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Mr. Mahinda Gammampila (Chairman)

gmmanpilaMahinda Gammampila holds a BA(Hons), M.Soc.Sc.(Birmingham), SLAS(Rtd.). His expertise is centred in the areas of Public Policy, Development Administration, Community Development, Labour Studies, Productivity Improvement and Institutional Capacity building, wherehe has been a Management Consultant and Trainer.

During his 35 years in the Public Service, he has served in many Administrative Districts and Divisions and held several senior positions including the posts of Additional Director, Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA), the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, and the Secretary to the Ministry of Labour from where he retired. He has been responsible for the establishment of the National Productivity Secretariat, the ‘JobsNet’ in the Ministry of Labour, and several other initiatives instrumental in institutional development in the public sector. 

He has represented Sri Lanka in international fora including at the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), the Annual Conferences of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Asian Productivity Organization(APO). After his retirement, he has worked as the Chairman CWE, the National Consultant for Foreign Funded Projects in the Ministry of Education, and the Consultant in Monitoring and Management in the World Bank funded Education Sector Development Framework and Programme (ESDFP). He has also worked as a visiting lecturer and the Co-Course Coordinator of the postgraduate course on Devolution and Local Government Studiesin the Political Science Department of the University of Colombo.

 

Justice A.W.A. Salam (Member)

salamJustice A.W.A. Salam was called to the Bar on 18.9.1976 and invited to be a member of the minor Judiciary from 1.1.1982. He has functioned as a Magistrate, District Judge, Secretary to the JSC, Judge of the High Court and Judge of the Commercial High Court. He was appointed Judge of the Court of Appeal in March 2007 and thereafter appointed as the President of the Court of Appeal. He retired from the judiciary on 4.9.2014 after service for well over three decades. Delivering the keynote address at the Judicial Service Association (JSA) Annual Conference in 2015, he emphasized the need to enhance public confidence in the judiciary through judicial independence.

A senior resource person at the Sri Lanka Judges Institute following retirement, he was appointed to the Public Service Commission as a member till he stepped down from that position in November 2016 to assume duties at the RTI Commission.

 

Ms. Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena (Member)

kpintoKishali Pinto-Jayawardena served as a member of the 2003/2015 drafting committees resulting in Sri Lanka’s Right to Information legislation. Graduating with Honours from the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, she practiced in public law from 1997 to 2007, appeared pro deo before the UN Human Rights Committee including in the seminal contempt opinion (Fernando v the State, No 1189/2003/, 2005) and formulated draft legislation on contempt of court for the Bar Association of Sri Lanka in 2006. Editorial (legal) consultant for the Sunday Times from 1998 to September 2016, she contributes a long-standing legal column for the newspaper on Sri Lanka's challenges in upholding the Rule of Law.

She has been a senior legal consultant and advisor for, among others, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS), University of London, UK, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, UK, the Research Centre for Torture (RCT), Denmark,the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).

A Salzburg Fellow and a WISCOMP (New Delhi) Scholar of Peace, she was the 2013 Distinguished Visitor of the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra.Unanimously nominated by the Editors Guild of Sri Lanka for the 2014 DR Wijewardene Award for Earning the Appreciation of Peers and the Public, she again accepted this Award in 2016 on behalf of RTI campaigners. Deputy Director, Law & Society Trust, Editor, LST Review and Deputy Editor, Appellate Law Recorder from 2004 to 2014, her several books include Rule of Law in Decline (RCT, 2009), Still Seeking Justice (ICJ, 2010) and (co-edited) Embattled Media (Sage, 2015).

Mr. S. G. Punchihewa (Member)

sgpunchihewaS.G. Punchihewa is an Attorney-at-Law and an Activist in the field of Human Rights. In his capacity as a human rights lawyer he has appeared in several controversial cases, some of which are landmark cases in the administration of justice, including the disappearance of more than thirty students in Embilipitiya in the late nineteen eighties.

As a social activist, he has been directly involved in many civil rights movements in Sri Lanka during the last three to four decades. He has also been an active trade unionist. He is an educationist and a trained Trainer on Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Language Rights and Constitutional Reforms.

He is a prolific writer and translator and has authored 35 publications in Sinhala as well as several Journal and Newspaper articles. These include Let Us Study Human Rights (Savitri Publications, 2013), Language Rights (Sinhala) (CPA, 2009), the translation of a seminal book on the American Constitution (USAID, 2010) and the translation into Sinhala of 7 booklets on Constitutional Law (CPA, 2015).

 

Dr.Selvy Thiruchandran (Member)

selvyDr. Selvy Thiruchandran is a Trustee and the former Executive Director of the Women’s Education and Research Centre (WERC). She is also a Council Member of the Social Scientists’ Association (SSA) and Board member of the Noolaham Foundation. She also serves on the Council of the University of Peradeniya and represents Sri Lanka in the UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group (2015-2017).

Her qualifications include a BA from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; MA in Women’s Studies from the Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands; and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Vrije, Amsterdam. Her scholarly contributions in both English and Tamil cover issues of gender equality and equity, feminist research methodology, women empowerment, women and religion, women in politics and violence against women.

She is a prolific writer and has authored twelve books in English and thirteen books and booklets in Tamil and co edited with other scholars another ten books.. They all had favourable reviews from scholars. She is also the editor of the peer reviewed English and Tamil journal Nividini, a journal on Gender Studies.Her books in English include A Pot-pourri of Debates: Dialogue and a Discourse (WERC, 2013), Writing Religion: Locating Women (SSA, 2012), Women’s Movement in Sri Lanka: History, Trends and Trajectories (WERC, 2012), Feminine Speech Transmissions: An Exploration into the Lullabies and Dirges of Tamil Women (Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, 2001), and The Other Victims of War: Emergence of Female Headed Households in Eastern Sri Lanka (Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, India, 1999).She has also edited and co -edited several essay collections.

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