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Ms. E. Tendayi Achiume is the fifth Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. She was appointed by the Human Rights Council in September 2017 and took up her functions as Special Rapporteur on 1 November 2017.

Ms. Achiume is currently a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, and a research associate of the African Center for Migration and Society (ACMS), at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. She is also a core faculty member of the UCLA Law School Promise Institute for Human Rights, the Critical Race Studies Program, and the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.

In 2016, Professor Achiume co-chaired the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law. Her research and teaching interests lie in international human rights law, international refugee law, international migration and property.

Ms. Achiume’s current research focuses on understanding international law’s relationship to the problem of racism and xenophobia, and on studying the global and regional governance of these issues. Her publications include Governing Xenophobia, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law (forthcoming 2018), “Syria, Cost-Sharing and the Responsibility to Protect Refugees,” 100 Minnesota Law Review 687 (2015) and “Beyond Prejudice: Structural Xenophobic Discrimination Against Refugees,” 45(2) Georgetown Journal of International Law 323 (2014).

At UCLA School of Law, Ms. Achiume heads the International Human Rights Clinic, which provides pro bono expert legal services to individuals and institutions seeking to advance social justice through a human rights frame. She has:

  • supervised litigation before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission
  • petitioned the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
  • published an international human rights report on racial and gender discrimination against incarcerated women
  • provided legal and advocacy support to human rights NGOs all over the world (including some operating in the African Human Rights system), and to community-based organizations.

Ms. Achiume earned her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Yale Law School. While at law school, she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Development Studies from Yale. Following her graduation, she served as a law clerk for Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Justice Yvonne Mokgoro on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Thereafter, as Bernstein International Human Rights Fellow, she represented refugees and migrants at Lawyers for Human Rights in Johannesburg, while teaching on the faculty of the International Human Rights Exchange Programme based at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Prior to her current appointment at UCLA, she was a litigation associate at the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Ms. Achiume is also a graduate of the United World College of the Atlantic.