Top UN post for Manjoo

10 August 2009

Former UCT staffer Rashida Manjoo has made history by becoming the first African to be appointed as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women.

Manjoo, who over the past decade worked as a senior researcher and trainer for the Law, Race & Gender Research Unit at UCT, is the third person to hold this position.

As the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Manjoo's mandate is to investigate and make recommendations on ending gender-based violence at international, regional, and national levels.

The position is one of a handful of special mandate appointments (the equivalent of a cabinet minister in government) made by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

An advocate of the High Court of South Africa, Manjoo served on the Commission on Gender Equality from 2001 to 2006, and is a member of the international board of Women Living Under Muslim Laws.

Dr Dee Smythe, director of the Law, Race & Gender Research Unit, said Manjoo has wide experience of working as a gender activist within local and international civil society, and in academia.

Smythe described Manjoo as "outspoken, critical, and independent", and able to cut to the heart of a problem.

"These are characteristics that will serve her well as she navigates the complex politics of her new position."

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