Remembering Cllr. Paul Sathianesan

Tribute to a Stalwart Human Rights Activist, Former London Borough Labour Councillor

1 min read
Cllr. Duraisamy Paul Sathianesan [Image: X]

Late Cllr. Duraisamy Paul Sathianesan, East Ham, London
(b. 17 June 1960, d. 5 July 2024); burial at City of London Manor Park Cemetery on 13 July 2024

Friends of Paul were shocked to hear of his sudden passing after a brief illness. Paul was a dedicated and tireless Tamil Councillor for Newham, representing Wall End Ward from 1998 until his retirement two years ago.

An activist promoting human rights and humanitarian issues through his church, community, and political associations in the Labour Party, he was also a Director of the Paramithra Community Development Foundation (since Sept. 2012).

He worked tirelessly to uplift the lives of all people he knew, including his constituents in Newham, fostering friendships across all creeds and nationalities.

He was a unifier within the Sri Lankan and Indian diaspora, bridging communities of Tamil, Sinhalese, Hindi, Pakistani, and promoting peace and reconciliation in the UK.

Maintaining strong relationships with various religious groups—Christian, Buddhist, Muslim in Sri Lanka, and Hindu, Pakistani, Punjabi, and refugee communities in the UK—Paul’s dedication was unwavering.

Arriving in the UK as a refugee in the 1960s, he worked with the Tamil Refugee Action Group London and collaborated with the late V. Varadakumar, Secretary of the Tamil Information Centre, on human rights issues.

Paul regularly visited his homeland, contributing to charitable projects close to his heart.

The loss of Paul leaves a void, especially among his former constituents in the Borough of Newham, whom he continued to support even after retirement, forwarding petitions for causes he championed.

He will be deeply missed for his honesty and integrity as both a Labour Councillor and a human rights activist.

The Financial Times once reported on Councillor Sathianesan, later Deputy Mayor of Newham, stating: “Paul takes special pride in the Citizenship ceremony in Newham that he presides over at the City Hall.”

Reflecting on Newham’s diversity, Cllr. Sathianesan remarked: “I cannot imagine how different Newham is from much of the rest of the country, with 86 percent of births in this borough to foreign-born parents.”

Paul Sathianesan was remembered as:
“A great soul who served everyone all the time.
A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.”

Victor Cherubim

Victor Cherubim is a London-based writer and a frequent columnist of the Sri Lanka Guardian

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