Radhika Coomaraswamy

Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict

Radhika Coomaraswamy's Story

Through her personal and professional endeavors, Radhika Coomaraswamy serves as a moral voice and independent advocate to build awareness and give prominence to the rights and protection of boys and girls affected by armed conflict.

As a lawyer, she is an internationally known human rights advocate who has done outstanding work as Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women (1994-2003). She has intervened on behalf of countless women throughout the world seeking clarification from Governments in cases involving violence against women.

From 2006-2012, Ms. Coomaraswamy took on the distinguished leadership position of Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict. Preceding this role, she was appointed Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission in May 2003. She was also a director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Sri Lanka, leading research projects in the field of ethnicity, women and human rights. She has served as a member of the Global Faculty of the New York University School of Law. She has published widely, including two books on constitutional law and numerous articles on ethnic studies and the status of women.

Ms. Coomaraswamy is the recipient of many awards including The International Law Award of the American Bar association, the Human Rights Award of the International Human Rights Law Group, and the Robert S. Litvack Award from McGill University. She received her B.A. from Yale University, her J.D. from Columbia University, an LLM from Harvard University and honorary PhDs from Amherst College, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Essex and the University of Leuven.