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Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thero

Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thero

HRD, Student Leader, Activist
Inter-University Bhikkhu Federation (IUBF)

Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thero, is a prominent student leader, human rights defender and an education rights activist. He is the convener of the Inter-University Bhikkhu Federation (IUBF), which has played a critical role in the ongoing peaceful protests, along with the Inter-University Students Federation (IUSF). These protests are primarily linked to the economic crisis, but also raise broader issues of governance, higher education, corruption, state repression and accountability. The human rights defender has faced legal reprisals including under the draconian anti-terror law due to his activism.

The situation for human Rights Defenders has significantly improved since Maithripala Sirisena came to power in January 2015, with improved conditions for freedom of expression, civil society and judicial independence. The Sirisena administration has ushered in a broad reversal of the country’s authoritarian drift under Mahinda Rajapaksa, but human rights defenders fighting against corruption, enforced disappearances or defending environmental rights remain at great risk.