Gehan Gunatilleke

Early Career Fellow - Bonavero Institute of Human Rights - October 2021 - 2024

Other affiliations

Pembroke College


Gehan Gunatilleke is a lawyer specialising in constitutional law, and international human rights law. His research focuses on religious freedom, free speech, and social cohesion. He is an Early Career Fellow at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, and is soon to be a Junior Research Fellow in Religion and Frontier Challenges at Pembroke College (from January 2022).

Gehan has a DPhil in Law and an MSt in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. He is a former Commonwealth Scholar, and a recipient of the Mr and Mrs Kenny Lam Scholarship in Law at St Catherine's College. Gehan has an LL.M from Harvard Law School, where he was a Fulbright Scholar and a Dean's Scholar in International Human Rights. He was also a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School's Programme on Law and Society in the Muslim World in 2020/21.

Gehan is a former advisor to the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry (2015-2018), where he specialised in international treaty compliance, and negotiation. He has served on legislative drafting committees that have drafted key human rights laws in Sri Lanka including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance Act. His advocacy work in Sri Lanka has focused primarily on combating ethno-religious violence and state regulation of mainstream and social media. He is also a founding partner at LexAG, a law firm specialising in Sri Lankan civil and public law.

Gehan has taught post-graduate courses on human rights, democratisation, and development, and is currently a visting lecturer at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Colombo. He has authored several publications, including 'The Chronic and the Entrenched: Ethno-religious Violence in Sri Lanka' (2018), and 'Confronting the Complexity of Loss: Perspectives on Truth, Memory and Justice in Sri Lanka' (2015).

Research Interests

Human Rights Law, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Religion