The sudden passing of Thomas Kocherry, 73, a pioneer of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) has stunned the small-scale fisheries community.
He passed away on Friday 2 May, just a day after he had participated in a lively telephonic conference on the issues facing small-scale fishers across the world.
His passing is an intimate loss for fisher-folk across the world.
Thomas, a priest and activist from Kerala, India, was a hardened soldier in the fight for the rights of fishers and poor people. His very existence echoed the plight of the poor. He was never a person to indulge in luxury. Whenever the WFFP met internationally he was always in the front line of not wasting. All his international work reflected the life of the poor. We in the WFFP can attest to this and we value this personal attribute that he instilled in our organization.
As tough as a person he was, he also stood tall in the fight against the exploitation of marginalized people. Even though he will be modest about it – we know that he has made an indelible impact in the fight for a better life for fishers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Canada and all over the world.
For us, in the WFFP, the legacy of Thomas Kocherry will continue to stand tall.
While we mourn his passing – we also celebrate the great contribution that he made in the struggle for human rights the world over. His presence will be sorely missed.
Naseegh Jaffer & Sherry Pictou
Co-Chairpersons of WFFP.
2nd May 2014
Kocherry, who was in the forefront of various struggles for social justice and who led many movements for the fishermen community, died of cardiac arrest in the ‘Divyarakshaka Ashramam’ on the premises of the Muttada Church on Saturday evening. He was 73.
The funeral rites would begin at 3 pm.