South African lawyer becomes new UN rights expert on violence against women

27 August 2009

A South African lawyer who has also worked as an academic in the human rights field and a campaigner against domestic violence has taken over as the new United Nations independent expert to tackle violence against women.

Rashida Manjoo succeeds Yakin Ertürk as the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, and has been initially appointed by the UN Human Rights Council until June 2012.

“Violence against women violates human dignity, as well as numerous rights, including the right to equality, physical integrity, freedom and non-discrimination,” said Ms. Manjoo, according to a press statement issued today in Geneva, where the Human Rights Council is based.

“I believe that equality and equal protection doctrines demand that we address violence against women, in all its manifestations, as discrimination against women. It is my hope to work within this framework during my mandate.”

Ms. Manjoo has both taught and conducted research at several universities, including Webster University and Harvard Law School, both in the United States, as well as the University of Cape Town.

In her native South Africa, Ms. Manjoo was also a former parliamentary commissioner of the Commission on Gender Equality, conducted training programmes for judges and lawyers on law, race and gender issues, and set up a domestic violence assistance programme at the Durban Magistrates Court, the first such project in a court in her country.

Like other rapporteurs who report to the Human Rights Council, Ms. Manjoo will serve in an unpaid and independent capacity.


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