Sri Lanka’s Current Crisis: Opportunities for Constitutional Reform and Transitional Justice

A webinar sponsored by the ABA International Criminal Law Committee

Tuesday, May 31, 2022, 12:00pm ET – 1:00pm ET

CLICK HERE to register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Respect for fundamental human rights in Sri Lanka is in serious jeopardy.  In 2021, the UN Human Rights Council mandated that the UN Collect and analyze evidence of international crimes for future prosecutions.  In February 2022, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sri Lanka reported the rights situation in alarming decline, contradicting government claims  of improvement. The February 2022 report documents discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities and security forces’ targeting of civil society groups, while accountability for past abuses has been blocked.  This program will shine a light on Sri Lanka’s current crisis and will highlight opportunities for constitutional reform and transitional justice.


Gehan Gunatilleke is a Sri Lankan human rights lawyer and academic focusing on media freedom and ethno-religious violence. He is currently a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School. His latest publication is ‘The Chronic and the Entrenched: Ethno-religious Violence in Sri Lanka‘. Gehan is a former Research Director at Verité Research, and a former advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Sri Lanka). He has taught post-graduate courses on human rights, democratization and development offered by the University of Colombo, University of Sydney and Open University of Sri Lanka. He was also a human rights tutor at the University of Oxford. Gehan holds a D.Phil in Law from the University of Oxford, and an LL.M from Harvard Law School.

Frances Harrison is the Director of The International Truth and Justice Project. For two decades she was the BBC Foreign Correspondent for Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Iran, reporting for TV, radio and online, delivering live broadcasts, documentaries and newspaper articles. Through this, Frances gained an in-depth insight and expertise in the region and spent four years living in Sri Lanka while at the BBC. Frances has also briefly worked at Amnesty International, OHCHR and multiple UN commissions. Her book, Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden Warpublished in 2012, documents personal stories from the final phase of the war in Sri Lanka.

Vasuki Nesiah teaches human rights, legal and social theory at NYU Gallatin School where she is also faculty director of the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights. She has published on the history and politics of human rights, humanitarianism, international criminal law, reparations, global feminisms and decolonization. Vesuki was awarded the Gallatin Distinguished Teacher Award in 2021 and the NYU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award in 2020. Her current book projects include International Conflict Feminism (forthcoming from University of Pennsylvania Press) and Reading the Ruins: Colonialism, Slavery and International Law.  

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