Sheila B. Keetharuth (Mauritius)
Sheila B. Keetharuth is a human rights defender from Mauritius who has worked and travelled in mainland Africa for over two and a half decades. She is a committed human rights advocate having extensive experience in research, advocacy, litigation and training in Africa.
Ms Keetharuth was appointed in October 2012 as the first Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. She will submit her second report to the 26th session of the Human Rights Council, in June 2014.
Until 30 June 2012, Ms Keetharuth was the Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), a pan-African NGO based in Banjul, The Gambia. In July 2002, she joined Amnesty International as a Researcher at Africa Regional Office in Kampala, Uganda. She was the Interim Head of Office until December 2005. After reading for an LLM in International Human Rights Law and Civil Liberties at the University of Leicester (UK), Ms Keetharuth was called to the Bar in Mauritius in January 1997.
In 2010, the Madrid Bar Association awarded her a Medal of Honour for her human rights work on the African continent.
A broadcaster for over eight years, Ms Keetharuth worked with the Programme Exchange Centre of the Union of Radio and Television Organisations of Africa (URTNA-PEC), Nairobi, Kenya, and with the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC). As a fellow of the Reuter Foundation (1989-1990) Ms Keetharuth spent a year at the University of Oxford, UK, studying international relations and law.
She is currently enrolled as a part-time doctoral candidate at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her particular interests are: business and human rights, extractive industries and litigation to strengthen the African human rights system.
Since May 2014, Ms Keetharuth is an expert member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.