Radhika Coomaraswamy – Sri Lanka

Linked with the International Centre for Ethnic Studies ICES.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

It is said about her: “She is a brilliant scholar, Radhika Coomaraswamy has created new conceptual and theoretical frameworks for understanding women and conflict”.

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Radhika Coomaraswamy - Sri Lanka redim 50p.jpg

Radhika Coomaraswamy – Sri Lanka

She works for the International Centre for Ethnic Studies ICES.

Sri Lankan lawyer and academic Radhika Coomaraswamy (born 1953) has written and published extensively on issues such as women and conflict, minority rights and governance. Through her work, this brilliant scholar has created new conceptual and theoretical frameworks for understanding women and conflict. As a senior UN official, she has laid down new standards for investigating and analyzing violence against women at all levels. (1000peacewomen 2005).

Radhika Coomaraswamy – Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as Under-Secretary-General, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict in April 2006. In this capacity, she serves as a moral voice and independent advocate to build awareness and give prominence to the rights and protection of boys and girls affected by armed conflict.

Ms. Coomaraswamy, a lawyer by training and formerly the Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, is an internationally known human rights advocate who has done outstanding work as Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (1994-2003). In her reports to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, she has written on violence in the family, violence in the community, violence against women during armed conflict and the problem of international trafficking. A strong advocate on women’s rights, she has intervened on behalf of countless women throughout the world seeking clarification from Governments in cases involving violence against women.

Ms. Coomaraswamy was appointed Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission in May 2003. She has served as a member of the Global Faculty of the New York University School of Law. She has published widely, including two books on constitutional law and numerous articles on ethnic studies and the status of women.

Ms. Coomaraswamy has won many awards. These include: The International Law Award of the American Bar association, the Human Rights Award of the International Human Rights Law Group, the Bruno Kreisky Award of 2000, the Leo Ettinger Human Rights Prize of the University of Oslo, Cesar Romero Award of the University of Dayton, the William J. Butler Award from the University of Cincinnati, and the Robert S. Litvack Award from McGill University. In November 2005, in recognition of her service to the country and the world, the President of Sri Lanka conferred on her the title of “Deshamanya”.

Ms. Coomaraswamy is a graduate of the United Nations International School in New York. She received her B.A. from Yale University, her J.D. from Columbia University, an LLM from Harvard University and honorary PhDs from Amherst College, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Essex. (Text on this UN page).

Radhika Coomaraswamy on wikipedia.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS RADHIKA COOMARASWAMY OF SRI LANKA SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today (07/02/2006) announced the appointment of Radhika Coomaraswamy of Sri Lanka as his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

Ms. Coomaraswamy, a lawyer by training and currently Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, is an internationally known human rights advocate who has done outstanding work as Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (1994-2003). In her reports to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, she has written on violence in the family, violence in the community, violence against women during armed conflict and the problem of international trafficking. A strong advocate on women’s rights, she has intervened on behalf of countless women throughout the world seeking clarification from Governments in cases involving violence against women.

Ms. Coomaraswamy was appointed Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission in May 2003. She is also the Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo. She is a member of the Global Faculty of the New York University School of Law and teaches a summer course at New College Oxford University every July. She has published widely, including two books on constitutional law and numerous articles on ethnic studies and the status of women.

Ms. Coomaraswamy has won many awards. These include: The International Law Award of the American Bar association, the Human Rights Award of the International Human Rights Law Group, the Bruno Kreisky Award of 2000, the Leo Ettinger Human Rights Prize of the University of Oslo, Cesar Romero Award of the University of Dayton, the William J. Butler Award from the University of Cincinnati, and the Robert S. Litvack Award from McGill University. In November 2005, in recognition of her service to the country and the world, the President of Sri Lanka conferred on her the title of “Deshamanya”. She is the only woman to have received such a title.

  • Ms. Coomaraswamy is a graduate of the United Nations International School in New York. She received her B.A. from Yale University, her J.D. from Columbia University, an LLM from Harvard University and honorary PhDs from Amherst College, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Essex. (Secretary-General, SG/A/979, BIO/3738, HR/4884).
  • Dr Radhika Coomaraswamy is Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and held the position of United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women from 1994 to 2003. She is currently the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. (Uni of Essex).
  • Radhika Coomaraswamy discusses Resolution 1612, the need to prevent, monitor and punish, and the importance of international cooperation.
  • The Strengths and Weaknesses of Madam Radhika Coomaraswamy, by Sachi Sri Kantha: an ethnic conflict’s adversary viewpoint about an UN behavior which is normally accepted in any other situation.
  • Degree Congregations in 2004, Orations and Responses.

Radhika Coomaraswamy is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence. In her reports to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights she has written on violence in the family, violence in the community, violence against women during armed conflict and the problem of international trafficking. She has made field trips on behalf of the United Nations to Japan/Korea on the problems of comfort women, to Brazil on domestic violence, to Poland on trafficking, to South Africa on rape in the community and to the US on women in prisons. She has also visited Rwanda and East Timor to investigate the issues of violence against women during armed conflict, to Afghanistan to look at issues of religious extremism and India, Nepal and Bangladesh on the problem of the trafficking of young girls. After each visit, she has written a report to the UN Commission on Human Rights. She has also intervened on behalf of countless women throughout the world seeking clarification from governments in cases involving violence against women.

Radhika Coomaraswamy is also the Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo. As Director of the Centre, she oversees projects and programmes on multiculturalism, federalism and constitutional reform as well as education policy, and judicial approaches to pluralism. The Centre also conducts research into language policy, cultural studies, women and governance, women and religion, election monitoring, protection of minorities at the international and regional level and the development of social theory. The Center has been in existence since 1982 and is involved in research and policy formulation. In addition The Centre is active in the holding of workshops and conferences, the development of a media focus and an internship and fellowship programme. The Centre also houses a large library specialising on the themes of ethnic studies, constitutional law and women.

Radhika Coomaraswamy is a member of the Global Faculty of the New York University School of Law and teaches a summer course at New College Oxford University every July. She has published widely. She is the author of two books on constitutional law. The first is A Crisis of Legitimacy: – The Anglo-American Constitutional Tradition in Sri Lanka and Ideology and The Constitution: – Essays on Constitutional Jurisprudence. She has co-edited two books with Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam, The Ethical Dilemmas of Development, and The Judiciary in Plural Societies, She has also co-edited a book on social theory with Nira Wickremesinghe entitled Introduction to Social Theory. She has two forthcoming books, one called “Born Free and Equal: Women’s International Human Rights and the other entitled Dharma and Conscience, a book on Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict.

She has also published numerous articles on ethnic studies and the status of women.

Radhika Coomaraswamy has been appointed to many Boards and Committees. She is a working committee member of the Civil Rights Movement, a member of the University Council of Colombo, and a member of the National Committee on Women. At the international level, she is a member of the Board of Minority Rights Group and The International Human Rights Policy Group. In Sri Lanka she is also a Board member of the Family Rehabilitation Center, The Women’s Education and Research Center, and the Center for the Study of Human Rights in Colombo.

Radhika Coomaraswamy has won many awards. These include; The International Law Award of the American Bar Association, The Human Rights Award of the International Human Rights Law Group, The Bruno Kreisky Award of 2000 and The Leo Ettinger Human Rights prize of the University of Oslo. (ICES). (See also their homepage).

Read: A QUESTION OF HONOUR, WOMEN, ETHNICITY AND ARMED CONFLICT.

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