Rajan Hoole is a Sri Lankan human rights defender from the northern Tamil town of Jaffna. As co-founder of the University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR), he is known for his unbiased documentation of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.
Before the civil war which broke out in 1983, Rajan Hoole, an Oxford-educated mathematician, was a professor and classical pianist living in Jaffna.
By the late 80s, the number of massacres and human-rights atrocities were on the rise, and Hoole decided to join the 300-strong University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR) in Jaffna.
The UTHR, founded in 1988, began publishing reports on human rights violations from the University of Jaffna. Part of their function was "to challenge the external and internal terror engulfing the Tamil community as a whole through making the perpetrators accountable, and to create space for humanizing the social and political sphere relating to life of our community".
Hoole and fellow UTHR co-founder, Kopalasingham Sritharan, began writing reports documenting human rights violations carried out by Sri Lankan government forces, the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPFK), as well as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Kopalasingham Sritharan is a Tamil Human Rights defender and co-founder of the University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR) at Jaffna University in 1988.
Sritharan, along with UTHR co-founder Rajan Hoole, founded the UTHR in order to document human rights violations committed since the Sri Lankan civil war began in 1983 - a conflict often falsely perceived as a struggle between the minority Tamils of the north and majority Sinhalese of the south.
Both Sritharan and Hoole have spent more than two decades documenting human rights violations committed in Sri Lanka, albeit from abroad since 1990, after coming under attack by both the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Sri Lankan government, soon after publishing their first reports.
One of Sritharan's first reports, written alongside with Hoole and another colleague, Daya Somasundaram, The Broken Palmyra, is a seminal narrative documenting human rights violations committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Sri Lankan government forces and the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF).
After the report got into the hands of the LTTE, members of the UTHR quickly came under threat and the attacks soon became serious - culminating in the assassination of UTHR's founder, Dr. Rajani Thirangama in 1989.
A year later, Sritharan found himself hiding in a truck carrying onions, on his way out of Jaffna. He has never returned.
Sritharan, along with Hoole, continued to document human rights violations in Sri Lanka albeit from underground and abroad. The total number of killings as a part of the Sri Lankan conflict between 1983 and 2009 is estimated to be between 80000 and 100,000.