Bureau Members

Chairperson

Hina Jilani

Hina Jilani is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a human rights activist. She founded the first women’s law firm in Pakistan in 1980 and Pakistan’s first legal aid center in 1986. Ms. Jilani is also one of the founders of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Women’s Action Forum.

Ms. Jilani is also affiliated with the United Nations Center for Human Rights, the Carter Center, and the UN Conference on Women. From 2000 to 2008, she was the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders. In 2006, she was appointed to the UN International Fact-Finding Commission on Darfur, Sudan and in 2009 she was appointed to the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. She is also a member of the Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and Human Rights and a patron of the Media Legal Defence Initiative.

She has received several national and international awards, including the UNIFEM 2001 Millennium Peace Award for Women and was the 2008 recipient of the Editor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement by The Lawyer Awards.

Co – Chaiperson

Nimalka Fernando

Dr. Nimalka Fernando is an attorney-at-law and a women’s rights activist, from Sri Lanka. She is a presently the Chairperson of the International Movement Against all Forms of Discrimination (IMADR), an INGO with  consultative status(Special) with UN-ECOSOC , and is the Director, Women’s Political Academy-Sri Lanka.  She was Regional Co-ordinator of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Malaysia from 1989 – 1994 and was Programme Director for the Women’s Human Rights Project (1994 -1996).

Dr. Fernando has served as a member of the governing councils in several regional and international human rights organisations such as South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR), Asia Regional Exchange for New Alternatives( 1997 – 2006), and South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication ( 2008 – 2011).

She has also served  as consultant for UNIFEM – Gender Budget Programme(Sri Lanka) and represented IMADR facilitating the USAid/UNODC assisted South Asia Regional Equity Programme(SARI-Q) focusing on Migrant’ Rights-Anti Trafficking Project for South Asia  (2000 – 2004). She was elected to be in the international NGO steering committee of the World Conference against Racism held in Durban 2000 where issues of trafficking and migration became strongly included in the Durban Action Plan. She has participated, representing Sri Lanka and IMADR, in several UN Conferences including Beijing Women’s Conference (1995) Human Rights (1995) Racism(2000). She is also a convenor of the Platform for Freedom and a Committee Member of Mothers and Daughters of Lanka. She has wide experience being a human rights defender’s trainer and resource person for women’s empowerment.

Bureau Members

Afghanistan

Prof. Sarwar Mamound

Prof. Sarwar Mamound is a Founding member of the Afghan Civil Society Organizations Network for Peace (ACSONP) and the Brishna Think Tank and is currently the Translation & Revision Officer of Language Unit at United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. He has also held many posts in organizations and public offices such as in Sanayee Development Organization, the Human Rights Commission Afghan Desk, Swiss Aid for Afghans, Third Political Department for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign/Cultural Relation Dept. for the Ministry of Higher Education. He has also served as a lecturer at the Kabul Poly Technique University. Prof. Mamound is currently the Coordinator/ Chair for the Afghan Peace and Democracy Act (APDA).

Abdul Rahman Hotaki

Mr. Hotaki is currently the Director of the Afghan organisation of human rights and environmental protection.

Bangladesh

Shaheen Anam

Shaheen Anam is currently the executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), Bangladesh. She has experience in development work, specialising in gender and human rights and has served in senior management positions in international as well as national organisations. Ms. Anam is closely linked to the women’s movement in Bangladesh and is a human rights activist and a strong advocate for the rights of the marginalised communities. She has worked at CARE International, Bangladesh, the UNDP and UNHCR and was the Project Director of a Gender Equality Project conducted by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Khushi Kabir

Khushi Kabir is the Chairperson of the Association of Land Reform and Development (ALRD) and a Founder Trustee of the Centre for Policy Dialogue in Bangladesh. She is a member of t he Human Development Foundation, a Core Group member of SANGAT, the current Chair of Panos South Asia and the chairperson of the Asia Solidarity against Industrial Aquaculture (ASIA). She is currently the coordinator of Nijera Kori, Bangladesh, a position she has held since 1980, where she works directly with landless peasants, both women and men, and other marginalised and excluded communities, through organising and mobilising them to assert and access their rights.  She is also a secular, strong feminist.

Dr. Asif Nazrul

Professor Asif Nazrul of Dhaka University is a law teacher, researcher, consultant and columnist. He has worked as a CDG fellow and Commonwealth fellow in Bonn and London respectively. Prof. Nazrul has also worked as Consultant with UNDP, ADB, DANIDA, SIDA, TIB, IUCN, Action Aid, CARE and other national and international organizations on good governance, human rights, corruption and natural resource management issues. He has published a number of papers in leading research journals and served as facilitator, speaker and panelist in various national and international conferences, seminars and workshops.

India

Vrinda Grover

A Delhi-based human rights lawyer, researcher and activist, Vrinda Grover was the former director of Multiple Action Research Group (MARG). Her areas of research and writing include a critical examination of the role of law in the subordination of women issues of impunity and state accountability for human rights violations. She is presently engaged in the drafting of a law to secure accountability for communal violence.

Prof. Kalpana Kannabiran

Kalpana Kannabiran, is a sociologist and legal researcher and is currently Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad, an autonomous research institute supported by the Indian Council for Social Science Research. She was part of the founding faculty of NALSAR University of Law where she taught sociology and law for a decade, 1999-2009, and is a founder member of Asmita Resource Centre for Women set up in 1991, where she has coordinated research and legal outreach for women.  Her work has focussed on understanding the social foundations of non-discrimination, violence against women, and questions of constitutionalism and social justice in India. She was a Member of the Expert Group on the Equal Opportunity Commission, Government of India, 2007-2008, and member of the Expert Group on Legal Education Reform in Kerala, Government of Kerala. She has been an activist in the women’s movement since the late 1970s.

Jatin Desai

Jatin Desai is an activist and journalist, and is the national joint secretary of the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace & Democracy. He is also a Research Associate with Focus on the Global South, a policy research organization. Mr. Desai was also President of the Bombay Union of Journalists (BUJ) and he has worked with various organizations on the issues of communal amity and peace and nuclear disarmament.

Yousuf Tarigami

Yousuf Tarigami is the State secretary of Communist Party of India (M) and he is also a member of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly from the Kulgam constituency of South Kashmir.

Maldives

Jennifer Latheef

Jennifer was elected to the first Executive Council of the Maldivian Democratic Party and Since 2007 Jennifer has been involved in local and international rights campaigns working with organizations such as Amnesty International, RSF, Article 19 and Frontline Defenders. Her work mostly concentrates on mobilizing youth activism to promote and create awareness of citizenship rights. She works mostly through an organization called NOOR which remains unregistered on the belief that the general public is sceptical about registered NGO’s.

Nepal

Vijay Singh

Mr. Vijay Singh is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Nepal and human rights activist.

Dinesh Tripathi

Mr. Tripathi is an Advocate in the Supreme Court of Nepal and has been a human rights lawyer for more than 15 years. As a lawyer, he has conducted countless cases in the Supreme Court, as well as delivered lectures and paper presentations in various national, regional and international seminars, conferences, forums and workshops regarding human rights, peace and non-violent conflict resolution, democratization and the rule of law. He is also a regular contributor in various national newspapers and journals. Mr. Tripathi has been an active participant in the struggle towards democracy in Nepal, utilizing the rule of law to affect change, particularly since the royal coup in February of 2005.

Pakistan

Zohra Yusuf

Zohra Yusuf currently is the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and is a freelance journalist writing on issues related to human rights and the media. She has been a council member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan since 1990 and has served as its Secretary General and the Vice Chairperson of the Sindh Chapter. Ms. Yusuf is also a member of the Advisory Commission of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

Kamran Arif

Kamran Arif is a lawyer by profession. He has been associated with Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) since 1992, has remained its Vice-Chair and is presently on its Executive Council. He has worked on issues relating to the rights of the religious minorities; Refugees and IDPs; Special areas including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Gilgit-Baltistan region; Elections and Electoral Laws; and the Criminal Justice System.  Kamran Arif has been member of the South Asia People’s Commission on the Rights of the Minorities (SAPCROM) team that visited Pakistan in 2004 and Nepal in 2005.

Prof. Salima Hashmi

Besides being an accomplished painter, she taught at Pakistan’s prestigious National College of Arts (NCA) for about thirty years and served as the Principal of NCA for four years. In 1999, Salima Hashmi received Pakistan’s Pride of Performance award. Today she is the Dean of School of Visual Arts at the newly established Beaconhouse National University in Lahore and she also runs her own art gallery featuring works of young artists. Salima Hashmi has also been active in the human rights movement since the early 80s when she was one of the founding members Women’s Action Forum.

Sri Lanka

K. S. Ratnavale

Mr. K. S. Ratnavale, a prominent human rights lawyer from Sri Lanka, is currently the Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD). He is also an Executive Committee Member of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (2010-2011) and was elected President of the Colombo Law Society from 2000-2001 which is the largest branch of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka. Mr. Ratnavale has appeared and prosecuted on behalf of the victims in some landmark cases concerning extra judicial killings and massacres committed by security forces and the police in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Deepika Udagama

Dr. Deepika Udagama is the former Head of Department of the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo. She was the Founder Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights of the University of Colombo. She is a former Member of the Sri Lanka Law and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. Dr. Udagama was Sri Lanka’s former Alternate Member to the then United Nations (UN) Sub-Commission on the promotion and protection of Human Rights, and the UN Sub-Commission’s Special Rapporteur on Globalization and its impact on Human Rights. She currently serves on the Board of the UN Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the field of human rights representing the Asia-Pacific region.

Ambika Satkunanathan

Ambika Satkunanathan is an independent researcher who is presently a Legal Consultant at the United Nations, Colombo. She specializes in issues surrounding the rule of law and accountability; minority rights; conflict, peace and development; and violence against women. Her recent publications include Mistaking Politics for Governance: The Politics of Interim Arrangements in Sri Lanka 2002-2005 (with Charan Rainford, ICES, 2009) and contributions to the European Centre for Minority Rights’ European Yearbook of Minority Issues (Martinus Nijhoff, 2010), and Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre Working Paper series (Oxford, 2010). Ms. Satkunanathan is also a trustee of the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust.


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