Photo courtesy Anura Pradeep

Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy, a prominent lawyer, diplomat and human rights advocate, is widely recognised for her significant contributions to the field of international human rights and women’s rights. She served as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict from 2006 to 2012. In 2017, after atrocities against the Rohingya people, she was appointed a Member of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar. In 2022 the UN appointed her as a member of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia.

In Sri Lanka, she was appointed Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission in 2003 and nominated to the Constitutional Council as a civil representative in September 2015. The president conferred on her the title of Deshamanya, a prestigious national honour.

Dr. Coomaraswamy speaks to Groundviews on how the events of Black July impacted on her life and her work as a human rights activist.

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“It was a defining moment for many Tamils in Sri Lanka.”