The Global Initiative Network

GIN Member

Ambika Satkunanathan

Human Rights Lawyer and Fellow, Open Society Foundation

Ambika Satkunanathan is an Open Society Fellow (2020-2021). She is also currently researching the impact of drug policies on prison overcrowding in South East Asia for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and studying the the human rights dimensions of compulsory drug rehabilitation. From 2015 to 2020, she was a Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, where she conceptualised and led the first ever national study of prisons. Prior to that, for eight years, she functioned as the Legal Consultant to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sri Lanka.

Her research, advocacy and activism have focused on transitional justice, custodial violence, penal policy & prison reform, militarization, gender and Tamil nationalism. Ambika is a member of the Expert Panel of the Trial Watch Project of the Clooney Foundation. She is Chairperson of the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust, an indigenous Sri Lankan grant-making organisation and Vice Chairperson of Urgent Action Fund Asia & Pacific, a regional feminist grant making organisation. Ambika holds a Master of Laws (Human Rights) degree from the University of Nottingham, where she was a Chevening Scholar, and has earned bachelor’s degrees (LL.B / B.A) from Monash University, Australia.



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