Nilani Manthrinayake

Executive Committee Member at Sarvodaya Women’s Movement and Attorney-at-Law at Lawyers for Human Rights and Development

Active in Country: Sri Lanka

DTP Alumna: 2016 25th Annual Program – Sri Lanka


Everything I learnt in the DTP training plays an important role in the type of work I do. 

Nilani participated in DTP’s 25th Annual Program in Sri Lanka in 2016. Nilani has been a legal officer in the Lawyers for Human Rights and Development (LHRD) for 15 years. In her role, Nilani utilises community based approaches to educate the general public and government officers on human rights, women’s and children’s rights.  Nilani is currently employed by Sarvodaya Women’s Movement in the migration sector. The organisation proposes to improve the living standard and education of rural women living in Sri Lanka.

Prior to the DTP training program, Nilani found that there was limited access to information and practical training on international human rights conventions and human rights mechanisms.

DTP training helped improve our knowledge and also provided a safe space to share experiences with other human rights advocates.

From the training, Nilani found the lessons on truth and reconciliation was of a particular importance to her and her work.

Pradeep Wagle and Juan Fernandez from the UN Human Rights Office in Sri Lanka outlined the mandate for the UN task force for transitional justice. Drawing on international experience, they explained the sequence of tasks involved in transitional justice: truth telling; prosecutions and amnesties; reparations; institutional reform and addressing root causes.

Since the DTP Training, Nilani continues to file cases in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on human rights violations. She is also a regular visiting lecturer of the military and police academies teaching on transitional justice and human rights. Nilani also contributes her time and research to the Centre for the Study of Human Rights (CSHR) based in University of Colombo. She is also the Legal Adviser for the National Institute of Social Development (NISD) of Sri Lanka.

By interacting with other participants and trainers, I was able to learn from their experiences and gain a better understanding on how to promote and protect human rights. I was able to utilise some of these lessons back into my work in Sri Lanka.



Profile written October 2017