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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, takes great pleasure in congratulating Dianah Msipa on her appointment by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities onto a team of experts working on the proposed African Union (AU) Convention on Violence against Women and Children.

In February 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa assumed the Chair of the AU and proposed that the AU design and implement a Convention on Violence against Women and Children in the region. The Convention will serve as a political commitment to protect women and children from violence in all the AU member states and is to be developed through negotiation and consensus by member states. To this end, the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities has put together a team of experts on women, children, gender and human rights issues.

Dianah Msipa is an expert in the field of disability rights and her specific research interests are in access to justice, legal capacity, sexual and reproductive rights and the right to employment for persons with disabilities. She teaches the African Disability Rights Protection module, which is one of the core modules on the Centre’s Master’s programme in Disability Rights in Africa (DRIA).

She has authored various academic publications in the areas of access to justice, legal capacity, global reasonable accommodation, employment and disability justice. She is also an assistant editor of the African Disability Rights Yearbook, an academic journal that publishes scholarship on disability rights in the continent.

She has been a member of various advisory panels and projects. She is a member of the Access to Justice Knowledge Hub for Fair Participation, which is comprised of a group of access to justice experts from different parts of the globe. She was part of the team of experts invited by the former UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, to contribute to the newly adopted principles and guidelines on access to justice for persons with disabilities. She is also a member of the advisory panel on the Autism and Criminal Justice Project run by the AJ Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University in the United States of America. She is a member of the advisory committee of the Disability-Inclusive Climate Action Research Programme (DICARP), which is led through a partnership between the Canada Research Chair in Human Rights and the Environment and the McGill University Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. 

Dianah Msipa’s appointment is a welcome and well-deserved opportunity. The Centre wishes her the very best with this endeavour which she will no doubt carry out to the best of her ability.