisis: people want Colombo to adopt new policies
    Farmers’ and consumers’ organisations meet to denounce Sri Lanka’s worrisome situation. The island nation is being affected more than other countries’ by the rise in food prices. Alternative economic policies are proposed to encourage small producers rather than private monopolies.

    25/08/2009 SRI LANKA
    Death of Mgr. Fernando, "voice of the voiceless" in Sri Lanka
    A leading figure of the island’s episcopate, he became bishop at only 34 years. The faithful and people of his diocese remember him for the battles in defence of small fishermen, the poor, the environment and for his support for media as an instrument for evangelization. In 2004 he led the opposition to anti-conversion law proposed by the party of Buddhist monks.

    21/04/2008 SRI LANKA
    Tamil and army blame each in the murder of another priest
    Father Karunaratnam was killed yesterday right after midday. He was driving home in his well-known car after celebrating Mass. Sri Lanka’s army and Tamil Tiger rebels blame each other. Everyone remembers him as a tireless defender of human rights and as a real bridge between Tamils and Sinhalese.

    16/03/2010 SRI LANKA
    Colombo: General Fonseka before a court martial
    The government accuses the former army chief of taking part in January’s presidential election whilst still in the army. They also accuse him of violating military procurement procedures. If he is found guilty, he could get up to five years in prison. He rejects all the charges, calls them politically motivated.

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