Leading human rights activist Sunila Abeysekera passed away today after suffering from a prolonged illness.She passed away while receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan presented Abeysekera with a UN human rights award in 1999. She was also honoured for her work by the Human Rights Watch.Since 1992 Abeysekera has been working with the Global Campaign for Women’s Human Rights and has been actively working in lobbying at all the UN Conferences since then — 1993 in Vienna and 1995 in Beijing — focusing on the issue of mainstreaming women’s human rights concerns within the international human rights system. Sunila Abeysekera has worked on women’s rights and human rights issues in Sri Lanka and in the South Asia region for over 20 years as an activist and scholar. She has also spoken at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) In 1994 she received an M.A. in Women and Development from the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, Netherlands, and won that year’s award for the best research paper.