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Rashida Manjoo, former Special Rapporteur (2009-2015)

Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences

Rashida Manjoo

Rashida Manjoo is a Professor in the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa. She is the co-convenor of the Human Rights Program in the Law Faculty where she teaches, supervises and advises students. She held the position of United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences from August 2009 to July 2015.

Professor Manjoo has over three decades of experience in social justice and human rights work both in South Africa and abroad. Her research interests include human rights broadly with a particular focus on women’s human rights. She has authored a number of journal articles, book chapters and reports on women’s human rights, violence against women and girls, transitional justice, and also the impact for women of the recognition of Muslim Personal Laws in South Africa. Her book publications include ‘Women’s Charters and Declarations – Building Another World’ and ‘Due Diligence in Addressing Violence Against Women in Sub-Saharan Africa’.

Her UN work as Special Rapporteur included monitoring and reporting on States’ compliance in responding to and preventing violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, both generally and in different country contexts. Her thematic reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly have included a particular focus on state responsibility to act with due diligence in the quest to promote and protect all human rights of women. Professor Manjoo focused her tenure on the intersectional nature of discrimination and violence against women and girls, especially the relationship among socio-economic conditions, race, and historical and cultural contexts. In particular, she highlighted the interaction of interpersonal, institutional and structural violence. She advocates a holistic approach to gender-based violence that centers on the interdependence and indivisibility of human rights. 

Professor Manjoo is the former Parliamentary commissioner of the Commission on Gender Equality, an institution created by the Constitution of South Africa, which is mandated to oversee the promotion and protection of gender equality. She has been involved in social context training for judges and lawyers, where she has designed both content and methodology.

She has held numerous visiting professorships including the Des Lee Distinguished Visiting Professor at Webster University, USA, where she taught courses in human rights, with a particular focus on women's human rights and transitional justice. She was the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow with the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School (2006-2007) and also a clinical instructor in the program in 2005 and 2006. She received an honorary LL.D from Northeastern University School of Law in 2011, the inaugural William McKinley Award for Good Governance from Albany Law School in 2013, and the International Human Rights Award from the American Bar Association in 2014.

Prof Manjoo serves on the Steering Committee of the Initiative for Strategic Litigation and is also a member of the International Advisory Council of the Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice.

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