Mission 

People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization led by human rights activists concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka. PEARL was formed in 2005 by volunteers who went to Sri Lanka and witnessed the human rights violations and the hardships of Tamil civilians affected by the conflict. Upon their return to the U.S. they created PEARL to increase engagement between Americans and elected officials and to urge the U.S. government to play a role in improving human rights in Sri Lanka. 

 

Our mission is to advocate for justice and self-determination for the Tamil people in the North-East of Sri Lanka. 

 

Our vision is for a Tamil nation that is inclusive, free from oppression and able to determine its own future. 

  

For over a decade, PEARL has been advocating for human rights in Sri Lanka with U.S. policy makers, the United Nations, European Union and other governmental and non-governmental organizations. We conduct innovative research and analysis, centred in the experiences of Tamil victim-survivors, to report on key issues affecting the North-East of the island.  

Board of Directors 

Dr. Vino Kanapathipillai 

 

Dr. Vino Kanapathipillai is a political scientist and a Tamil activist. Her academic research focuses on the re/constitution of the public-private divide in state-corporate relations driven by evolving international security discourses and practices. She teaches graduate courses on global advocacy and international public policy at SOAS University of London. Previously she was research manager for a UK government-funded study on Tamil diaspora activism. Before entering academia she worked for several years in management consultancy on projects in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Her early roles in over two decades of experience in Tamil activism include managing news production at IBC Tamil radio and volunteering with TamilNet. She was editor of the Tamil Guardian newspaper from 2007 to 2011, having been associate editor and senior contributor in preceding years, and continues to work with the Tamil Guardian website’s editorial board.

Tasha Manoranjan 

 

Tasha Manoranjan is the founder and director of People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL). She spent over a year documenting human rights violations committed against Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka, and remains committed to pursuing accountability for violations of international law. Tasha was previously an associate in Sidley Austin LLP’s Litigation Practice. Tasha received her B.A., magna cum laude, in Justice and Peace Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Tasha earned her law degree at Yale Law School, where she served as the Features Editor and Book Reviewer for the Yale Journal of International Law, Chair of the South Asian Law Students Association and Community Enrichment Chair of the Women of Color Collective. 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.

Sadena Thevarajah 
 

Sadena Thevarajah is a public health professional who has spent over 10 years at the intersection of health law, policy, and stakeholder engagement. Her cross-sector experience brings a broad, system-wide perspective to her work improving health outcomes. She led the first External Affairs department at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, built business development for a tech start-up, and shaped patient programs at the American Cancer Society. Previously, she served in the Obama Administration, both in the Office of the HHS Secretary as well as in the White House during the passage and early implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Her recent activities outside of her paid work have included serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in the foster care system, volunteering as a community mediator for local disputes such as landlord/tenant issues, and advocating against human rights abuses in Sri Lanka through People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL). Ms. Thevarajah holds a law degree from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and a public health degree from the Johns Hopkins University.

Gajan Raj 

 

Gajan Raj is a hospitality, events and technology entrepreneur. Currently as founder and executive director of a hospitality group operating hotels and event venues across London and south of England he is focused on strategic management, commercial acquisitions and developing and implementing accelerated growth strategies. Previously, Gajan was a senior consultant and programme director for tier-1 Investment Banks including Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. He has an outstanding track record of delivering global scale change initiatives in large and complex organisations gained from 14 years experience in managing strategic, regulatory and process change programmes. His areas of expertise and special interest were in corporate governance, change management and benefits realisation gained through working with and supporting executive management including Chief Executives and Chief Operating Officers at global Investment Banks. Gajan has extensive board level experience from advising board members, chairing executive committees and project boards and actively contributing to industry forums. 

Strategic Plan 2019 – 2023

PEARL is committed to the protection of human rights of the Eelam Tamil people on the island of Sri Lanka, the self-determination of the Eelam Tamil people and the recognition of the Tamil Nation. PEARL works to shape international policy to align with Tamil aspirations. Based in D.C., PEARL’s advocacy influences U.S. government policy through the State Department and Congress as well as UN Human Rights Council activities on Sri Lanka. PEARL conducts research on issues of importance to the Tamil homeland and publishes reports, fact sheets and statements. Further, PEARL has worked on litigation and evidence collection against Sri Lankan war criminals in the U.S. Initially reliant entirely on volunteers, PEARL now has a paid, part-time staff member in addition to a dedicated volunteer team.

This document outlines the five-year strategic vision for PEARL, which will guide our work between 2019 and 2023. It sets ambitious yet feasible goals for the ways in which PEARL will operate and grow in that timeframe. Annual plans will be developed to allow each year’s activities to be more thoroughly structured to deliver on longer-term goals. All of these plans will be driven by PEARL’s organizational mission of pursuing human rights, justice and self-determination for the Eelam Tamil people.

By developing our financial and human capacity and efforts in these areas, we aim to support the Tamil Nation and promote Tamils’ individual and collective rights. Our organization acknowledges and actively works toward supporting the struggle of the Tamil people through collaboration and partnership between the diaspora and those in the homeland. The combination of these priorities will continue to solidify PEARL’s role as a leading organization within the Tamil struggle for human rights, justice and self-determination. PEARL will engage in Monitoring & Evaluation efforts to measure our success against the benchmarks identified in this strategic plan, as well as our annual plans.Our goals, based on PEARL’s progress as of 2018, are divided into three categories: (1) Strengthening the Struggle, (2) Countering Opposition and (3) Building Organizational Capacity. The next section outlines PEARL’s work in 2018.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought unprecedented challenges to the civil society landscape affecting our work. We acted quickly to adapt our strategic plan to the conditions brought on the pandemic and forge new ways forward in our mission toward justice and self-determination for the Tamil people.

GOAL 1

Strengthening the Struggle

Within the Tamil context, the term “struggle” is commonly used to describe the decades of resistance to Sri Lankan state hegemony. We use this term in the context of its non-violent historical origin. Our aim is to ensure the equal treatment and the full realization of the human rights of Eelam Tamils (as individuals and as a people) in the homeland. We believe our role is to amplify Tamil voices and disseminate Tamil narratives of the struggle, so the genocide will never be complete.

Our advocacy, research and activism will primarily focus on militarization, memorialization and accountability while retaining flexibility to address developments on the ground and internationally. Additionally, each year will feature a specific campaign. Planned campaigns include Recognition of Genocide, Ending Colonization, and Supporting Universal Jurisdiction Prosecutions. Additional campaigns will be developed later to enable us to adequately respond to the ground situation at that time.


GOAL 2

Countering the Opposition

Within the Tamil context, the term “struggle” is commonly used to describe the decades of resistance to Sri Lankan state hegemony. We use this term in the context of its non-violent historical origin. Our aim is to ensure the equal treatment and the full realization of the human rights of Eelam Tamils (as individuals and as a people) in the homeland. We believe our role is to amplify Tamil voices and disseminate Tamil narratives of the struggle, so the genocide will never be complete.

As such, our work will focus on countering Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism whether it comes from the Sri Lankan government, the Sri Lankan military or private organizations and individuals. Our advocacy, research and activism will also focus on analyzing and deconstructing opposition to the rights of Tamil people. As this work responds to events on the ground, it is more difficult to anticipate in detail.


GOAL 3

Building Organizational Capacity

In order to strengthen and expand our work, we will focus on building our organizational capacity, relying on the active participation and cooperation of individuals both within the diaspora and in the homeland. Our aim is to ensure growth in financial contributions, supporters, paid staff and volunteers. In addition, we aim to strengthen existing internal practices as well as develop new ways of working. PEARL will be strategic and intentional about the work that we do by developing realistic goals and methods to reach them.

Additionally, PEARL will continue to challenge norms within the Tamil community and foster dialogue regarding gender, caste, class, sexual orientation, and other systems of oppression. We will also develop internal policies and procedures to reflect the changes we advocate within the larger community.  

Accountability & Monitoring

PEARL will work to continuously monitor and evaluate our progress implementing this strategic plan. The aim of our evaluations is to assess the impact of our work, our fiscal sustainability, and our organizational growth, with a view towards iterative improvement.

Part of our work plan will be to develop a sustainable monitoring and evaluation framework and theory of change for PEARL, specific to the context and requirements of the organization. This process will include all key stakeholders, including our staff, members, board, donors, and partners.

PEARL will conduct a midterm review during 2021, as well as a final evaluation at the end of 2023 to assess our ability to effectively implement the goals identified by this strategy. These assessments will look at data from all of our annual evaluations, including quarterly summaries, mid-year evaluations, and end of year evaluations. This data will be collated and analyzed based on the strategic goals set out by this document.

Some of our indicators may include (but are not limited to): revenue, annual expenditure, growth in volunteers and staff, digital growth, productivity, and other quantitative and qualitative measures of the impact of our work. We will further assess our internal anti-oppression practices by collecting data on a voluntary basis, of our staff, board members, donors, and volunteers.

These evaluations will be disseminated to the appropriate parties, including our board, donors, and members. We will also reproduce these materials for public access, when appropriate, in an effort to increase transparency.

Our Team

Tasha Manoranjan

Executive Director

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.

Mario Arulthas

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.

Tasha Manoranjan

Executive Director

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.

Tasha Manoranjan

Executive Director

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.

Tasha Manoranjan

Executive Director

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.

Tasha Manoranjan

Executive Director

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.

Tasha Manoranjan

Executive Director

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.

Tasha Manoranjan

Executive Director

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.

Tasha Manoranjan

Executive Director

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.

Tasha Manoranjan

Executive Director

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.