Ruvendrini Menikdiwela in Key UNHCR Role

News Item: “Secretary-General appoints Ms. Ruvendrini Menikdiwela of Sri Lanka as Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Ruvendrini Menikdiwela of Sri Lanka as Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).  Ms. Menikdiwela will succeed Gillian Triggs of Australia, to whom both the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Refugees are grateful for her dedicated service to the refugee cause.

Ms. Menikdiwela, who currently serves as the Director in UNHCR’s New York Office, brings to the position several decades of professional experience working with and for refugees in UNHCR, including as UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan and in Thailand.  She also held a number of other critical legal posts during her long career with the Organization, which began in 1988.  

An expert in international refugee law, Ms. Menikdiwela holds a Maitrise en Droit Publique Internationale from Université de Paris II (Assas), France.  She speaks English, French, and Sinhalese.

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Ruven Menikdiwela is currently serving as the UNHCR Representative in
Pakistan, to which function she was appointed in September 2017. Prior to
taking up her assignment in Pakistan, she was the UNHCR Representative in
Ms. Menikdiwela’s career with UNHCR spans over 27 years and includes a range of functions both at
UNHCR Headquarters as well as its country operations in Thailand (where she also served previously
in 1993), Turkmenistan, and the United States.
Ms. Menikdiwela obtained her LLB and her LLM in European Community and Public International
Law from the University of Paris II. She is fluent in English and French.
Functions with UNHCR
Sept 2017 UNHCR Representative in Pakistan
2015 – 2017 UNHCR Representative in Thailand
2011 – 2015 Head, Investigation Service, Inspector General’s Office, UNHCR Headquarters,
2007 – 2011 Deputy Director, Division of International protection, UNHCR Headquarters, Geneva
2004 – 2007 Head of Desk for the Middle East and North Africa, Regional Bureau for Central Asia,
South West Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (CASWANAME),
UNHCR Headquarters, Geneva
2001 – 2004 UNHCR Representative in Turkmenistan
1997 – 2001 Senior Legal Adviser, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNHCR Headquarters,
1993 – 1997 Protection Officer, UNHCR Representation in Thailand
1991 – 1993 Associate Legal Officer, UNHCR Representation in the United States
1988 – 1991 Associate Legal Officer, Division of Refugee Law

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