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Thamil Ananthavinayagan

Teaching Associate, Faculty of Social Sciences



Dr. Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan, LLM. (Maastricht University), PhD (NUI Galway) is a Teaching Associate at University of Nottingham since February 2021. Prior to this position he was a lecturer between 2017-2021 for international law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law at Griffith College Dublin. He continues to be a panel member to the International Protection Office, Department of Justice (Republic of Ireland). Prior to this lectureship at GCD, he worked as a Fellow and research assistant to the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Galway, Ireland. There, his doctoral thesis was supervised from 2013-2015 by the then Director of the Centre, Prof. Michael O'Flaherty (now Director of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU) and then by Dr. Shane Darcy, deputy director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights.

His doctoral research focused on the engagement of Sri Lanka with the United Nations human rights machinery. Before his occupation at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, he studied law at the universities of Bonn and Marburg (Germany). Subsequently, he had worked at different research institutions such as the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, universities, politicians and policy-makers from the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Düsseldorf and Berlin, Germany. Finally, he worked as a junior lawyer for the tenants' association in Bonn, Germany.

Thamil holds a master's degree from the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands. He has presented and will be presenting papers at think tanks, International organisations and universities in, inter alia, Braga, Dublin, Edinburgh, Galway, Geneva, London, New Delhi, Padova, Seattle, Seoul, Singapore. He has written on numerous issues regarding international law, with an emphasis on his scholarship, the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). Being an expert on international human rights engagements of Global South states (especially Sri Lanka) and post-colonalism, he was invited to a range of meetings, conferences, guest lectures and international events like side-events, such as at the United Nations Human Rights Council or invited by international media outlets, such as Al Jazeera.

His first book was recently published with Springer Publishers. For more info, click here.

Teaching Summary

Thamil has a wide teaching interest in the colonial history of international law and the post-colonial reverberations on contemporary international law, such as on international human rights law,… read more

Research Summary

Work in progress:

  • Co-editor for edited book collection: Wretched of the Global South - critical human rights perspectives (Springer Publishers)
  • Peer-reviewed article (accepted): The resistance will not be televised - an international legal assessment of Third World resistance movements: the cases of Palestinians and Tamils (Palestinian Yearbook of International Law)
  • Peer-reviewed article (accepted): Vaccine or tax the rich? - TWAIL-ing human rights, Covid-19 and the global vaccination programme (European Yearbook for Human Rights)
  • Peer-reviewed article (accepted): What grows together, belongs together? Lessons from the German Reunification for Ireland (Irish Studies in International Affairs)
  • Peer-reviewed article: All for one or all to themselves? - TWAIL-ing United Nations in times of global health emergencies. Lessons for the future (Cambridge International Law Journal)
  • Peer-reviewed article: The Third World elite and the corruption of the international project of international law (Austrian Review of International and European Law)
  • Peer-reviewed article: Outcasted: the failure of international law to address the caste systems in South Asia (Groningen Journal for International Law)
  • Chapter: The empire strikes back: the ICJ Ruling on the Chagos Islands and its everlasting consequences (ILA REGIONAL CONFERENCE - BRAGA, SEPTEMBER 2019 E-book, The Contribution of the Case-Law of International Courts and Tribunals to the Development of International Law, edited by Patrícia Galvão Teles and Manuel Almeida Ribeiro)
  • Book review: Kris Manjapra, Colonialism in Global Perspective, Cambridge University Press (Nordic Journal for Human Rights)

Recent Publications

The Irish Times, Attacks evidence Sri Lanka as post-war but not post-conflict country, online at:

The Independent, Sri Lanka's shaky 'peace' is now 10 years old, but conflict rages on as the elites play a dangerous game, online at:

The Journal, Walls to stop immigrants would have made my own existence impossible, online at:

Critical Legal Thinking, The System Was Never Broken (it was built this way), online at: this-way/

Völkerrechtsblog, Robert Koch, research and experiment in the colonial space, online at: the-colonial-space-or/

Just Security, A Tale of German Global Criminal Justice: A TWAIL Perspective on the Syrian Torture Trial, online at: of-german-global-criminal-justice-a-twail-perspective-on-the-syrian-torture-trial/

Justice in Conflict, Long live the Empire? Seeking justice and the case of the Chagos Islands, online at: empire-seeking-justice-and-the-case-of-the-chagos-islands/

Irish Centre for Human Rights Blog, Must Columbus Fall? A post-colonial consideration, online at:

Other submissions:

Background paper: Effective measures and best practices to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, OHCHR Seminar on effective measures and best practices to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, 2 D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 3 , o n l i n e at :

Media (selection):

HeadStuff: online at:

RTE Drivetime Tuesday, 23 April 2019, online at:

Ray D'Arcy Show, 7th of March 2018, online at:

Al Jazeera, Can Sri Lanka ever achieve lasting peace, Inside Story, 17th of May 2019, online at:

Thamil has a wide teaching interest in the colonial history of international law and the post-colonial reverberations on contemporary international law, such as on international human rights law, public international law, transitional justice, international economic law and law of international organisations. Being a member of the Third World Approaches to International Law Movement, he is interested to analyse current international law topics through this lens. While doing so, he tries to incorporate much of his research in his teaching. Thamil has, moreover, taught widely in subjects in relation to international human rights law, international humanitarian law, transitional justice, conflict resolution, business and human rights, refugee law and public international law et al.

At University of Nottingham he teaches European Convention on Human Rights, International Human Rights Law and UK Public Law.

Past Research


Presentation of a paper to Exploratory Seminar, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, Irish Centre for Human Rights, Galway/Ireland, in August 2015

Topic: COI Report on Sri Lanka and the Implication for International Criminal Law

Participation and presentation at the International Conference "The Role of Human Rights Research: Current Challenges and Future Opportunities", University of Padova/Italy, in November 2017

Topic: Dum Vivimus Vivamus. The Tamils in Sri Lanka: a Right to Internal Self-determination

Participation and presentation at the Postgraduate Conference in International Law and Human Rights, University of Liverpool/United Kingdom, in March 2018

Topic: Post-imperial Trojan Horse or cultural agent for change? Revisiting the role of international law in the case of Sri Lanka

Participation and presentation at Second EDEN All Island Interdisciplinary Conference Early Doctoral Exchange Network (EDEN), "2018: Bodies and Borders", NUI Galway/Ireland, in April 2018

Topic: The Odyssey to Éire: immigrants, refugees and Irish xenia

Participation and presentation at "Refugee Protection in Restrictive Times:Challenges and Ways Forward", Queen's University Belfast/UK, in May 2018

Topic: The swarm is coming: the dehumanization and demonization of the refugee - an Agambian perspective

Participation and presentation at "Violence Space and the Political", NUI Galway/ Ireland, in June 2018

Topic: The Empire of Violence - The United Nations' role for post- colonial violence

Participation and presentation at Mass Atrocities and Human Right, University of Seattle/USA, Mass Atrocities and Human Rights: Legal Responses and Continued Challenges, in June 2018


  1. The United Nations Human Rights 2018:Post- colonial Trojan horse or toothless tiger?
  2. Topic: The Pearl of the Indian Ocean or Island of Impunity? Post-war Sri Lanka and the search for international justice

Participation and presentation at "Third World Approaches to International Law" (TWAIL Singapore): NUS Singapore, in July 2018

Topic: The Emperor's New Clothes: The Sri Lankan Post Colonial Leviathan

Participation and presentation at AHRI Conference, "Renewing Rights in Times of Transition: 70 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", University of Edinburgh/UK, in September 2018

Topic: The UN human rights machinery - too big to fail? An examination of the flaws of the machinery and proposals from a Third World scholar's perspective

Participation and presentation at "Making international work for women: new voices' workshop", British Academy and from the Open University Citizenship& Governance Strategic Research Area, London/UK, in November 2018

Topic: Mother Courage and Her Fate - an examination of women's role in times of transitional justice. A case study from post-war Sri Lanka.

Participation and presentation at "Human Rights, Poverty and Social Justice" at the 21st Irish European Law Forum UCD Centre for Human Rights in association with University of Glasgow School of Law, in November 2018

Topic: Writing Resistance into International Human Rights Law. Developing a Counter-Hegemonic Strategy to Overcome Social Injustice and Eradicate Poverty.

Participation and presentation at "Literature and International Law at the Edge", London School of Economics and Political Science/UK in July 2019

Topic: Reimagining the world through the eyes of Bharatiyar: Tamil ethno-cultural resistance to colonial international law through literature

Participation and presentation at: ILA Portugal, "The contribution of case-law international courts and tribunals to the development of international law", University of Braga/Portugal, in September 2019

Topic: The Empire strikes back - The ICJ ruling on Chagos Islands

Participation and presentation at United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva/ Switzerland 33rd session in September 2019

side- events on:

  1. The right to self- determination
  2. Human rights engagement with Sri Lanka

Participation and presentation at Millennium Journal Conference, "Extraction, Expropriation, Erasure? Knowledge Production in International Relations", London School of Economics and Political Science/UK, in October 2019

Topic: The United Nations and the reproduction of Western knowledge

Participation and presentation at DILA Seoul/South Korea, "Asian State Practice in International Law from the Perspective of TWAIL", in November 2019

Topic: Breaking Bad Customs -involving the idea of opinio juris communis in Asian state practice'

International Conference on South Asia in the Era of International Courts and Tribunals at South Asian University, New Delhi/India, in February 2020

Topic: Rewriting international criminal justice: An argument for reimagining Global South history in international criminal trials

Guest lectures, Webinars and other seminars (Selection)

Research seminar at University of Leicester/UK "Research Cluster on international law", in October 2019

Topic: Postcolonial Trojan Horse or genuine agent for change?: An inquiry into postcolonial engagement between Third World States and the United Nations

Research seminar at University of Warwick/UK, "Research Cluster on international law", in January 2020

Topic: Taming the ´east - counter-hegemonic approach of TWAIL to encounter nationalisms under international law'

Guest lectures at Kathmandu School of Law, Kathmandu/Nepal in March 2020


1. Taming the Beast: A TWAIL Approach to Nationalisms and Authoritarianisms

2. Postcolonial Trojan Horse or genuine agent for change?: An inquiry into postcolonial engagement between Third World States and the United Nations


  1. Portsmouth University, Research Futures, 8th of July 2020, Title: The Making of Empire through Racialised Capitalism:
  2. Indian Society for Legal Research: ISLR's First Virtual Summer School on International Legal System in the Age of Pandemic, 17th of August 2020
  3. VIT Chennai

a) International Humanitarian Law and the Global South histories

b) International Commercial Law and the shift to the Global South

4. Kathmandu School of Law : Need for a Trans-civilizational' Dialogue in International Law: A response to 'Civilizational' Approach to International Law of the West, 6th July 2020

5. Tamil Students Initiative UK: Sri Lank and the UN - a human rights misunderstanding, 18th of November 2020

Future Research

Book project:

  • Taming the Beast - Counterhegemonic Approaches to Nationalism and Racism from a TWAIL Perspective

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