Kumaravadivel Guruparan barred from practicing law
20 november 2019

Kumaravadivel Guruparan barred from practicing law


On 9 November 2019 Sri Lankan human rights lawyer Kumaravadivel Guruparan was informed by the Jaffna University Council that he is no longer allowed to practice as a lawyer before the courts of Sri Lanka. The decision was made by the University Grants Commission and allegedly instigated by the Sri-Lankan military. This was reported by Frontline Defenders.

Kumaravadivel Guruparan is a Sri-Lankan human rights lawyer, a lecturer and head of the Department of Law at the University of Jaffna. He is also the founder and executive director of the Adayalam Center for Policy Research, a human rights organisation, based in Jaffna. Guruparan has been a victim of ongoing harassment and threats by the military.

This decision, issued by the University Grants Commission, is suspected to be a reaction to Guruparan’s work as a human rights lawyer, by which he protects victims of human rights violations, mostly from vulnerable and poor communities. Many of the high profile cases Guruparan brought before the court concern crimes such as extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances in the north and east of Sri Lanka, committed by the military of Sri Lanka. On 21 August 2019, the military sent a letter to the UGC questioning the basis on which Guruparan was permitted to practice as a lawyer in court. There are clear departmental procedures permitting Guruparan to practice law and the military has no official capacity to interfere in university matters.

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