Sri Lankan human rights activist Sandya Eknaligoda has been listed in BBC’s 100 Women 2022, a list of 100 of the most inspiring and influential women form around the world.
Ekneligoda has been the voice for the thousands of victims of enforced disappearances since her husband, journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda went missing in 2010, while he was investigating the alleged abuses against Tamil Tiger separatists.
She also received the International Women of Courage Award in 2017, for her campaigns and other work in the field.
Since her husband’s disappearance, the mother of two has been helping thousands of mothers and wives who lost loved ones during Sri Lanka’s civil war.
“I am a woman who fights on behalf of others at every opportunity, engages in creative struggle, and overcomes challenges amidst insults and slander, through dedication and sacrifice”, she said.
Global music phenomenon Billie Eilish, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska, actresses Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Selma Blair, the ‘tsarina of Russian pop’ Alla Pugacheva, Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi, record-breaking triple jump athlete Yulimar Rojas, and Ghanaian author Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah are also amongst BBC’s list for this year.
The 10th season of 100 Women reflects the role of women at the heart of conflict around the world in 2022 – from the protesters bravely demanding change in Iran, to the female faces of conflict and resistance in Ukraine and Russia.
“We are taking the opportunity to explore what progress has been made over the last decade. While there have been huge steps forward for women’s rights – from the number of female leaders to the MeToo movement – for women in many corners of the world it still feels like there is a long way to go”, BBC said.
Sandya Eknaligoda, Sri Lanka
Human rights activist
A human rights activist and campaigner, Sandya Eknaligoda is helping thousands of mothers and wives who lost loved ones during Sri Lanka’s civil war. Her husband, Prageeth Eknaligoda, a prominent investigative journalist and cartoonist, went missing in January 2010. He was a strong critic of the government and investigated alleged abuses against Tamil Tiger separatists.
Since his disappearance, the mother of two has been seeking justice. She accuses the supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former president of Sri Lanka, of being responsible for her husband’s abduction. While suspects have been identified, they have all been acquitted.
I am a woman who fights on behalf of others at every opportunity, engages in creative struggle, and overcomes challenges amidst insults and slander, through dedication and sacrifice.