Pavithra Rajendran graduated in 2023 with a Master of Laws degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School. A new JSD student in the International Human Rights Law program was awarded the Midwest Asian Affairs Conference’s Percy Buchanan Graduate Award in the South Asia category.
Rajendran’s paper, Revealing the Veil of Injustice: Human Rights Violations in the Name of ‘Culture’: A Sri Lankan-Centric Analysis, discusses how cultural practices are used as shields to justify human rights abuses against women. We are considering whether it is often done.
Rajendran stayed in Sri Lanka to research and explore gender-biased cultural practices. Her research aims to perpetuate gender stereotypes and shed light on cultural practices that violate human rights, she said.
“Surprisingly, behaviors that do not cause physical harm to women and adolescent girls but cause psychological trauma and anxiety are often covered up and ignored. It inspired me to start a research effort to criticize cultural norms,” Rajendran said.
Rajendran worked under the guidance of Christine Venter, University of Notre Dame Law School Professor and Director of the Legal Writing Program. “Working with Professor Venter was a unique experience, especially as we shared many common academic ideologies,” Rajendran said.
Mr. Rajendran will present his research paper at the 72nd Conference on Midwestern Asian Affairs, September 29-October 1, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“I am deeply grateful to the organizers of the 72nd Conference on Midwest Asian Affairs for providing me with the opportunity to share my research and considering my paper for this prestigious academic award,” Rajendran said. . “Furthermore, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my beloved professors at the University of Notre Dame for their invaluable guidance and support throughout this academic journey. to all feminist scholars who have tirelessly advocated for equality.”
Rajendran is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Public and International Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and a lawyer at the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. She teaches and researches feminist jurisprudence, comparative criminal law, environmental law, human rights, and international humanitarian law. She furthermore, through her volunteer work and invitations, she actively participates as a research consultant in several research institutes.