Renu Mandhane hasn’t been the Chief Commissioner of the OHRC very long, but it’s been long enough to know she’s doing things very differently. Moving fast and publicly, she has moved the dial of public discourse on solitary confinement, racial profiling, and many other critical issues of the right to equality.
Join us on Friday Feb 1 for a conversation with Renu, covering the campaigns she’s spearheaded, and her views about the relationship between law, advocacy, activism and social change.
Excited to hear Navi Pillay on April 7th at Osgoode. She is delivering the 2016 N. Sivalingam Memorial Lecture in Tamil Studies at York University (proudly co-sponsored by, inter alia, the IFLS). More of her work?
Renu Mandhane, the Ontario Human Rights Commissioner, will be doing the introduction to the lecture – please join us!
Accountability and Justice for International Crimes: Challenges and Achievements, with Navi Pillay
April 7, 2016 – 5pm-8pm Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.
Navi Pillay, a South African of Tamil origin, is a world renowned international jurist. She defended anti-Apartheid activists and helped expose the use of torture and poor conditions of political detainees. In 1973, she won the right for political prisoners on Robben Island, including Nelson Mandela, to have access to lawyers. Navi Pillay was the first non-white female judge of the High Court of South Africa, after being appointed to the bench by President Nelson Mandela in 1995. She has also served as a judge of the International Criminal Court and President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Navi Pillay served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014. She is currently serving as the Chief Commissioner of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty.
A reception beginning at 5pm will be followed by the Lecture at 6pm. All are welcome.
This event is generously co-sponsored by the Nathanson Center, Osgoode Hall Law School, the York Centre for Asian Research and Amnesty International with support from the Graduate program in Socio-Legal Studies, and the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode Hall School.
Sex worker activists throughout Africa are demanding an end to the criminalization of sex work and the recognition of their human rights to safe working conditions, health and justice services, and lives free from violence and discrimination. To Live Freely in This Worldis the first book to tell the story of the brave activists at the beating heart of the sex workers’ rights movement in Africa—the newest and most vibrant face of the global sex workers’ rights struggle. African sex worker activists are proving that communities facing human rights abuses are not bereft of agency. They’re challenging politicians, religious fundamentalists, and anti-prostitution advocates; confronting the multiple stigmas that affect the diverse members of their communities; engaging in intersectional movement building with similarly marginalized groups; and participating in the larger global sex workers’ rights struggle in order to determine their social and political fate.
By locating this counter-narrative in Africa, To Live Freely in This World challenges disempowering and one-dimensional depictions of “degraded Third World prostitutes” and helps fill what has been a gaping hole in feminist scholarship regarding sex work in the African context. Based on original fieldwork in seven African countries, including Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda, Chi Adanna Mgbako draws on extensive interviews with over 160 African female and male (cisgender and transgender) sex worker activists, and weaves their voices and experiences into a fascinating, richly-detailed, and powerful examination of the history and continuing activism of this young movement.
About the author:
Chi Adanna Mgbako is clinical professor of law and director of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School. In partnership with grassroots organizations, she and her students work on human rights projects focusing on sex workers’ rights, women’s rights, criminal justice reform, and access to justice. She has conducted human rights fieldwork in many countries, among them Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, and the United States.
Under Mgbako’s direction, the clinic has conducted human rights trainings on women and HIV/AIDS, female genital cutting, and LGBT refugee rights; published human rights reports on access to safe abortion and police abuse of marginalized communities; ran mobile legal aid clinics in rural communities; contributed legal research to lawsuits challenging the forced HIV testing of sex workers; submitted claims to the United Nations on behalf of arbitrarily detained prisoners; and consulted organizations on best practices of community-based paralegal programs, among many other projects.
Mgbako’s publications have appeared in the Harvard Human Rights Journal, Yale Journal of International Affairs, Georgetown Journal of International Law, and Human Rights Quarterly, and popular media, including The International New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. She is the author of To Live Freely in This World: Sex Worker Activism in Africa (New York University Press, 2016).
In recognition of Mgbako’s clinical teaching, writing, and human rights advocacy, she has been honored as one of the New York Law Journal’s Rising Stars, National Law Journal’s Top 40 Lawyers of Color Under 40, Fordham Law School’s Public Interest Faculty Member of the Year, and the Police Reform Organizing Project’s Citizen of the City Award recipient.
Before joining the Fordham law faculty in 2007, Mgbako served as the Harvard Henigson Human Rights Fellow in the West Africa Project of the International Crisis Group, where she focused on justice sector reform in Liberia and political reform in Nigeria, and as the Crowley Fellow in International Human Rights at Fordham Law School, where she co-produced a documentary on the feminization of HIV/AIDS in Malawi.
Mgbako earned her JD from Harvard Law School, where she received the Gary Bellow Public Service Award, and her BA, magna cum laude, from Columbia University.
The author examines and compares gender inequality in societies undergoing political, economic and legal transformation, and looks at two countries – South Africa and Afghanistan – in particular. These two societies serve as counterpoints through which the book engages, in a nuanced and novel way, with the many broader issues that flow from the attempts in newly democratic societies to give effect to the promise of gender equality. Developing the idea of ‘conditional interdependence’, the book suggests a new approach based on the communitarian values which underpin newly democratic societies and would allow women’s rights to gain momentum and reap greater benefits. [from the publisher]
Ruthann Robson reviewed the book for Jotwell, here.
More about Dean Andrews from the Albany website, here:
Dean Andrews, who was born and raised in South Africa, has extensive international experience, including teaching at law schools in Germany, Australia, Holland, Scotland, Canada and South Africa. An annual award in her name—The Penelope E. Andrews Human Rights Award—was inaugurated in 2005 at the South African law school of University of KwaZulu-Natal. Along with numerous other awards, she holds a “Women of South Africa Achievement Award,” as well as Albany Law’s Kate Stoneman Award, which she received in 2002.
In 2005 she was a finalist for a vacancy on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the highest court in South Africa on constitutional matters. She has consulted for the United Nations Development Fund for Women, and for the Ford Foundation in Johannesburg, where she evaluated labor law programs. She earned her B.A. and LL.B from the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, and her LL.M from Columbia University School of Law, New York.
She has published extensively on topics centered on gender and racial equality, South African legal issues, Australian legal issues, and international justice.
Dean Andrews will also be speaking to Professor Dayna Scott’s International Environmental Law class on Monday afternoon on the right to water in South African (constitutional) law.