Nobel Prize for Human Rights Activists Cyril Matthew Lee and Ms Karen Parker

By: Dr C P Thiagarajah

Two Human Right activists who tirelessly work for humanity and the down trodden Eelam Tamils of Sri-Lanka deserve the famous Nobel Prize. Since 1901, the prize has honoured men and women for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and for work in peace. These two peace doves should be recognised for their humanitarian work.

The fact his invention contributed more to human destruction than to construction drove Alfred Nobel a Swedish and the inventor of dynamite to set up this peace prize fund in his last will in 1895. Alfred Nobel set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes, to be awarded annually without distinction of nationality.

The will stipulated that the Norwegian Nobel Committee would be responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. Laureate" refers to being signified by the laurel wreath. A laurel wreath is a circular crown made of branches and leaves of the bay laurel (In latin: Laurus nobilis). In ancient Greek laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honour - both in athletic competitions and in poetic meets.

The Committee is composed of five members appointed by the Storting (Norwegian parliament). The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway,

The right to submit proposals for the Nobel Peace Prize shall, by statute, is enjoyed by the following:

1. Members of national assemblies and governments of states;

2. Members of international courts;

3. University rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes;

4. Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;

5. Board members of organizations who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;

6. Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; (proposals by members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after February 1) and

7. Former advisers appointed by the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

The Nobel Peace Prize may also be awarded to institutions and associations.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 92 times to 124 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2011. When Alfred Schweitzer, who dedicated his life to humanitarian work n 1904 when he joined the French Missionary Company in the Congo, received the reserved Peace Prize for 1952, the Nobel Committee especially appreciated his cultural philosophy, "Reverence for Life", which served as an ethical principle for his humanitarian efforts. Dr Schweitzer believed that the individual must constantly look beyond all that knowledge and science have created and penetrate to the elementary; the free human being seeks the joy of being allowed to care for life and avert suffering and destruction.

It is precisely for the same principles that Mr Matthew Russell Lee and Ms Karen Parker had been fighting for vehemently for nearly 30 years. The time, the effort, the labour and the humiliations that these people faced in their stride is immense. Their contribution to stand firm the principle of HR and prevention of the destruction of the minority community of Tamils in Sri-Lanka is worthy of emulation by other humanitarian workers.

Lee is also an accredited journalist at the United Nations. He is a public interest lawyer, author, and founder of two non-profit organizations, Inner City Press and Fair Finance Watch. Lee is also a frequent video discussion guest on, discussing things related to United Nations internal operations.

In 2009, Lee reported extensively on the conflict in Sri Lanka, including critically covering UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's visit to the internally displaced persons' camps in Vavuniya in May 2009. As a journalist for his Inner City Press at the UN his questions make the weak UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Mun shiver in his shoes. He tears to pieces the mediocre who humbug things in the UN on the Tamil issue and devolving power to the Eelam Tamils in their Traditional homelands of the North and East of the island. His presence makes the UN press briefing more interesting. In early 2010, Lee was invited to speak on the topic of Sri Lanka at the Rebellious Lawyers' conference at Yale Law School.

Matthew Russell Lee

Mr Lee’s contact details are: Email:,

Work Phone: (212) 963-1439 WWW Address:

Office Address: United Nations Room L-0253, New York, NY 10017 Mobile Phone: (718) 716-3540 Email:

Work Phone: (212) 963-1439 WWW Address:

Office Address: United Nations Room L-0253, New York, NY 10017 Mobile Phone: (718) 716-3540 With courtesy from UNCA

Recently he had been very critical of the SG Ban Ki Mun for not being assertive at the UN concerning his own Panel of Expert report on the last war in Sri-Lanka in 2009 be taken in for discussion in the last UNHRC. His video clips of his press interviews are excellent pieces worthy of study by NGOs etc.

Karen Parker, J.D., is an International Human Rights Lawyer. She has kept the Sri-Lankan government’s May 2009 genocide of Tamils issue as a big hot topic in the UN and elsewhere. This is an enormous step forward. Afraid of this politically and legally embarrassing situation the Sinhala Sri-Lankan government is going all out to muffle, even the discussions in the UN. There are other hot topics for sure, but, Sri Lanka is one of them. For Ms Karen Parker this is an enormous victory, both personally and legally and a big victory for the Tamil people for getting the recognition they needed.

Ms Karen Parker JD
I hope the eligible members of the Nobel Prize select committee will take the yeomen services that these two lovers of humanity had been passionately and painstakingly carrying out in the name of the human race without discrimination when awarding the Nobel Prize in the future.

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