Senior Advisers

1. Nimalka FERNANDO, Sri Lanka // Co-convener of ADN (2013-2015)

Nimalka Fernando is an attorney-at-law and women’s rights activist from Sri Lanka. She is a member of the Democratic People’s Movement in Sri Lanka, which is a coalition of people’s movements, NGOs and trade unions initiating action and dialogue for alternative development paradigms. She is President of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) and the Women’s Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka. Nimalka is a founding member of Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives or ARENA and was a member of the ARENA Executive Board 1994 – 1997.


2. Sushil PYAKUREL, Nepal

Sushil Pyakurel is a former Commissioner of Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and founder of the Nepalese human rights organization INSEC. Since the peace agreement was signed last year 2006 Nov, Mr. Pyakurel has been engaged in raising national and international attention on the issue of Past Human Rights violation and Impunity as well as transitional justice mechanism. Mr. Pyakuryal played a lead role in the movement for the establishment of National Human Rights Commission 1996-2000 in Nepal. He was appointed as a commissioner at the first National Human Rights Institution, NHRC representing the Civil Society in 2000. Currently, Mr. Pyakurel is Chair of Alliance for Social Dialogue, (ASD). As the most respected and distinguished human rights defender in Nepal, he is lobbying towards addressing the avoidance of impunity and accountability in capacity of the President of the Accountability Watch Committee (AWC) a collective initiative of civil society against Impunity. Mr. Pyakurel is the winner of Gwangju Prize for Human Rights in 2010.


3. Jose Luis “Chito” GASCON, Philippines

Jose Luis “Chito” Gascon serves as the Chaif of the Human Rights Commission of the Philippines (2015-2022). He was the youngest delegate to the 1986 Constitutional Commission and in the 8th Congress was the principal author of a bill enhancing children’s rights and the law to increase youth involvement in local governance. His dynamic career includes leadership positions in policy advocacy institutions including the National Institute for Policy Studies and the Liberal Party’s Commission on Public Policy and Advocacy and membership in the Steering Committees of both the Philippine Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism and the Consortium for Electoral Reforms (CER). He founded BANDILA (Bansang Nagkaisa sa Diwa at Layunin), and LIBERTAS (Lawyers League for Liberty). At present, he is an Associate Professorial Lecturer at the Political Science Department of De La Salle University and is Senior Fellow at the La Salle Institute of Governance (LSIG).

Chito is also an active member of various citizens’ formations including the Kongreso ng Mamayang Pilipino, the Citizen’s Movement for Electoral Reforms, and the Coalition for Peace. Until recently, he was the Undersecretary for Legal, Legislative Affairs and Special Concerns of the Department of Education and a member of the Philippine Government’s peace panel negotiating with the National Democratic Front and chaired its Reciprocal Working Committee on Constitutional & Political Reforms.

4. Michael KAU, Taiwan

Dr. Michael KAU is a Senior Fellow at Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, a non-profit national think tank devoted to the study and promotion of democracy and human rights. Previously, he served as Taiwan’s Representative to the European Union, and was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and founding President of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.

Born and raised in Taiwan, Dr. Kau studied political science at National Taiwan University and earned his PH. D. degree in comparative politics and international relations at Cornell University. He had a long and distinguished academic career in the United States, before returning to Taiwan to serve in government.  He was a Professor of Political Science and Director of the East Asian Security Program at Brown University for over thirty years, during which he also served as faculty advisor to various East Asian programs /centers at Columbia, Cornell, and Harvard Universities.