Other Staff

Medhaka Fernando

Medhaka Fernando (Researcher).

Medhaka is an undergraduate from the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo. At university Medhaka took part in the Philip C Jessup Moot Court Competition in the years 2014 and 2015. Prior to joining university he enjoyed a brief stint teaching at his former alma mater S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia.

Medhaka loves to read and play scrabble during his free time.


Nadeshda Jayakody portrait

Nadeshda Jayakody (Senior Researcher).

Nadeshda is an admitted lawyer in Australia, having obtained her LLB with Second Class Honours from the University of Technology, Sydney. Soon after, she was awarded a Leiden Excellency Scholarship to pursue an Advanced LLM in International and European Human Rights Law from Leiden University, from which she graduated first in the class and with Cum Laude. Prior to joining SACLS, Nadeshda was a Consultant working on a project on UN sanctions and human rights for the UN University in New York. She has also interned at the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law in London.

Aside from her passion for human rights and rule of law issues, Nadeshda enjoys yoga and not training for a half marathon that she has registered for.  

Zahabiya Husain portrait

Zahabiya Husain (Researcher).

Zahabiya graduated with an LLB from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 2011. She has been working in policy and legal research in Sri Lanka since 2015. She has worked in monitoring and critical analysis, including with respect to Sri Lanka’s commitments under UNHRC Resolution 30/1, the President’s campaign manifesto to women and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. She has also worked in public interest litigation for the protection of the environment and environmental rights in Sri Lanka.

Zahabiya enjoys reading and writing during her free time.

Raquel Saavedra Photo

Raquel Saavedra (International Consultant).

​Raquel Saavedra is an U.S. lawyer and advocate. Prior to her role at SACLS, Raquel has worked in private practice, for civil society organizations, and for the U.N. on issues relating to transitional justice, comparative constitutional law, and international law. To date, her work has particularly focused on East Africa, North and Central America, and currently South Asia. Raquel holds an LL.M. from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, a Juris Doctor from New York University, and a Bachelors in Political Science from Fordham University.

Arun Arokianathan portrait

Arun Arokianathan (Consultant).

Arun Arokianathan is presently working as a consultant with SACLS, Athavan TV and Worldbank. He was the former Editor in Chief of Sudar Oli, a leading Tamil language national daily newspaper in Sri Lanka. In addition, he previously worked in Virakesari, Shakthi TV, Deepam TV, IBC Tamil, World Vision and U.S. Embassy Colombo, the latter where he taught social media skills to rural students and journalists. He is presently a visiting lecture at Sri Lanka Journalism College. He received his B.A. in Social Science from Open University of Sri Lanka and is currently reading for his Masters in Journalism from University of Ateneo De Manila. He has participated in 10th Global Investigative Journalism Conference in J'burg -2017 and “Uncovering Asia,” Asia’s first investigative journalism conference in Philippines in 2014.

Aruni Jayakody

Aruni Jayakody (Senior Researcher).

Aruni holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University (2013). Aruni obtained her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland (2008). She was admitted to practice as a lawyer in Australia in 2009. Prior to joining SACLS, Aruni was based in Kabul, and worked on rule of law and governance issues at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. She has also researched United Nations monitoring, reporting and fact-finding mechanisms at the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research. In 2010-11 she researched constitutional reform and freedom of expression issues as a researcher at the Legal and Constitutional Unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Aruni’s states interests outside work are Biryani and Beyonce.

Esther Hoole

Esther Hoole (Project Coordinator).

Esther obtained her Bachelor of Laws with honours from Cardiff University. Prior to joining SACLS, Esther interned at Nithya Partners a commercial law firm based in Colombo. Since joining SACLS, she has conducted legal research on international law and domestic law issues. In addition, she generates advocacy content in Tamil and English and helps in co-ordinating training sessions.

Esther enjoys classical music, and is a trained pianist.

Rhadeena de Alwis

Rhadeena de Alwis (Legal Consultant).

Rhadeena graduated with Honours from the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo. While at the Faculty she was an enthusiastic participant in the ICRC International Humanitarian Law Mooting Competitions, and the Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Competitions. Rhadeena took oaths as an Attorney-at-Law in December 2014, and is currently active in the private Bar. She has been engaged as a consultant researcher with SACLS since 2015.

Rhadeena loves to bake all manner of confectionary delights.


Namya Gunewardena (Junior Researcher).

Namya holds a bachelor's degree in law with Honours, from the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo. While at the University of Colombo, she was a board member of the Rotaract Club of the Faculty of law. She is also an avid debater; having lead the contingent at the ICRC Moot Competition in 2016. She was also a member of the contingent which represented Sri Lanka at the Phillip C Jessup International Moot Competition held in Washington DC in 2017.

Namya is an adept karate and tennis player who has been awarded colours for these sports at school and university level. She is also an amateur cook and huge fan of strawberries.

Mathuri portrait

Mathuri Thamilmaran (Senior Researcher).

Mathuri holds a bachelor’s degree in law with Honours, from the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo and a Master’s degree in International Legal Studies from the Washington College of Law. She has worked as a researcher at the RTI Commission of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Press Institute and Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms. She has also worked as a Foreign Legal Specialist at Public International Law and Policy Group, Washington DC. Mathuri has also worked as a Sub-Editor for the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka.

In her free time, Mathuri likes to read Political Fiction/Non-fiction. She is also a twitter fanatic.

Shruthi Portrait

Shruthi De Visser (Researcher).

Shruthi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Gordon College, Massachusetts. Prior to working at SACLS, Shruthi served as Head of Research for the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms under the Prime Minister’s Office. Her research focused on Transitional Justice, especially in relation to Reparations and Truth Commissions. Currently she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Colombo. Shruthi is also actively engaged in leading a campaign against the harassment of women in public spaces, through Sri Lanka Unites, and carrying out research on gender related issues.

Shruthi loves historical fiction, writing and discovering new food and new places in her free time.