Since its origin in 2005 to now, PEARL has consisted of a grassroots team of volunteers and human rights activists passionate about justice and accountability in Sri Lanka. Presently, we have dedicated advocacy, research, legal, and operations teams with members across the globe.
Tasha Manoranjan is the founder and director of PEARL. She currently works as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Tasha spent over a year documenting human rights violations committed against Tamils in north-eastern Sri Lanka, and remains committed to pursuing accountability for Sri Lanka’s mass atrocities and Tamil genocide. Tasha was previously an associate in Sidley Austin LLP’s Litigation Practice, in their Washington, DC office. Tasha received her B.A., magna cum laude, in Justice and Peace Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and her law degree from Yale Law School. While at Yale, Tasha wrote a paper entitled “Beaten but not Broken: Tamil Women in Sri Lanka”, which was subsequently published in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.
Strategic Advisor /
Sr. Advocacy Officer, US
Mario Arulthas is our Strategic Advisor / Sr. Advocacy Officer (US) and a Human Rights Fellow at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. As part of his role, he engages government officials and policy experts of various countries on issues concerning the conflict on the island. Mario has conducted several research trips to the Tamil homeland, where he has worked on reforms, memorialization, miltarization and obstacles to domestic prosecution of crimes related to the ethnic conflict. Previously he was a policy advisor at the Royal Borough of Kingston, the editor-in-chief of the Tamil Guardian and a director at the Tamil Youth Organisation – UK. Mario splits his time between Washington DC, New York and Toronto.
Anjali (Anji) Manivannan changed careers from physics to human rights when she joined PEARL in 2009. Today, she leads the organization’s strategic litigation, genocide recognition, and self-determination work as the Legal Director. As a human rights lawyer, Anji has worked at local organizations in India, Palestine, and West Africa as well as New York-based human rights and transitional justice iNGOs. She brings her expertise in atrocity crimes, transitional justice, gender, and freedom of expression to PEARL. Anji holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.S. in Physics from the University of Virginia.
Vivetha Thambinathan is a community-engaged researcher, educator, and public health professional. Vivetha is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Health Professional Education at Western University, where her research is centred around refugee health justice and historical trauma, specifically within a post-genocide Tamil diaspora context. Vivetha is also a part of the Health Equity Action Research team, which focuses on achieving health equity for Indigenous and migrant populations through participatory research, inter-sectoral partnerships, and policy analysis. She holds a Master’s of Public Health and a Bachelor of Medical Sciences. As PEARL’s research director, Vivetha feels most inspired working at the intersections of community healing, storytelling, & justice.
Sr. Legal Officer
Avanithah (Avi) Selvarajah worked in project management and information technology before her continued involvement in Tamil activism led her to pursue a career as a human rights and refugee lawyer. Avi is the former President and founding member of Voice of Tamils and former NSW Director of the Australian Tamil Congress. Avi has worked at the Australian Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International focusing on the rights of Australia’s Indigenous community. She has also worked as a refugee lawyer for a number of years representing asylum seekers in Australia with a focus on Tamil refugees fleeing persecution in Sri Lanka. Avi holds a J.D. and a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology Sydney, as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate in Post-Conflict Transitions & International Justice from the International Peace & Security Institute, The Hague.
Sr. Advocacy Officer, UK
Sivakami Rajamanoharan is the Senior Advocacy Officer for the United Kingdom. Sivakami works to advocate for Tamil political rights and justice and accountability for crimes committed against the Tamil people. She has previously worked with a number of Tamil diaspora organisations and undertaken advocacy work at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. She was the Editor-in-Chief of the Tamil Guardian and a director at the Tamil Youth Organisation UK.
Sr. Advocacy Officer, UNHRC
Sahithyan (Sagi) Thilipkumar is a law student at the University of Zurich. He leads our advocacy engagement at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and with the Swiss foreign affairs ministry in Bern. He facilitated reading groups on the Tamil struggle in Zurich and online. Sagi is also an artist and a photographer with a focus on documenting Eelam Tamils in the homeland and the Diaspora. Previously he was a board member of the Swiss-Tamil student society TaVS – Tamilischer Verein der Studierenden.
Sr. Advocacy Officer, CA
Archana Ravichandradeva is the Senior Advocacy Officer for Canada. She is a lawyer practicing labour and employment law in Toronto. She received her B.A. Hons from the University of Toronto in Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies, and her J.D. from the University of Windsor, where she was a Transnational Law and Justice Network Fellow. In her role at PEARL, she works to build connections with government officials to advocate for justice and accountability on the island. Her interests include international law, human rights, transitional justice and restorative justice.
Advocacy Officer, CA
Abarna Selvarajah is our Advocacy Officer in Canada and student activist who critiques policy and academia, with a specific focus on gender and immigration. She is a MA student in the Social Justice Education program at Ontario Institute for Social Education, University of Toronto. Her thesis addresses visibility politics of Tamil women in the Canadian immigration system by examining stories of resistance and community-building. She advocates for the recognition of human rights abuses committed against Tamil people in Sri Lanka, through her advocacy work and organizing reading groups with PEARL, as well as presenting on the Tamil Genocide to IRCC colleagues during her co-op term.
Advocacy Officer, CA
Thevya Balendran is a Toronto-based community organizer and Advocacy Officer at PEARL. She holds a Bachelor in Sociology and Minor in Politics from Ryerson University, and a Graduate Certificate in International Development. More recently, she has worked with marginalized communities in addressing social injustices through several community-based initiatives. Through her work with PEARL, Thevya has facilitated workshops, coordinated a photo exhibit, and engaged in advocacy on issues concerning the Tamil homeland. Her interest lies in exploring the weight of displacement, exile, and trauma on diasporic communities.
Advocacy Officer, US
Ernest Rajakone is the Advocacy Officer for the United States. He lives in Pittsburgh where he works in local government and remains active in local politics. Ernest graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and from Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University with a Masters in Public Management (MPM). He currently serves on Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.
Luxsiga is a Registered Social Worker. For over ten years she has worked closely with survivors fleeing human rights abuses, torture, war and state sanctioned persecution. In particular, she has worked with Tamil refugees and non-status individuals at the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture [CCVT] to provide mental health counselling and resettlement support. She has since moved onto providing clinical counselling to children, youth and their families at a youth organization. Luxsiga’s research interest centres on topics of social justice, social movements, diaspora mobilization, transnational identity politics and she takes special interest in immigration and refugee policies. Luxsiga has been involved with PEARL since 2018 and has since contributed to research and public education.
Brannavy Jeyasundaram is an Eelam Tamil writer and bharatanatyam dancer. Presently, she works as the Operations Officer at the non-profit organization People For Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), where she serves to engage larger audiences with their critical human rights work concerning the Tamil homeland. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Science and Minor in French Studies from York University and is an alumnus of the Emerging Arts Critic Programme offered by the National Ballet of Canada. Her writing exploring cultural identities as well as Eelam Tamil strife and survival can be found in The Dance Current, NOW Toronto, Huff Post, The Jacobin, and Tamil Guardian.
Interim Project Manager
Athavarn is a community builder passionate about social justice, community collaboration, and innovation. Athavarn currently works at OCASI as the Coordinator, Community Education & Enhancing Governance in For Public Benefit Organizations. Prior to joining OCASI, he worked with CIVICUS, a global civil society alliance based in South Africa, to co-design and launch a capacity strengthening initiative to support youth-led movements and organizations. He has also previously worked on a variety of issues including newcomer youth and refugee sponsorship. Athavarn holds an undergraduate degree in sociology from the University of Ottawa. Athavarn has been involved with PEARL since 2018 and is currently based in Toronto.
Gow Naguleswaran is a multifaceted creative. With a background in Economics and Global studies, he looks at ways in which digital media can be a vessel for building social justice movements. From directing music videos for Tamil diaspora artists to producing one of the most successful Tamil diaspora based podcasts, Dash The Curry, Gow is passionate about uplifting independent artists within the Eelam Tamil diaspora.
Advocacy Officer, US
Thiviya is a queer Eelam Tamil organizer, activist, and comic from Queens, NY. She currently works at Women’s World Banking, the global nonprofit utilizing financial inclusion to economically empower women in developing countries. She has also led the Communications team on Shaniyat Chowdhury’s 2020 campaign for Congress. She holds a Master’s degree in International and Development Economics from Fordham University, and is currently attending CUNY Law School part-time. She is an advocate for the queer community, immigrants’ rights, and racial and economic justice.
Sr. Legal Officer
Gowri Koneswaran is a queer Tamil writer, performing artist, teacher, and lawyer based in the U.S. Her advocacy has addressed animal welfare, environmental protection, the rights of prisoners and the criminally accused in the U.S., and justice and accountability in Sri Lanka. Gowri’s publication credits include several poems and two peer-reviewed journal articles on the environmental impacts of farming animals for food. She is poetry coordinator at the nonprofit arts organization BloomBars and a fellow of the Asian American literary organization Kundiman.
In loving memory
Meruba Sivaselvachandran is a JD/MBA student at the University of Toronto. She began her time at PEARL in the summer of 2020 as a Legal Intern and is now a volunteer with the organization as she continues her studies. She has contributed to research in support of Tamil Genocide recognition and hopes to continue lending support to the growing variety of legal pursuits taken on by PEARL.
People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) is 501(c)3 non-profit organization advocating for justice and self-determination for the Tamil people in the North-East of Sri Lanka.
People for Equality and Relief in Lanka
1629 K Street, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006